Walking down an old famous jol strip located on Lynwood Road in Pretoria. The dark streets disguise the lines of parked cars. Looking down the bright lights of the bars and restaurants, amongst the neon eyes one name jumps out at you, “Fokof Bar” in black and white, rising above the rest. You have just found your new happy place.
I was one lucky rocker to find myself standing in the line outside the already iconic bar. It was a media night and representatives from radio to behind the scene writers were there for the night.
Going up the stairs and into the bar, I felt somehow home. It was like seeing and experiencing a real 3D visual of Fokofpolisiekar (FOPK). The bar with its heavy wrap L-shape wood counters and the photo wall just opposite is truly a homey feeling for any FOPK fan. Photos from their past shows, behind the tours and even a framed rugby jersey from their video “Tevrede”.
Moving towards the back end of the bar, the black and white tiles grabs my imagination, its if I were in Alice’s rabbit hole. Except this rabbit hole has ice cold Fokof Lager, Jägermeister and some damn tasty burgers. With the décor somehow pushing you into the cosy
Finding the bathrooms was pretty easy, the signs are little coffins, highlighted with red LED lights with a Barbie (ladies) and Ken (gents) dolls in it. There were lots of little quirky touches to see.
The small stage provided, had Johnny, Francois and Hunter playing a short 3-song acoustic show. I wonder if Loftus heard us all singing “Skyn Heilig”? The DJ box is a pulpit (‘n preekstoel) and this is a tribute to Francois’s background of being a pastors’ child. With seating ranging from deep, old school leather booths to small garden patio furniture you will be sure to find your spot in this heaven.
Waiters that serve you with a wicked cheeky smile and bartenders that get your orders right the first time –it’s a breath of fresh air. I must praise them for serving us all in the craziness of what this rock ‘n roll event had to offer. The rules of life according to FOPK on the wall, the little knick-knacks that have you wondering if the Afrikaans culture has spilt over to the rest of the world. The coffin shape door between the bar and kitchen area and that true feeling of togetherness.
But, this bar is more than just “another bar” on this strip. It’s a landmark, a lighthouse for the generation FOPK sang, sweated and bled for. It’s a 16-year journey that many of us have been following since the very start.
I felt like I was at this cool family reunion, one you never wanted to leave and wished it would never end. You shouldn’t go to Fokof Bar as if you are visiting a museum or with disrespect in your heart, or just because of you. You should go to Fokof Bar with respect in your heart and hand and rock ‘n roll in your veins. This is a place that tells you the real-life rules and it is completely not your fathers’ bar.