On a Saturday morning at 10am, just after South Africa beat Fiji in the Rugby World Cup, I was literally the only customer in Frieda’s. The big screen was still showing post-match hype with interviews and roundups, but either I missed the party completely or there never was a party to start with. Either way, it didn’t matter, because I still had a delicious breakfast and a friendly chat with Steve Ferguson, owner and manager. He was actually hurrying around to get things ready for a function that night, fixing the light inside the Lady in Red, an icon at this joint.
Frieda’s on Bree is a bit removed from the rest of the shops and restaurants crammed in down Long, Bree and Loop Street, and that’s what makes this spot such a nice find. You’ll find it almost at the bottom of Bree Street, number 15 to be exact. It has a bohemian vibe to it, very relaxed and very mismatched. Decor includes 1950/60s style kitchen chairs, wooden tables of many different sizes, one long, rugged red brick wall and huge white Chinese ball lights hanging from above. It’ll be hard for anyone to feel uncomfortable here.
This is a daytime hangout. They open at 6.30 and have a R22 breakfast special until 8am that is sure to give you a solid start. During lunchtime they’re buzzing with people from the offices all around grabbing a takeaway sandwich or sitting down for a quick meal. They have free wifi too, for those unable to leave the office behind or those on the lookout for a new office. They also have a fully licensed bar, making it tempting to have a beer over lunch or leaving work a bit early. They generally close at 4pm, but behold the many interesting nightly activities. Thursdays are burger nights, some Tuesdays are dedicated to Tango and once a month or so they host a SVET box in the basement. These are as underground as you get, with guests actually entering through a back alley and a low door. To find out about these events, you’ll have to befriend Frieda’s on Facebook, making the invitation that much worth while.
When food is concerned, definitely check out the gourmet sandwiches. These are hearty, filling and tasty with classic combinations on a variety of breads. You can even have your filling on a croissant or in a wrap. So enough choice is available. And here’s another perk: If you can’t make it out of the office, they will bring your sandwich to you. Just note that during peak times it’s advisable to order in advance. Sandwiches are not all they have though, so if you’re in the mood for a proper sit down, try the pasta or a good old burger made with a 200g steak beef patty.
As mentioned, Frieda’s does functions too. For a sit down dinner event, you can easily have a guest list of 70 people, and 150 if they don’t need food. They are licensed to serve alcohol until 1am and then Long Street is just a quick walk away if you desire more party. And of course, they have a big screen during these Rugby centered times. Steve is puzzled by the fact that some days are packed to the brim and other days are like last Saturday, but if you’re around while the rugby is on, pop in and have a drink, you might just stumble upon a great daytime party.
And of course, the Lady in Red. She is the door lady and she is also made of paper. She is one of a few sculptures like her. They stand around glowing and ad just a little bit of extra character to this already rather collectable hangout. If you’re tickled and you’d like to read more, check out their website here.