09 Nov The Royale
When you arrive at The Royale, a Cuban bar and restaurant located on Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg, the first thing you walk through is an archway in vibrant pastel yellow, pink and blue. This colour combination, reminiscent of the famously bright coloured buildings in Havana Cuba, is just one of the tiny bits of Havana the owners of The Royale brought back from their trip in August this year.
Referencing The Royal Palm Hotel, from the pre-Castro era as its Pinterest board, The Royale’s art deco interior and bar is inspired by a time when Cuba was a tropical playground for Americans. A time when rich tourists came to Cuba to drink cocktails, dance and smoke cigars in luxurious and plush spaces like El Floridita and The Royal Palm Hotel. Even the decision to stock Barcadi instead of Havana Club in their space is a reference to pre-revolution Cuba. (The story here is that Facundo Bacardi, who launched Barcadi in 1862 is credited by rum historians as the pioneer of Cuban-style rum and after the revolution the family was exiled from Cuba – source: Washington Post).
What I love about this Instagram worthy spot, besides the bar with its dusty pink velvet finish, the Spanish-colonial inspired wrought iron finishings and all the hanging indoor plants, is the service. Maybe I have been there one too many times, but after hosting my almost birthday drinks and nibbles there I can’t help but have to mention the attentive nature of all the staff of The Royale.
When it comes to the food and drinks, my recommendation is that you try out the Ox-Tail Pie and enjoy it with The Dramble cocktail… or two … or three. Other delicious things to try out are the lamb chops, the Cuban sandwich, the sticky pork riblets and the Pork belly for an interesting flavour experience.
In a nutshell, The Royale is the perfect summer time hangout. Not only for its incredibly Instagrammable interior, but for it’s for food, it’s great service and The Dramble cocktail. I literally had the majority of my birthday table drinking The Dramble by the end of the night.
The Royale is located at 357 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 till 23:00 and on Sunday from 11:00 and 19:00.
About my outfit
Nothing signals summer time like a white dress, a straw hat and slides. As a fan of winter, this year I have (even though my body is nowhere near summer ready) been longing for warmer weather. Perhaps it is because I had to spend a whole winter here in South Africa. The silk printed scarf tied around my neck is the perfect accent for what otherwise could have just been an unassuming summer dress look.
Photography by worthathovsandwords