The West Rand is not known for its social venues - let's just get that straight. Fortunately all that changed in October last year when the local dancing academy, Dance Palace, decided to add a beer garden to its lot.
Situated on Ontdekkers Road, just past the fire station - that place with the big ass fountain - the Dance Palace has become the go-to drinking hole of many a business man in Roodepoort.
What started as a business venture just before Christmas in 1997 evolved into a well-established social club not only catering to dancers but lawyers wearing Hugo Boss outfits, top shelf detectives and local journalists ailed by creeping deadlines. Piet, a Roodepoort legend in the restaurant business with over 25 years' experience, was recruited by Louis, the founder and still owner, of Dance Palace to expand the business.
Sitting at the bar, baroque music fills the air and, in between sips of craft beer, a little Russian lady instructs her students with the most beautifully incorrect English dialect.
The barman's name is Papa G. His skull is shaped in the same fashion as those crystal skulls in that Indiana Jones movie we don't talk about. He smiles and pours me a Fiery Ginger Beer brewed by Brew Hogs - the ginger beer being an addition added to introduce craft beer to female patrons of this establishment. Piet tells me of his many ventures in the food and drink industry and explains the detail that goes into putting a menu together. He starts off by saying, "Why should we serve tramazini if every other place does that?" The aim of their list of food choices is to make it as local and as interesting as possible. Everybody loves a "braai broodjie" (Braai toastie sandwich, I guess). But why travel all the way to Roodepoort to have one when you can construct your own at home, right? Wrong. Somewhat like the pasa doble which is danced in Argentina, the menu puts a twist on the food we love, which makes us South African. Slices of Sasko bread are replaced with in-house-made ciabatta stuffed with everything from rump steak and gammon to whatever you would put on the braai at home, topped with mustard mayo and prepared just for you by a five-star chef.
The Dance Palace in Horizon, Roodepoort is a bistro that needs to be visited when seeing those far off relatives we all have lurking in the West Rand.
Where? 336 Ontdekkers Road, Roodepoort
Tel: 011 672 2288
by Shawn Greyling