Top International Trade Publication Rates CPT’s Secret Bar, The Art Of Duplicity, “Bar to Watch in 2020”

Words: Crush

It’s official: One of Cape Town’s most inconspicuous, secret bars, The Art of Duplicity, is “the one to watch”.

The Art of Duplicity was awarded the prestigious label of Overall Bar to Watch in 2020 from a distinguished list of up and coming establishments across Africa and the Middle East, in the November issue of The Spirits Business, arguably the world’s most reputable international liquor trade website and publication.

The art of Duplicity secret bar

“Cape Town has witnessed a rash of bar openings in recent years, although few destinations can hold a candle to The Art of Duplicity”, writes journalist James Lawrence, who goes on to describe the secret bar – which is housed in a renovated 1894 Victorian warehouse at an undisclosed location in the inner-city – as “exuding Prohibition glamour”.

The Pair Behind the Vision of the Secret Bar

Entrepreneur David Donde teamed up with award-winning bartender and consultant Brent Perremore – who cut his bartending teeth at clandestine casinos and other underground establishments in Cape Town in the 1990’s, and later on in the London bar scene. The two created the homage to 1920’s Prohibition culture and completed it with password-protected entry via a suitably dark alleyway – which opened its authentic speakeasy-style door in October 2018.

The Secret Bar Attracts Fame

In addition to topping the list of the six illustrious drinks destinations featured in The Spirits Business (including bars in Johannesburg, Istanbul, Dubai and Tel Aviv), the distinctive alleyway and staff of the hidden Cape Town hotspot even made the cover of the magazine.

“The coverage is a big deal for us because it’s really unusual for the magazine to feature a bar on its cover” says Donde.

secret bar The art of Duplicity The Spirits Business
The art of Duplicity secret bar Cocktail

“Our goal was always to be listed amongst the top fifty bars in the world, and this latest recognition by a serious international publication is another step in that journey. In terms of our speakeasy ‘code’ we don’t give away our location. Some of the allure relies upon the romance and mystery around finding us for the first time. This does make traditional marketing a challenge”, says Perremore.

The Art of Duplicity Style

The interior of the secret bar is all low lighting, with rare antique objects and other lovingly curated paraphernalia adorning a customized, vintage, apothecary-style floor-to-ceiling bar with plush seating juxtaposing storage sacks lining the walls. The smart dress code – Think Al Capone meets Mae West – is well suited (this of course strictly prohibits shorts, flip-flops, sportswear and hoodies).

Extravagant Concoctions

Unique printed brass menus feature Perremore’s extravagant concoctions, with the likes of the appropriately provocative “Mae’s Pearl Necklace” (1800 Tequila Reposado, salted pineapple, yellow Chartreuse, coconut cream and bubbly), the funny and theatrical “Bear and Rabbit in the Woods” (4th Rabbit agave spirit, honey liqueur, wooded chardonnay, cacao bitters, pine needle and honey soda), and signature “Coffee House Milk Punch” (Copeland Agricole rum, Coconut rum, single-origin coffee beans, pineapple husk, cinnamon, lime, white sugar, milk and Tonka bean).

Service at this secret bar is refreshingly friendly and attentive, and if the evocative setting, company and cocktails don’t do it for you (unlikely!), fortnightly ‘classic movie nights’, and live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays surely will.

Experience the Mystery

The Art of Duplicity is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 18h00 until late.

For reservations, visit

Tables are reserved in three-hour time slots (the standing room is available should guests wish to stay longer), and group seating is limited to ten guests per party.

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