DESIGN DESTINATION | The Athletic Club and Social, Cape Town

17 March 2019 - 00:00 By Julia Freemantle


Mismatched but congruous spaces make up the interior of The Athletic Club and Social, a new dining and bar venue on Cape Town's Buitengracht Street.
Situated over three floors of a Victorian building, the beautifully appointed exterior is a welcome change from the shopfronts that line the strip.
The venue spans a dining level and bar on ground floor, another bar upstairs with cosy nooks for smaller groups, and a deep wraparound balcony.
There is also a cosy, dimly lit bar in the basement.
All the spaces are layered with ornate wallpapers, velvet curtains, rugs, decorative lamps and light fittings, and accented by vintage sports memorabilia.
But while the over-the-top scheme is playful and engaging, the sporting motif has significance. A gathering place circa 1900 for sports stars from all walks of life to meet for a drink, The downstairs bar was turned into an underground venue for mixed groups to socialise during apartheid, and the history of the space lines the walls - old photographs of sports teams and trophies - in keeping with the nostalgic tone set by the décor.

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