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Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Cape Town, Featured, Restaurants | 9 comments

Scheisse! Cape Town icon Paulaner Brauhaus closes

In what seems to be a tale of corporate politics and profits triumphing over craft beer, good sense and good times, the famous Paulaner Bräuhaus in Cape Towns’ V&A Waterfront has closed suddenly after 10 years of trade.

paulaner-brauhaus-ftjpgA brief announcement appeared on the restaurants’ Facebook page late last week notifying patrons and friends of yesterdays closing:

Dear Paulaner Patrons,
Please take note that as a result of our lease at the V&A Waterfront having come to an end, the week of 13 February will be the last week of trading by the Paulaner Bräuhaus. Our doors will be closing indefinitely on Sunday, 19 February 2012 at 22h00.
We invite you to make use of this opportunity to visit us for a last taste of our renowned and award-winning beers and popular food menu.
It is with great sadness that we, the management and staff of the Paulaner Bräuhaus have to bid you farewell.
We would like to thank all our loyal supporters over the years – it has been a pleasure serving you! PROST!
Paulaner Bräuhaus Management and Staff

While no official notification from the V&A has been made, Twitter and the Blogosphere are awash with messages of support, sadness and (supported) speculation. The generally accepted information is that the owners of the Bräuhaus , Hospitality Property Fund (HPF) were unable to accept a hefty increase in rental costs from the V&A Waterfront for the 5-year lease renewal period beginning 01 March. Suggestions are that the V&A were hoping to double the restaurant and brewery’s already high R250 000 monthly rental.

Half a million a month in rental costs is a large pill to swallow for any business. And whilst Paulaner does (did?) occupy a large area of the Clock Tower precinct – I think it laid claim to the largest restaurant by seats in the Southern Hemisphere at one stage? – any restaurateur facing that sort of monthly fixed cost before even brewing a single ale or buying in a load of bratwurst is going to be thinking very carefully about the long-term financial viability of their restaurant. Profit margins in the food service and sales industry are traditionally very narrow, and given the present economic situation, the fickleness of the tourism market to South Africa and the significant lack of disposal income amongst locals, I for one am not surprised by the decision to close. (At least on the assumption that the proposed rental amount is vaguely accurate.)

paulaner beer

If this is the true reason behind the closure though, it is indeed a sad day for Cape Town in general and the V&A specifically. An iconic 10-year old eatery and craft brewery have gone. Personally I hope not for good. Let’s open we see the venue reopen in a more affordable but no less attractive location soon enough.

What I sincerely hope doesn’t happen is that the venture or ventures that move in the vacant space are hugely successful. Corporate greed is often tempered when served with a dose of humble pie.

To the Paulaner staff and management – Prost!

Image credits: PaulanerBräuhaus.com

9 Comments

  1. You are the only person I know who could use the word “sheisse” in a blog headline and not make it sound ridiculous!

    A nice write-up Greg. Spent many an hour at the Brauhaus myself. It will be missed by many. Shame on you corporate profiteerers, shame on you.

    • Hi Debra
      Thanks for the visit, and the comment. If it weren’t for you I’d never have realised that I spelled “scheisse” incorrectly on that post.
      Nice to have you stop by, hope you become a regular visitor here.

      • Thought you may have, but was being polite!

  2. Rumours semi-confirmed (although the stance of the V&A differs somewhat) in an article published in todays’ Cape Argus newspaper: http://bit.ly/z3nLRc

  3. Servus Paulaner Bräuhaus Cape Town, you will be missed 🙁

  4. Been going there for what seems like ages, it used to be a favourite, felt very disappointed to arrive at a dark and deserted venue a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping a new Paulaner rises from the ashes! In the meantime, I’m making beer sauce, mash and eisbein for dinner tonight, washed down with a few imported bottles of Paulaner Dunkel.

    • Yeah, very sad day indeed Ivan.
      Let’s hope that a resurrected Paulaner appears sooner than later.
      Prost!

  5. As a regular visitor at the paulaner for the last few years i hoped to find same news here of the opening of a new Paulaner in Cape Town.
    We always visit the Paulaner on oure trips from Germany to CT and it was always the highlight.

    • Hi Juergen
      Yes, agreed – it remains very sad for many that the Paulaner closed.
      Their Facebook page indicates that they hope to have something new up and running by December, but that post was quite a while ago.
      There has been no new news since then except for a more recent (last month) offer to sell Paulaner memorabilia to the public.
      That, imho, is not a good sign at all. If they were planning to reopen why would they want to dispose of the items they saved from the old venue? Surely they would want to reuse them in a new place?
      Maybe I read too much into it. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
      Prost!

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