Bree Street’s controversial Nunnery changes its habits
PROVOCATIVE images of women clad in scanty nuns’ habits and clutching firearms or alcohol have made way for the slick and trendy, as the city launches its latest eatery and bar in fashionable Bree Street.
The property was arguably the most controversial on the popular stretch, the subject of an ongoing feud about whether it was being run as a brothel.
Now the new transport- themed establishment, called The Station on Bree, is far less risque.
Launched last night, the establishment takes the place of the previous controversial and cheekily named Nunnery.
Four months ago the Nunnery, opposite St Paul’s Anglican Church, made news when claims surfaced it was a brothel.
The situation snowballed with several companies refusing to do business with the Nunnery and the lease for the premises was then made available. Eventually the Nunnery folded.
This week The Station on Bree founder Neil Basel said he was aware of the property’s dubious history.
“Hence the clean slate and complete change of vibe, decor, theme, style, music, food, operating hours and more. This is a stylish, fun and colourful themed venue with a destination feel,” he said.
Basel said no one who had been involved in the Nunnery was involved in The Station on Bree.
“It’s in the past. And anyone who visits The Station on Bree will immediately be transported to another place with no recollection of what was,” he said.
In a media release about the new venture, it was revealed that The Station on Bree would have a theme similar to the London Underground.
Basel said it was the first venue of its type as it would offer various forms of entertainment in themed “stations”.
“Our character-filled heritage venue now offers a convincing commuter experience across multiple levels and platforms, from coffee to club vibe.
“The concept is hip and colourful and the design team has enjoyed working the theme throughout the venue, from train seating to courtyard bus shelter to underground dance floor.”
In May allegations surfaced on social media that the Nunnery was a house of ill repute.At the time Katherine Friedman, global marketing director for Urban Lime Property South Africa, a company specialising in urban regeneration and which owns several Bree Street properties, took to Facebook saying she “regularly witnessed single men going in and out at all times and frequently saw the working girls arriving and leaving”.
But Garith Nunn, who ran the Nunnery, denied the claim at the time.
Four months ago he told Weekend Argus he was keen on moving the Nunnery to another premises in the city centre, and to push the boundaries further, with provocatively themed drinks.
But this week a friend who answered his phone said Nunn did not intend relaunching the Nunnery and was not involved in the new venture on the site.
Friedman said she was relieved Nunn was no longer involved.
“We have met the owners, who are decent, community-minded business people,” she said.
A controversial property on Bree Street, believed to have previously housed a brothel, has undergone a makeover and relaunched as an eatery and bar.