Photo: Erin Johnston

NEW PUB, CENTRAAL, SPRINGS UP IN STELLIES

By Emmanuel Okere

There is a new spot in town opening in January 2021 – an urban food and drink place that offers an entirely different take on what Stellenbosch has witnessed before. Centraal is situated at the heart of Stellenbosch, where according to its owners, “Every day is special for a Maties student”.

Stellenbosch is witnessing a brand-new wave of business presence. There has been a lot of in-and-out movement of business post-COVID-19 which seems to be typical of this town even before the changes the pandemic brought. Notable places that were forced to close over the long months of lockdown are Cubana, Bohemia, Trumpet Tree, and many more.

Luckily, Centraal offers some good news. One of the owners of Centraal, Werner de Swardt, who also owns Pulp Cinema in the Neelsie Student Centre, says it is open to everyone, but the atmosphere caters mainly to Stellenbosch University (SU) students, businessmen, Stellenbosch locals, and tourists.

When asked why he chose the specific location in the often-overlooked Mill Square by Eikestad Mall, De Swardt describes it as a “hidden gem”, as it is right on the border of campus, in the centre of town. What stood out to him was the lovely square garden right outside, coupled with the main building’s wonderful double-story space. “It is in the heart of Stellenbosch, but still secluded from the heavy commotion of the town.”

Currently, Centraal is undergoing renovations, but when completed, we can expect to see a bar and restaurant with a jolly atmosphere, offering breakfast and dinner. The place will take on the slogan, “X Marks the Spot”, and will be open between 8:00 and 1:00, seven days a week.

De Swart says there will be everyday specials, especially for Maties. He will attempt to fill a gap in the local market, by offering quality service, food, and drinks at reasonable prices, that cater to students.

According to De Swardt, they are creating a unique beer garden where anyone can come to relax and have a good time. A place that will provide social integration between students and the corporate world causing both to rub shoulders under the same umbrella of cheerfulness. “A happy vibe from visiting us will convince you to come again,” he says.

One of the managers, John Sutherland, SU alumni, commented, “Centraal will be the vibeiest place in town when everything is settled”. As a recent BCom (Entrepreneurship) graduate, he has a good understanding of the town’s student life and its expectations, as well as the necessary business knowledge, so Centraal is in good hands. 

Centraal is expected to be fully open for business by the second week of January 2021. When customers can finally go unwind, have an ice-cold beer, delicious food, great service and a beautiful setting, seems like this one will be worth the wait.

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