REVIEW: Lords Bar revamp a cultural retreat in the heart of the concrete jungle
JOHANNESBURG - Dispelling the common notion that bars are disorderly, I can unequivocally affirm that Lords Bar is an oasis of sophistication.
Nestled in the heart of Sandton, Lords Bar is far from the rowdy image often associated with establishments that exist purely to have a drink.
Situated opposite the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the vintage country-style Protea Hotel by Marriott Balalaika Sandton effortlessly blends heritage and modern comfort.
With its beautiful history and sophisticated charm, it offers an atmosphere of sophisticated luxury, complemented by the vintage decor intertwined with modern elements.
A charming blend of historical cosy with modern renovations. Picture: Dominic Majola/Eyewitness News
History is preserved in a modern setting at Lords Bar. Picture: Dominic Majola/Eyewitness News
The bar radiates an inviting ambiance that tells a story through its newspaper-covered walls, preserving its rich history despite recent renovations.
Operations manager Clement Mahumela, of the Protea Hotels by Marriott Balalaika, explained that the hotel itself is 74 years old, and was originally built, along with Lords Bar, in 1949.
Lords Bar, part of the original hotel building, has a fascinating history.
Mahumela said the land where Lords Bar stands was once a waterer for horses, and that the Balalaika Hotel was a popular stopover between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The large blue door leading into Lords Bar is even the exact same as on 10 Downing Street in England.
“The reasons for the bar renovation were not to change its style, but to modernise it, and bring together the culture and the concrete jungle of Joburg,” Mahumela said.
Old newspaper articles scattered along the walls of Lords Bar in Sandton. Picture: Dominic Majola/Eyewitness News
Modernising dated architecture is no easy feat, but Mahumela said the R2 million worth of renovations at Lords Bar aimed to straddle its rich history while offering customers a revitalised food and beverage menu.
Chef Kabelo, known for his renowned cheesecake, crafted a menu that leaves customers salivating. From deep-fried cheese-stuffed pap balls to pulled lamb tacos, the starters “transport your taste buds to culinary paradise."
The versatile menu caters to everyone's taste, including tapas, gourmet sandwiches, and the ever-popular jaffels.
Chef Kabelo is also looking to expand his menu to include a tantalising array of vegan dishes that will captivate both seasoned plant-based enthusiasts, and those new to the world of meat and dairy-free cuisine.
Mixologist Trent Hall, hailing all the way from Durban, adds a touch of intimacy to the bar experience with sultry, out-of-the-box cocktails like "Life Gets Better," “Red Dragon”, and “Angel Kisses”.
“I don’t make a single cocktail here that is an original classic recipe - everything of mine is customised for the guest and how they will enjoy it.”
Lords Bar is a place where history meets modernity, and where guests can immerse themselves in a timeless allure while savouring culinary delights in a newly revamped space.
Whether you're a first-time bar-goer or a seasoned patron, Lords Bar promises an unforgettable experience that transcends stereotypes.