A Collective Culture for Us All
Time for something culturally different. Located on Buitenkant street, just opposite the magistrate’s court, Haas is a destination coffee shop for anyone living on the southern suburb side of the bottle neck that is Hospital bend.
The eerie industrial interior and décor remind me of a visit to a morphological museum, with interestingly curated pieces inside glass cloches. The city’s characters are energized by the bustle of people on the march to their posts. Other lethargically mince to their turf, as they take a position on an empty milk crate, to watch the cars. The inner city struggles and inequalities are still open gashes that still require healing. The homelessness of people in town is the starkest contrast to anything I’ve experienced. A few million Rand Ferrari parallel parks at the fate of a person who, in his entire life, might not have that sort of money pass through his rough, life-hardened hands.
I move inside to a table where I get going. Tap, tap, tapping. My fingers start to dance on the keyboard, to the rhythm of the slow, but energizing tympanic drums that twang to the beat of my up-and-down day. The carbon-filament pendant lights hang down, like golden ingots ready to cool and set. They hang in suspended animation, in anticipation of something to happen. They just hang and wait with their golden angelic glow, adding an antique warmth to the high ceiling interior.
My somewhat distracted mind is more interested by thoughts of other’s conversations and personalities as I sit by myself taking it all in. What was the purpose of my engagement with coffee? These self-reflective questions start to answer themselves as I venture deeper into my love for coffee and the culture surrounding it.
Coffee & Food:
The coffee of choice was a Cortado, which can be likened to a flat white or cappuccino that is cut off half way. Essentially a greater concentration of espresso to steamed milk and micro-foam. A delicious and punchy format of a crowd favourite. The espresso was a nutty and rich extraction that had enough bitterness to balance the sour mid palate flavours. I don’t however feel that it went well as a Cortado in this instance. I think a flat white would have been a better bet!
The service on both my visits to Haas was disappointingly slow, with me having to go to the counter to order coffees. I always give the benefit of the doubt to the coffee shop, as we are all fallible humans. Having worked as a waiter on one of my student holidays, I knew that this was always a possibility and not the rule. Service can always be better but kindness and the right attitude can’t be fixed, fortunately the Haas wait staff are friendly and have plenty of the aforementioned kindness and hospitality.
The people sitting amongst me were all polished and groomed pretty city folk, lulled into a sense of relaxation with the scruffy vintage lounge suite, set front and centre. The kind you would find in your grandmother’s house with ball and claw legs and feet. If I saw crocheted arm-rest covers or antimacassars on the seat back, it wouldn’t seem out of place. This contrast was like a zebra flank, the pretty city people on the oh so unfashionable, yet totally chic at the same time, kind of chairs. Swallowing each person’s exterior projection of themselves and embracing their shoulders with the firm bolsters. A deep sigh.
My voyeuristic nature always becomes evident when I sit in a place like Haas, or any interesting coffee shop for that matter. People popping in for a chat and dash meeting with friends, to the models meeting with casting agents and photographers. I am once again reminded why I love the cape town city bowl. The natural beauty and hospitality from the old buildings break up the modernist massive 1970’s taupe concrete and glass clad creations that are synonymous with city centers.
Haas coffee collective is a must visit for anyone who loves sitting in a beautifully decorated space with a warm vibey buzz, and rich ambient music. Rest your legs, tease your mind, titillate your taste buds with some delicious coffee based drinks. An oasis in the inner-city bustle, a break from the inner-city blues, have it take your mind away from those inner-city stresses for just a moment or two.
Writer: Christopher Green
If this doesn’t strike your fancy, Swan Cafe is a great spot to take a date. Or
Why don’t you have a look at all the coffee shops in the Cape Town Central area.