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On Melville’s popular 4th Avenue is a suave new hang-out with the potential to be one of the best spots on the strip. I stumbled on this up-market establishment almost by chance and Mooteebar appears almost like it’s a secret marked by weird signage. The well-laid-out bar has the kind of seating you notice in scenes shot in New York’s Upper East Side – with soft lighting and music played at an ambient level.
We make use of the spacious outdoor area, which seems equipped to host a lot more people than are in the place. Our waiter brings out a menu that has nothing but beautiful, encyclopedia-style illustrations of beverages and a short back story of the name. Drinks like a royal umqombothi, Kenyan proverb and even a mvulamlomo – meaning “mouth opener” – are all prepared in a state-of-the-art drinks lab. The whole idea is for you to make a choice based on the image and story, rather than the ingredients. The rebel in me was at first not having any of that hipster mess and I order a double gin. Later I decide to get into the spirit of things and order Induna, a prickly pear concoction. It was delicious.
Woke folk may take issue with the African twists that have been used in naming the drinks, but from what I could tell they have really tried to pitch something to everyone. The bouncer at the door could speak six or seven languages and the fancy drinks are definitely a conversation piece.
My only criticism is that it was quite empty when we were there, so it lacked buzz and vibe. With more bodies, this will be a hot spot for sure.