Cool Spaces: Athletic Club & Social

WORDS Michaela Stehr

A moody new restaurant inspired by the ’20s and ’30s has opened its doors on Cape Town’s Buitengracht Street.

Offering three storeys of entertainment and decor bliss, Athletic Club & Social is a carefully curated space, drawing on the nostalgia of a bygone athletic era, showcasing vintage sporting equipment, trophies and old photographs as part of its “Wes Anderson-eque” look.

The building, founded by pharmacist and sports enthusiast Herbert Tothill in 1900, is the perfect setting for the memorabilia-laden space, which is reminiscent of an old New York-style speakeasy.

From tennis rackets adorning the walls and old leather boxing gloves to tarnished trophies and newspaper clippings, owner Athos Euripidou and partner Bradley Kerzner have thought of it all. “I felt that Cape Town, being an international city, needed a venue that celebrated its heritage, but more than that, I wanted to highlight stories of sporting oppression and the unrecognised sports enthusiasts in apartheid,” says Athos.

Local interior designer Debra Parkington was responsible for the striking decor, with each floor conveying a distinct mood and style. Plush velvets are juxtaposed against patterned wallpaper, fringe, marble and wood. Artist David Brits has also created a mural on the first floor.

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