In one of his poems, Roman poet Ovid rhymes: “So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows, always, forever and new. What was before, is left behind; what never was is now…”
A perfectly fitting rhyme to mourn the passing of what was once one of Joburg’s trendy restaurant bars – the Stanley Beer Yard at 44 Stanley, Milpark. Now, this popular craft beer spot of many cheerful frothy moments is no more – confined to memory. Two months ago.
As they say, even great rivers do run dry. So, the last-last round, signaling the final drying out of this watering hole, will surely resonate for eternity for some.
In its place has now risen an American-themed restaurant-bar named Calexico, invoking Ovid’s musings that “every passing moment is renewed”. True, change has injected new energy and spirit that now galvanizes the newly revamped venue.
Thanks to Calexico co-owners Larry Hodes and Michael Vacy-Lyle, Joburg nightlife now heaves with new nocturnal vibe and spring in its step. End of June, the pair opened the doors to the public with something of a town cry, announcing: “The new restaurant is an eclectic mix of Americana style food, décor and music – staying true to the nature of Stanley Beer Yard, but with a shinier and edgier feel”.
And, for good measure, the city now boasts a new stripe to its vibrant cosmopolitan leisure streak – a much-needed fusion of American-Mexican food culture. In keeping with the theme, chef and food stylist Robyn Timson-Moss has designed a new menu dominated by classic Californian-style dishes with a touch of Mexican flavours.
For hungry appetites, dollops of artichoke, nachos and hot brisket and racks and racks of ribs beckon on the menu – along with wine or beer against the backdrop of vinyl music.
Hodes and Vacy-Lyle say their new restaurant concept was inspired by both Calexico, a border city in California, as much as the band of the same name. Calexico is a portmanteau of California and Mexico, and celebrates the fusion of music genres, food and dance from either side of the divide. The Americana, Indie, country, folk and Latin rock band plays a blended style of music inspired by southern Californian and Mexican sounds.
Inspired by the truism that “music never gets old”, the eatery rocks to a variety of sentimental ditties from Band of Horses, the Eagles, The Band, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, Bob Marley and The Beastie Boys.
“Calexico has its roots in great music and being first and foremost a vinyl lounge, we have decided to include a vinyl wall full of records from legendary musicians. We have included a classic record player, where patrons are welcome to play their own choice of vinyl during the day,” said Larry Hodes in a press release.
No doubt, Calexico’s lively ambience makes it a truly tempting proposition for a compulsory stop for a night on the town with a group of friends. Especially so, if you are looking for a sentimental, sing-along bonding session – all propelled by a nightcap of countless, no-regrets shooters.
• Venue: Calexico (formerly Stanley Beer Yard)
• Address: 44 Stanley Ave, Milpark
• Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10.30am – 10.30pm; Friday 9.30am – 12midnight; Saturday 9.30am – 10.30pm; Sunday 10am – 6.30pm
• Phone: 011 482 4444
• Booking: call 011 482 5791
• Vinyl DJ and live music every Saturday from 2.30 pm – 6.30 pm; Thursday and Friday evenings.