Spotty Dog Roadhouse

October 09

No vintage collection is complete without Spotty Dog, the roadhouse. He once stood on Main Road Retreat, in Cape Town and this image, from October 1957, was taken almost half way through his iconic life. Built in 1938, it was only when a truck messed up his face in 1977 that he had to be demolished. A smaller replica still exists outside the present day PennyPinchers, in the same location.

Spotty was of course a great subject for a photography student and the home-made glass mount of this slide meticulously records details of the lens and settings used. There’s a fair amount of noise, but I left that in place. Those power lines had to go though.

Before and after – click for big.

Spotty appears all over the Internet as he was photographed millions of times. Here’s a recent and interesting blog post about him from an architectural point of view.


Posted by on October 9, 2012 in South Africa, Traditional architecture


10 responses to “Spotty Dog Roadhouse

  1. dave byford

    August 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I lived in Simons town from 1958 until 1961 and this was a regular stop after the drive-in bioscope and on our way back home !!

  2. Don Roskilly

    August 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Based at Retreat June 1945 awaiting return to UK after training in Southern Rhodesia. Had many a fried egg in bun on way back to camp.

  3. monica sutherland

    December 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    This is not the original Spotty. He was much bigger and one went inside him to enjoy oneself. Aren’t there any photo’s of him dating back to the 40’s?

  4. elaine

    August 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Monica, this is the only image I have. I didn’t know there was a prior Spotty.

  5. Viv

    November 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Monica, this is the original, the kennel was the kitchen. Spotty was built by my friend’s Dad in 1938. The replica sits in front of Pennypinchers in Retreat, roughly where the original stood.

  6. janet buckingham

    April 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I have a picture of him taken in 1943. I have been trying to find out about him for a long time and have just found this site.

  7. Deon Greeff

    May 22, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Our family used to go for Sunday afternoon drives and we will always stop for soft serves at Spotty Dog. This was back in the 60’s. Great memories!

  8. Anonymous

    February 17, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Yes I remember this all too well. Happy memories of my childhood in Cape Town. Yip the good old Sunday afternoon drives and the much awaited and anticipated treats. Life had a completely different approach! Good times

  9. Yvette

    January 24, 2017 at 10:08 am


    I am making a documentary short film abut the Spotty Dog landmark and was wondering if you would let me use this image in the film?

    Please contact me via email.

    Thanks so much,


  10. Murray Gibbs

    September 18, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Spotty was built by Ralph Barnes, a professional violinist. After Ralph died in 1947 it was run by his wife, my aunt Enid for many years.


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