brent perremore
Brent Perremore - The Rabbit

  • The Art of Duplicity is a hidden bar in an unnoticeable alleyway in Cape Town - and you cannot go in without a password. 
  • The bar has received the prestigious 2020 Cocktail Bar of the Year Award. 
  • With very little marketing, the bar was initially known by word of mouth and by returning customers. 
  • Co-founder Brent Perremore has been in the bar industry for 25 years and has also won multiple awards. 
  • For more stories, go to www.Business Insider.co.za. 

Carefully hidden in an unnoticeable alleyway, The Art of Duplicity is one of the most celebrated bars in the country - to gain access through its doors, you'll need a password.

The speakeasy, based on the prohibition era, was initially disclosed only through word of mouth. You can now, however, book your spot and you'll be furnished with an address and password to gain entry. Its hidden nature, live jazz performances and unique cocktails makes it a one of a kind experience. 

The Art of Duplicity Bar
The Art of Duplicity Bar

The Art of Duplicity was established in 2018 by David Donde, who is also the founder of Truth Coffee Roasting in Cape Town.  

Donde collaborated with award-wining bartender Brent Perremore and the pair got the 1920’s prohibition culture-inspired establishment off the ground, initially opening its password-protected doors to only a select few members of the public.

Live jazz music
Live Jazz music

“We decided we were going to open a bar and then happened to come across Perremore and his talent, and then we started brainstorming and... a speakeasy was sort of the only way to really showcase his talent,” said Donde.

Perremore, who has over 25 years of experience in the bar industry, is no ordinary member of the team.

Known as The Rabbit, he has worked at various bars across Cape Town and London and has received various awards in the industry including the Trailblazer of the Year Award.

Perremore is responsible for the bar's unique cocktails such as the Niwatori Tea, rated by The Cocktail Pilgrim - a member of many cocktail awards judging panels - as the best he has ever had.

Art of Duplicity drinks
The Art of Duplicity drinks

The speakeasy has gained international recognition and holds several prestigious awards, including the 2020 Cocktail Bar of the Year Award.

Just recently, the bar was awarded Overall Bar to Watch in 2020 in the November 2019 issue of The Spirits Business, chosen among several remarkable establishments across Africa and the Middle East.  

Other popular cocktails include Mae’s Pearl Necklace – named after American actress and singer Mae West – and the signature Coffee House Milk Punch.    

When asked which is their top seller, Perremore said it’s tough to say since each has its own unique experience, but the one that has sold out the most is their most expensive cocktail.   

Although they did not name the drink – which costs R360 –  they said the cocktail has “Japanese whiskey and it’s not vegan,” said Perremore with Donde adding that “we’re not telling you more than that”.

Given that the bar is a speakeasy, marketing the business is a challenge. Initially the pair relied on word of mouth. Brent’s expertise, however, has made it easy for the bar to be known and visited by the "right people". 

Art of Duplicity - The hidden bar
Art of Duplicity - The Hidden bar

“Brent is so well known in the international community that people were watching what he was doing. The quality of his [work] has spoken for itself. That’s made people to notice us, particularly industry people,” said Donde.

The bar is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 18:00. For reservations, customers can visit: 170120.co.za.

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

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