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Loop Street is a one-way street that runs the length of the city into the CBD parallel to Long Street, another one-way street that runs in the opposite direction towards the mountain. Loop is probably best known as the street you park in when you can't find parking in Long, which is one of Cape Town's most vibrant - and therefore busiest - areas and is filled with restaurants, bars, and night spots to cater to most tastes. It is certainly an experience I would recommend to tourists.
Anyway, the parking issue was certainly the case one evening last week when I met friends for dinner and had to park in Loop due to a lack of bays anywhere else. Although, at night, Loop Street is almost deserted, bar the parked cars, in sharp contrast to Long, it still draws the parking attendants (both official and unofficial) and, I found, construction takes place well into the evening.
About 10 years ago Loop had a bit more of an identity than it has now (although it could never compete with Long) and you would find interesting establishments tucked in between the drab architecture, such as an independent record store that specialised in obscure music and artists that were hard to find in those days, or a small, quaint, and unpretentious coffee shop that offered value for money and a great place to have a drink with friends after studying at Michaelis or CityVarsity.
Nowadays much of that atmosphere has been lost and recently the street has seen its fair share of urban renewal (which usually comprises a block suddenly being knocked down so that slightly taller buildings can be built), but the atmosphere and tone have always been a work in progress, while we all vaguely wonder who is building what (and why). No one says "Let's go to Loop Street" yet you will often hear the locals mention Long or Kloof streets. For a while now Loop has remained a faily non descript thoroughfare that's really just the road you use when you want to get to the middle of the city from the upper edges (which is a peculiar, fascinating mix of Bohemiasm and yuppiedom that somehow manages to co-exist peacefully).
At night Loop's most notable attraction, which can be seen from quite a distance due to the eerie blue glow cast upon the street by the lights around the entrance, is Teazers, a strip club or "gentleman's" bar, or whatever else one might want to call it (I've never been inside so I cannot attest to its quality, or potential lack thereof - an investigation and a post for another time, perhaps?). Outside a couple of hefty bouncers sit eyeing the passing foot traffic suspiciously and somehow making just walking past the establishment feel like the creepiest experience on earth.
On the night that I took this photograph a massive black limo was parked outside on the other side of the road. I don't know if it resides there permanently or was just being utilised for the evening but it was the most garish limo I've ever seen. It was, in essence, an extended 4x4. You can see that quite clearly if you look at the back of the vehicle.
There really is no accounting for taste.
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