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September 04, 2013

A New Cocktail Lounge in South Africa

By Ingrid Skjong | Bars

A New Cocktail Lounge in South Africa
Courtesy of Le Quartier Français

When Susan Huxter, owner of the boutique hotel Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, South Africa, was unable to find a refined yet laid-back place in town where she could meet friends for an early evening drink or an afternoon tea, she created one herself. The new Le Quartier Lounge Bar, which opened in August, is meant to be more than just another hotel watering hole.

“We would like the lounge to be the meeting place in Franschhoek, where locals and our international guests can relax and enjoy good food, teas, cocktails and great company,” says Huxter. “It should be the place to relax and mingle in the area.”

The bar focuses on cocktails—the Edible Fruit Coupe (dried fruits soaked in Cape Brandy and Harnepoot dessert wine topped with sparkling wine) is pictured here. But there are also artisanal beers, wines and teas (by Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour) that pair with delicious snacks by executive chef Margot Janse that highlight indigenous ingredients and locally sourced products. Try bites like Gruyère Oreos, wildebeest doughnuts, crayfish popcorn and flatbread with smoked salmon, avocado and spring onion.

Soothing decor and plenty of space make for a peaceful ambiance, and even the tall-legged, washed-oak bar has a buoyant personality that is more inviting than imposing in every way. “I did not want a dark masculine bar but rather a light, more feminine feel,” says Huxter. “We hope people will love it as much as we do.” Rooms start at $310; 16 Huguenot Rd.; 27-21/876-2151; lqf.co.za.