An international retro-motorcycle lifestyle brand is opening its first Japan-based bar/cafe/music venue in Niseko this weekend.
The House of Machines, born out of Cape Town, South Africa, will serve food, coffee and craft beer, and aims to bring a sophisticated new day and nightlife vibe to Higashiyama Village (at the base of the Niseko Village ski area) following the official opening this Saturday. They will also open a motorcycle workshop alongside the cafe, which will be free for fellow bikers to drop by and tinker on their machines. A real, organic, motorcycle enthusiasts’ hub!
General manager of the Cape Town flagship store Farryl Purkiss has flown in to oversee the setup for the opening event, and help transition the soul of the brand to Higashiyama. Farryl said The House of Machines brand grew out of a once run-down but lately gentrified neighbourhood in Cape Town’s CBD. Enterpreneur Drew Madacsi, fashion designer Paul van der Spuy, and cafe co-owner Brad Armitage came together and rented the historic workhouse building to use as a clubhouse, a place to hang out and enjoy what they loved – coffee, motorcycles, beer, cocktails and fashion. “It was just a space,” Farryl says. “They’d get together for a coffee in the morning, tune up their machines, then ride around Cape Town for the day.”
Friends who loved bikes came to hang out, then friends of friends. What evolved was originally a cafe and motorcycle workshop, then an apparel brand, lately also a cocktail space and live music venue. The key to the brand’s skyrocketing success is no plans for success at all – just passion, expertise and hard work. “We do what we think is cool. We do what we love,” Farryl explains.
At the heart of the Cape Town store is La Macchina, a motorcycle workshop producing custom motorcycles to order. BMW’s heritage motorbike branch has gotten behind the brand, and plans are to open five more stores across the world over the next five years, the next major branch slated to open in Los Angeles this November. Farryl says the Niseko chapter was not originally part of the global roll-out plan and came about largely by chance with backing from local developer Chris Peck.
The House of Machines in Cape Town, South Africa.
Thanks to collaboration between The House of Machines brand and Black Diamond Tours in which Chris has an interest, a cat ski operation was spawned out of an abandoned base lodge at nearby Mt Chisenupuri, branded The House of Powder. THOP began running cat ski tours on Chisenupuri last winter after securing lease rights to the disused Chisenupuri ski resort from the local government. “It’s a natural match,” Farryl says. “The passion and play in snowboard culture fits perfectly with what we do.” The sister brands will share retail space, and the House of Powder tour office will operate upstairs to the cafe/bar space.
Before winter there is summer, and with motorcycle workshop facilities free and open for anyone to use Farryl’s team hopes that the local motorbike touring community, and the Japanese motorbiking culture at large, will find a place in their heart for House of Machines. Ideas are floating around about bike meets, camp-outs and concerts – “Our brief is to dream big. As big as we go.”
The store is located in what was formerly the Black Diamond Tours tour office, opposite the Milk Kobo dairy farm in Higashiyama.