Maboneng's main high street is Fox Street, home to the pioneer development Arts on Main and an eclectic selection of dozens of bars, cafes and restaurants. In 2020 the neighbouring precinct of Jewel City launched, connected to Maboneng via a pedestrianised stretch of Fox Street. While in its early days the neighbourhood's focus was squarely on the arts, Maboneng has now become a major nightlife hotspot and on Saturdays especially the streets are thronged with a young party crowd.
Sample Maboneng's cafe culture
Some of the bars that open out onto Fox Street can get very noisy on weekends, so follow the Maboneng locals to the quieter spots such as Xavier who have a great hidden courtyard in the back, or sister cafe Bertrand on the opposite side of the street where you can enjoy live jazz concerts at their upstairs concert space.
Art at Arts on Main
Coffee at Home of the BeanFor the best coffee in Maboneng drop into Home of the Bean. Founded by husband and wife duo Leroy Kgopa and Itumeleng Manamela Home of the Bean is all about a quality experience from the beans to the seats. The carrot cake brownies are also noteworthy. If you're looking for a relaxed spot in this buzzing 'hood this is it.
Hang out with Curiocity
If it’s happening in Maboneng, Curiocity is a perfect location from which to experience the action. Curiocity hosts live-music events, has a popular bar and braai stand and offers dorms, private rooms, a loft apartment and Curiocity Pads – 12 boutique studio apartments, each designed by an artist to reflect a particular decade of Joburg’s first 120 years. They also organise great walking and cycling tours of Maboneng and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Their tours aim to encourage people to rediscover the city by foot and mix insights into contemporary culture and new immigrant neighbourhoods with history, public art and architecture. Popular tours include the Maboneng street art walk and their sunset walks that end with dinner and drinks at an exclusive penthouse.
Get your picture taken with the Maboneng signAt the corner of Kruger and Fox Streets an ironwork sign spreads across the intersection spelling out the word Maboneng. On weekends this is the busiest corner of the whole neighbourhood with a steady stream of visitors armed with props getting in line to get that perfect Instagram shot. Alongside this corner's Insta infamy an enterprising fleet of young photographers has also sprung up ready and waiting with professional cameras to take the perfect shot for you. There is also a second similar sign (pictured top) located two blocks away just off Commissioner Street.
Exhibitions and a poolside cafe at The Anthill
Maboneng's newest arts venue is The Anthill, an ambitious and expansive collaborative space that has taken over the former MOAD (Museum of African Design) building on Commissioner Street. The entrance to the building is on Albrecht Street, opposite the Edwardian heritage landmark The Cosmopolitan, In the soaring entrance space there is a friendly little coffee bar and the maze-like building is also home to the contemporary art gallery, Gallery Fanon that focuses on promoting artists from the surrounding neighbourhoods. Hidden away in the very back of the building (you may need to ask someone for directions) is a small courtyard with a relaxed poolside cafe-bar.
Sundowners at Living Room
Wine and dine at Hallmark House
Hallmark House in nearby Doornfontein, was the much-anticipated design of leading Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye. The building, which opened in 2017, houses residential apartments and the boutique Hallmark Hotel. The hotel's biggest attractions are the super-stylish and atmospheric underground restaurant and music venue, The Marabi Club, a fine dining and jazz music hotspot and the superbly impressive roof bar that offers 350-degree views of the city from its wraparound balcony. Parking is tricky and the hotel is not right next to Maboneng's main attractions so we recommend coming here by Uber.