Cape Town’s take on Night at the Museum has become a much-loved pop-up on the Mother City’s events calendar, with hundreds flocking to the CBD to experience history and culture for free. The next Museum Night is on 20 April 2017, starting at 5pm, with all participating museums free and open to the public until 10pm. A site steeped in its own history, Taj Cape Town will be serving up delicious cocktails at discounted prices, including the acclaimed The Wales BonesThe Spice Route, and the A Mari Ocean Gin Cocktail.


Expand your historical horizons and venture forth to an icon perched proudly in the city’s centre. This is one institution where you can bank on being entertained in opulent and exotic surrounds. 

Taj Cape Town might not be an actual museum but its history makes it an honorary museum night member.


A short history of Taj Cape Town:

  • The site Taj Cape Town now occupies was once a hospital, built for the Dutch East India Company’s settlement.
  • Demolished in 1786, the land the hospital occupied was subdivided and houses were built, which were later bought by the Board of Executors and the Reserve Bank.
  • The first of the buildings was the Old Reserve Bank Building – designed by James Morris, and completed in 1932. With architecture inspired by Florence’s Palazzo Pitti, its Paarl Granite facade represented the Reserve Bank’s financial stability. 
  • Morris additionally commissioned Ivan Mitford Barberton to sculpt four lions – the badge of the SA Reserve Bank – for each of the front facade’s bronze grilles.
  • The second building was the BOE Building (also known as the Temple Chambers), built in 1896, and altered in the 1920s. The Twankey Bar now occupies what were originally the Old Temple Chambers.
  • The statue of the shepherdess situated above the door to The Twankey Bar was often wrongly assumed to be Britannia – a relic from the Cape’s time as a British colony – when in fact, it represented the Board of Executer’s benevolence.  It was widely criticised for its clumsy execution, which earned it the mocking nickname of ‘Widow Twankey.’
  • In a homage to South Africa’s history, the Taj seamlessly blended these famed heritage buildings, fusing old-world enchantment with all the colourful beauty and energy of the East.  Careful to retain the original exteriors, the buildings look the same today as they did 100 years-ago.   


Head to The Twankey Bar to toast Taj Cape Town’s illustrious history with special cocktails devised by none other than renowned mixologist AJ Snetler. Celebrate a modern-day museum where you won’t be dived on by dinosaurs or attacked by Attila after dark, but you will get to experience all the grandeur of eons gone by.


Drink to history with these cocktails:

  • THE WALES BONES is named after Wale Street, which supposedly received its namesake from the slaying of whales and the blood running down the street, before the land was reclaimed from the sea. Chockful of character and sweet honey citrus notes, it’s a full-bodied blend of Don Julio Reposado, Aperol and medium cream Sherry, stirred together and served on the rocks.
  • THE SPICE ROUTEis where all journeys to the Cape began! An exotic blend of Indian flavours with spicy American Bourbon, this special concoction includes Bulliet Frontier Bourbon shaken with pineapple, cardamom and rose, and a dusting of Tonka Bean.
  • A MARI OCEAN GIN COCKTAIL: A Mari means ‘from the ocean’ in Latin. Distilled with Atlantic Ocean water and Cape coastal botanicals, this small batch premium craft gin is proudly Capetonian:

–          Single A Mari Gin and Tonic – R60 00

–          Double A Mari Gin and Tonic – R100.00

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