There are few messages more chilling on a Thursday morning than: “The Fireman’s Arms has burnt down.”

The Fireman’s Arms. Perhaps Cape Town’s finest pub. It has been for years my first stop when visiting Cape Town. Book into the hotel on the foreshore. Turn right out of the door, sprint across Buitengracht Street at the lights, take some much-unneeded advice from the self-appointed guardians at those lights, turn left and in 10 minutes — pouring time included — I’m seated at the bar with a pint of happiness.

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