Cubana gears up for a bling party to remember

Thulani Gqirana

IT will be a night of glitz, glamour and Bay A-listers as men don their suits and women put on their dancing shoes to celebrate Cubana’s first birthday tomorrow. The beachfront restro-bar was launched in the city in June 2010 before a legal wrangle between Cubana and property mogul, Ben Nyaumwe, who renamed it Caprice in 2011.

The bitter legal row between national franchisor, Cubana, and its former franchise holder, Gapwedge Properties 53, led to Caprice being closed down in February last year by the sheriff of the court after Nyaumwe’s failed application to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to keep it open.

Last year in July, it was relaunched as Cubana with a lavish party, and now to celebrate a year of smooth sailing, the restro-bar is throwing an even bigger event that celebrates the venue as well as its loyal patrons.

Cubana manager Ashley James said it had been a great year for the Port Elizabeth franchise, which has hosted local and national artists almost every weekend since it reopened.

“One of the most memorable events we had was when Goldfish performed here with some local artists. It was packed.”

James said the politics that led to the property changing names was over.

“Trust me, it’s done. We are now looking ahead to being one of the best places to hang out in the city.”

Cubana is celebrating their first birthday with a suit, tie and bling party. While the actual anniversary was on July 20, they chose to do the celebrations this weekend to allow for more preparation and planning time.

“The men can wear their suits and ties and the ladies can bring the bling,” he said.

The event, which starts at 8pm and ends the next morning, will feature local DJs including the manager, as well as Umhlobo Wenene’s DJ Pastor.

The operations manager, Daniel Molaoa, said they had been trying to bring the city more into line with its national counterparts when it came to entertainment.

“We have been trying to teach Port Elizabeth that the weekend begins on Thursday by hosting corporate Thursday and bringing in national DJs every week.

“Since we opened, we have been striving to be one of the best hangout places in the city and we are well within our goals. In fact, we are in the top list, especially if you look at all the places that have opened and closed in the city just in the past year,” Molaoa said.

He said with the bling event, they were trying to promote a certain kind of style with customers.

“Cubana is not a club or a restaurant but a social cafe, a place where the corporate worker can come and relax, loosen their tie. So this event embodies that.”

They have invited about 60 of their loyal customers to enjoy VIP treatment for the night.

“These are people who have been with us through thick and thin and we want to say thank you. We want to make this event memorable and we would love for people to stick to them so we can have a glitzy night full of fun.

“And from here, it will just get better and better.”

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