Bascule Whisky, Wine & Cocktail Bar

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West Quay Road, Cape Grace, Cape Town Central 8001, South Africa


Wine Bar

Good for:

Bar Scene, Late Night


4.0 rating based on 3 ratings
3 Reviews

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Overall Rating

Very Good

Rating Summary

3.0 rating based on 3 ratings
3.0 rating based on 3 ratings
4.3 rating based on 3 ratings
4.7 rating based on 3 ratings
  1. Expert Review

    3.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Dec 2014 · Aniela Swider

    Bascule is at the Cape Grace Hotel and you can sit right on the water. The view and the atmosphere...

    Bascule is at the Cape Grace Hotel and you can sit right on the water. The view and the atmosphere is quite pleasant. If you stare in the water long enough, you might even see a seal. Bascule is extremely popular and boasts a phenomenal reputation for its whiskey collection, which is said to be the largest in the country. I am not surprised, the drink menu is like a book and as a whiskey idiot, it is a bit daunting. Becca and I sat outside on a warm afternoon and decided to get some small plates to share, which is the majority of the menu with the exception of a burger. Patrons are served caramelized almonds and some cheese-laden cracker strips (my best description) upon ordering your drink. Hear me now, stick with that. Eat later.

    We ordered calamari to share, Becca ordered a rocket and cheese salad that was supposed to have a lemon and olive oil dressing, a prawn Asian slaw and I ordered ostrich carpaccio (of course). First and foremost, everything was laden with sauce or dressing. Someone once told me that the overuse of sauces is designed to mask poor culinary skills and I don’t doubt it. Becca’s salad was full of cream, so it didn’t fit the menu description. The server from Zimbabwe bringing us the food was very clever and witty however which is always fun. As we looked around, we were the only people on the busy patio actually eating. Okay, lesson learned.

    The atmosphere is stunning at Bascule, the whiskey is a-plenty, you might catch a glimpse of a seal, but it is hard for me to consider this restaurant a ‘restaurant’, despite the fact that it has a menu and you can technically eat there.

  2. Expert Review

    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Feb 2014 · BBlond

    At the ultra-posh Cape Grace Hotel, Bascule is first and foremost a whiskey bar, with more than 400 blends and...

    At the ultra-posh Cape Grace Hotel, Bascule is first and foremost a whiskey bar, with more than 400 blends and malts from around the world in its temperature-controlled vaults (which you walk through to reach the bathrooms, it’s an experience in itself). But should you also be hungry there is light tapas on offer. The choices are limited but include a modern take on fish and chips (battered hake, fries and a salmon tartar sauce), salt and pepper calamari with wild arugula and sweet chili, oysters, a springbok carpaccio and a grilled prawn salad among a few other options. I have to admit this is a place you come to drink and should you be drunk enough and hungry you’ll find the food decent. If you are sober and starving, you’ll find portions are not only truly tapas sized, but also sub-standard — especially considering the price. While I found the salt and pepper calamari quite satisfying, the springbok carpaccio tasted stale and the prawn salad was flavorless. However, I also had a salad that I found quite fresh and tasty.

    That said, when it comes to atmosphere, whiskey and inventive cocktails, Bascule is a winner. My friend and I came after a day of shopping at the V&A Waterfront. The sun was just starting to sink, but still felt warm – it was that golden hour in Cape Town – and the location of the comfy outdoor seating area (think cushioned chairs and low slung tables) is sheltered by a building from those wicked winds that can plague al fresco waterfront dining in summer. The seats look out on a private marina and the entire experience feels very chic. Should it be cold, however, there are seats at comfy couches and tables fronting the long bar as well as stools along it.

    The cocktails here are definitely stellar, and the thing to order. Beyond the hundreds of scotch and whiskey blends from South Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, the U.S. and Japan – there is more whiskey at Bascule than any other bar in South Africa – the menu also features around a dozen hand-crafted and inventive whiskey cocktail choices. I had the Cape Malay Curry, which was the strangest drink I’ve ever tried, but not altogether bad, just very different – it’s the kind of beverage you just have one of. Anyway it was comprised of Johnnie Walter Platinum apricot liqueur, roasted cumin, lemon, bitters and simple syrup. The cumin really made it taste like curry.

  3. Expert Review

    5.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Jul 2013 · Richard Holmes

    The Bascule isn’t the sort of bar where you pop in for a quick drink. It’s a place where you’ll...

    The Bascule isn’t the sort of bar where you pop in for a quick drink. It’s a place where you’ll want to swap those travelling shoes for something smarter, run through the shower, perhaps throw on a jacket. Oh yes, and bring your credit card.

    As the finest whisky bar in the country, the Bascule Bar is a pretty stylish spot. A cosy space that’ll impress even the most jaded traveller, it has the feel of being entertained in a close friend’s private yacht. Which, I suppose, is perhaps fitting given that it’s set on the edge of the most exclusive private marina in Cape Town.

    But even if you’re not a seafaring tech-billionaire or oil mogul you’re welcomed warmly at the Bascule. Whisky-lovers come from far and wide to sample the astounding selection of malts on offer here.

    At last count there were in the region of 500 whiskies on the list, from simple blends for the uninitiated through to rare single malts from long-shuttered distilleries. As you’d expect, the prices range from the easily affordable to the eye watering. For whisky aficionados it’s heaven on earth, with well-trained bar men to guide you through the sizeable menu.

    There’s a refreshing lack of snobbery about it all too though, and tutored whisky tasting can be easily laid on for palates unfamiliar with those Islay malts or Canadian bourbons. If you get peckish, there’s a sizeable tapas menu alongside a few heavier options.

    Although open during the day for coffees and light lunches, rather use that time for exploring Cape Town. Come here as the sun dips behind the mountain and the lights reflect in the marina. Settle in at the bar and take your time poring over the menu. My favourite is on page 18: the Springbank 12-year-old. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

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