The Star of the West
If you should ever find yourself in Kimberley with something of a raging thirst, then The Star of the West bar is the place for you.
I know. I go there whenever I’m in the Diamond City. It’s the oldest bar in Kimberley, and drinking a beer at the long, long counter makes me feel like an old-time miner fresh from turning a perfectly respectable hill called the Colesberg Kopje into the Big Hole of Kimberley.
While you’re quaffing away, take a walk around this historic drinking hole and admire the woodwork. It is said that most of the wood in this place, including the bar counter, comes from timbers salvaged from a yacht called Star of the West, which came to grief long ago somewhere on the West Coast.
It’s the oldest bar in Kimberley, and drinking a beer at the long, long counter makes me feel like an old-time miner.
Let your mind’s eye drift back in time to the 1880s, when a nimble ‘maid of the night’ called Diamond Lil plied her trade in The Star of the West.
She used to climb those very wooden stairs you’re looking at, often in the company of a miner who would compensate her with some of his diamond stash.
This bar was slated for demolition in the 1980s when it was rescued by one Ivan Freel. He lovingly restored it, even going to the effort of tracking down the original yellowwood bar counter.
He also found the Bovril urn used to serve consommé to the miners, the wooden bar stools and the honky-tonk piano.
It’s a great place to end your tour of the nearby Big Hole and Old Town, which is a reconstruction of a busy Kimberley commercial street as it was at the height of the diamond boom and just before the South African War.
Category: Culture & History