Written by Gontse Seakamela
December is a time to be out and about, having drinks with friends and family. We interviewed the owner and operations manager Kaye Ally about the queer cocktail bar: Priscilla’s. Should you be out in Jozi over December, please do check out Priscilla’s.
Q: If you were to describe Priscilla’s to someone who does not know of it, what would you say?
Priscilla’s Cocktail Bar serves an extensive selection of wines, premium spirits and unique cocktails, carefully curated and based to theme fusing the movie of ‘90 with ‘20. The exclusive Priscilla’s Cocktail menu has been designed with every guest and every sip in mind and with that we married Italian and Japanese cuisine as an order in. When considering your palates we also considered your safety; set in Illovo Muse the complex offers secure basement parking, 24-hour security, and Uber-zone drop off and pick up. Making Priscilla’s Cocktail Bar the perfect first stop for any night out and it’s oh so easy with other clubbing experiences across the muse.
Q: What inspired the start of Priscilla’s?
For years the queer girls and boys wanted a safe space. So we decided to create one, at PCB, small vibey and safe. The idea is to be able to go out and let your hair down without fear of having your drink spiked or bag lost or phone stolen. Even though we opened as an LGBTQ+ venue we have a lot of support from the ally community as they appreciate the safety as well.
Q: Tell us about your customer base? What kind of patrons are you looking to attract?
Pre-Covid-19 we attracted a predominately gay male client base. Post-Covid-19 we seeing the Lesbian community come out in strong support of a safe space. We also seeing a huge support base from straight ladies that just want to go out and have fun. We do attract a younger crowd as our free entrance allows 18+. The fun, young and thirsty (LOL).
Q: Tell us about your drinks (and any eats if any) offering?
Sit back and savour classics in a casual chilled vibe or opt for the unknown with an array on a tray of contemporary drinks exclusivetoPriscilla’s, using choice spirits,imported ingredients and a dash of imagination. From non – alcoholic cocktails for those wishing to abstain in style to the truly indulgent collection of cocktails, Priscilla’s has something for everyone to enjoy against a backdrop of rainbow. With a number of very well priced signature cocktails, our menu includes: 2 Mules nothing traditional, a unique take on the Daiquiri, 3 Old fashions, something mythical in the Unicorn, light and refreshing Priscillas special and something from the green fairy” the Budget Barbie C(h)amper – a must to christen your first visit, an Old Fashion Queen this classic whiskey/bourbon cocktail will never leave ol’ Bernier disappointed like Trumpet, the Unicorn a vodka-based mythical drink with a dash of razzle-dazzle and cotton candy, the Gas Tank all we can say it comes with a disclaimer that we clean out any rust. For those that want to eat we allow food ordered in from any of the restaurants on the Muse.
Q: What is the strangest drink you have ever had?
On our menu, we had “ just what this country needed” a liquid interpretation of a Cock in a Frock on a Rock or as we call it the ‘CFR’ Flight which is a classic Priscilla’s drink of a Lime Daiquiri, Bloody Mary and Stoli & Tonic. Me personally I have had Palinka in Budapest ( and I think I forgot my name for a while).
Q: What drink would you recommend to your customers or anyone new at Priscilla’s and why?
The Drag Queen Daiquiri is (slushy) slutty and sweet but packs a punch no trip to Priscilla’s is complete with trying this secret recipe served in an extra-large glass to make sure your hands look smaller.
Q: What’s the secret to a perfect drink?
Balance, the most important rule of mixology, the rule that supersedes everything else, is that balance is everything. And no I am not a mixologist I just have very good taste-buds.
Q: How did Covid19 affect your business?
Covid-19 proposes a twin threat to lives and livelihoods, we were in our infancy when Covid-19 struck. Lucky for us we had other job interests and consulting work that allowed us to keep the lights on. Our landlord was generous in rent assistance for majority of the months of the pandemic. When we opened at the end of August it was starting again. We found we had to become innovative in our offerings creating weekly events and specials to keep our client bases interested.
Q: Any major upcoming events at Priscilla’s over the December holidays?
The month of December is jam-packed with fun and festivities at PCB. We have Black Coffee’s summer residency every Friday night the December series of Illovo Sunsets. We also have Tindering Thursday (speed dating and socials) with a R150 bottomless Gin and Tonic Special. We have mid-week mayhem with at the bar specials every Wednesday night, and on Saturdays we do Sober Sundowers between 5 and 7 pm for the sober society. We have developed a range of virgin cocktails and brought in a number of non-alcoholic drinks to ensure we cater for all. Lest we forget Christmas with this year’s lifestyle restrictions we planning an early Xmas bash on the 19th December. There will be a tree, some stocking and ridiculous bar specials.
Q: Where can we find out more about Priscilla’s?
Facebook – Priscillas GB Profile or Page and @Priscillas_za on IG Weopentoallowingprivateeventsatthevenueandhavehosted a number of Birthday Parties and Photoshoots. We don’t charge a venue hire but we will work with the organisers to develop a set price drinks menu and allow for outside catering. So if you a group of about 25 to 75 people and looking for an intimate vibey-sanky spot consider PCB for your next bash. We open to all possibilities.