The Star of the West, one of Kimberley's oldest and most popular bars, will again be opening its doors to patrons tonight.
THE STAR of the West, one of Kimberley’s oldest and most popular bars, will again be opening its doors to patrons tonight.
After nearly 150 years of trading, “The Star”, as it is popularly known, closed its doors in September 2017 amid rumours of bankruptcy.
However, in August this year, local businessman, Adre Els, started restoring the “grande dame” to her former glory. He was busy yesterday with the finishing touches to the establishment which will again open its doors to patrons during a “grand opening” tonight
Situated in North Circular Road, the Star of the West is believed to be the oldest operating pub in Kimberley and dates back to the early 1870s, when it started operating in nothing more than a zinc shack, as “Diamond Lil’s Tavern”. In those days it catered for the workers on the Kimberley Mine as a hotel, brothel and bar.
The bar counter and rich wooden fittings which can still be seen inside the bar area today, were salvaged and brought to the city by sailors who survived the wreck of their ship, Star of the West, on the West Coast and was used to build the Star of the West.
Big names like Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes are rumoured to have frequented the bar, known simply as “The Star” to patrons.
However, the newly renovated Star of the West is a far cry from the smokey establishment frequented by dusty miners and “ladies of ill repute” it originally started off as.
Not only exclusively a bar, The Star of the West now features a 300 seater family-friendly restaurant situated under a newly constructed lapa at an extended outside area covered in beach sand.
Els yesterday said that the idea was to have the establishment operate as family/child-friendly until 10 pm, where after no persons under the age of 18 years will be allowed.
“The Star of the West will now be operating as 60 % restaurant and 40 % bar,” Els said.
He added that a large play area was still planned but that this would be constructed during the renovations’ ‘second phase”, while the restaurant menu also features children’s meals.
Restaurant manager, Craig Coetzee, said that the restaurant’s extensive menu would contain a few pub favourites, while introducing a few new dishes as well.
Breakfast will be served from 9 am throughout the day. Dishes, prepared in a kitchen visible to customers, include starters, mains and desserts.
However, Coetzee said that the menu would be subject to change, depending on suggestions from customers. He also said that a sushi bar might also be introduced, depending on demand.
Els further described the new look of The Star as “old meets new” saying that while the inside area would still retain its antique feel with original bar counter and other decor, as well as lounge areas, inspired by the “Western Saloon” look, the outside area would have more of a “rustic” atmosphere, with old petrol pumps and retro signboards as decor.
He added that the entire renovation was “a work in progress” and that no final plans had been made regarding the upstairs area and that this area could possibly serve as a cocktail bar, VIP area or venue for private functions in future.
Els also indicated that extra, secure parking space had been created across the road, in old Barkly Road.
He concluded by saying that tonight’s sold out “grand opening” performance by Bok van Blerk would be the first of many live music performances to be hosted at least once a month.
“We want to create a platform where not only well-known, but also local musicians can perform and entertain the people of Kimberley,” Els said.