The place - a small cafe with a mix match of old tables, rickety chairs and artificial roses stuck into empty Coke bottles. Old, rusty and dusty tins line the windows, a framed charcoal sketch of the owner with his round steel rimmed glasses playing his guitar hints of days gone by and old original sign reading "Alma Supply Store" I remember from years gone by. Seriously shabby vintage chic. This is Alma Cafe.
The food - a simple menu which requires no menu - chicken or beef burgers and, if you want to splash out, the choice of a couple of sauces. Bring your own wine (corkage charged), beers in the old stand up Coke fridges, bottles of water served in thick "french cafe" glasses.
The audience - the youngest, a little boy of about 4 - playing on his Dad's smart phone while moving his head in time to the music and later sleeping across 2 chairs with his head on his mother's lap. The oldest? Difficult to say - maybe the bald headed father of the leader of the band, who also moved his head in time to the music and whose eyes sparkled with pride after every song, as the crowd applauded. You won't be the oldest and it would be difficult to be the youngest. A mixed crowd of university professors, students, teachers, wine merchants, hippy-like groupies and second hand bookshop owners - whoever you are you will fit right in.
The band - 3 guys, probably all close to 40, who love making music. The lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, writes the lyrics from his heart and talks of "trying to fix bones with mercurochrome" and "I'm 10 years old again, shiny and bold again"; the jovial drummer who uses what looks like kitchen implements to make his noise as he embraces the beat, smiling all the time; the bassist, a funny Frenchman who plays deliberately, eyes closed and knows exactly how to use his accent to melt the ladies hearts.
Unlike other venues where people talk and eventually shout above the voices of the performers, here you have a venue where you listen to and appreciate the music while enjoying an uncomplicated tasty meal and good company.
All of the above equalled an excellent Friday night out on a chilly Cape Town evening.