It's got the views and the vibes: Back Yard is Durban's hot new cocktail spot

This tropical bar at Umhlanga Arch is going to be the place to be for sundowners this holiday season — mask and sanitiser in tow

19 November 2020 - 08:30 By Candice Botha
A glass balustrade allows for uninterrupted views of the coastline at Back Yard, a roof top bar in Umhlanga Arch.
A glass balustrade allows for uninterrupted views of the coastline at Back Yard, a roof top bar in Umhlanga Arch.
Image: Supplied via Wanted Online

It’s long been a Durban complaint that we don’t have enough places to have a drink and enjoy views of our gorgeous coastline, so the excitement about Back Yard, the rooftop bar at the newly opened Umhlanga Arch development, is palpable.

Situated upstairs from the innovative Legacy Yard food and retail area of the Arch, Back Yard ticks all the boxes for a sophisticated summer cocktail spot.

With a distinctive Tiki bar feel, the space nods to its tropical location. Instead of fighting the heat, the designers have embraced it by playing up the heady sense of island escapism distinctive to Durban in the decor.

Large-scale murals by local graffiti artist That Damn Vandal beckon you upstairs, where the city spreads out 140m below. Here, you can pick from an array of seating options such as swing seats, daybeds, or bright-legged tables flanked by bougainvillea-filled planters.

Leafy-patterned tiles and banana-leaf-print umbrellas echo the waiters’ aprons and, as night falls, the bare-bulbed lights hanging from the pergolas flicker to life when the fire pit is lit.

Back Yard's decor is Instagram-worthy.
Back Yard's decor is Instagram-worthy.
Image: Supplied via Wanted Online

Despite the potential for kitsch, the design is stylish and will make a great background for selfies which, let's face it, is an essential feature of any hotspot these days.

This is a cocktail bar and there are plenty of cocktails to choose from, including classics such as Piña Coladas and Mai Thais. What makes them different is that they're served in Instagram-worthy carved ceramic Tiki glasses or unique pouches that you can hang from two fingers between sips. The bamboo straws are a fun, eco-friendly touch.

The cocktails are delicious, but if beers or spirits are more your vibe, the bar’s well stocked with them too. Buckets of ice are generously distributed to keep drinks cold on hot days and there's live music on the weekends.

The seating area is completely open — perfect for responsible social distancing — but on inclement nights, you’ll be able to order your drink from the covered bar and then nip downstairs to enjoy it in the restaurant area.

Neon lights and bamboo give the bar a tropical vacation vibe.
Neon lights and bamboo give the bar a tropical vacation vibe.
Image: Supplied via Wanted Online

It’s on sunny afternoons and balmy nights — which Durban definitely has more of — that this place is going to pump,. We'd recommend booking a seating area on Back Yard's website so you're not disappointed when you arrive.

Mark our words, this is absolutely going to be the place to be for sundowners this holiday season — mask and sanitiser in tow.

• This article is adapted from one originally published on Wanted Online. Visit Wantedonline.co.za for all the latest in luxury lifestyle news.