Johannesburg

Around Joburg in 21 Bars

15 Jan 2018

Whether your taste is for high-end cocktail lounges, craft beer gardens, historic pubs or classy wine bars, Joburg has a bar for you. Here’s our round-up of 21 great bars and pubs to plan your night around.

1. LIVING ROOM
This fun rooftop café-bar is a little garden in the sky with fantastic urban skyline views. On Sundays, the Living Room fills up for the Sunday sundowners DJ party. Late afternoon is a good time to arrive as the sun starts going down at after 18:00 in summer.
20 Kruger St (5th floor), Maboneng

2. 4PM AT MESH / UPSTAIRS AT MESH
Join the sophisticated set at this sexy cocktail lounge, housed in a private members’ club on the art and design inspired Keyes Art Mile. 4PM at Mesh is a slick cocktail bar that opens daily to the public from 16:00 where you can savour creative cocktails inspired by the stunning artworks on the walls that include several JH Pierneef masterpieces. One floor up (via a secret entrance) is pop-up bar Upstairs at Mesh.
21 Keyes Ave, Rosebank

3. THE BENDERS ARMS AT 97 FOX
A downtown hidden treasure, this friendly pub occupies what was once the ladies' waiting room at Rand Club (an exclusive members' club founded in 1887). While Rand Club is still a members-only space The Benders Arms is open to all. A convenient lunchtime pit-stop while exploring one of Joburg’s most historically rich neighbourhoods.
97 Fox St, City Centre

4. STANLEY BEER YARD
While away a sunny Joburg afternoon with craft beers and vinyl music in this stylish beer garden at 44 Stanley, a converted 1930s industrial complex full of pretty olive tree filled courtyards and design stores. Blues, jazz and folk bands play on weekends and there’s a vinyl record fair on the first Sunday of the month.
44 Stanley, Cnr Owl St and Stanley Ave, Milpark

5. THE RADIUM
Although the surrounding neighbourhoods have seen better days, this historic pub retains a unique charm and still brims with the kind of warmth and character that blonde wood and hipster font design simply cannot buy. Every Friday and Saturday there are energetic live jazz and blues gigs, and the eclectic decor (much of it from the 1940s) and motley crew of regulars at the bar only add to its charm.
282 Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove

6. KITCHENER'S
By day it’s a quiet pub while by night DJs spin soul, funk and electro and Joburg’s cool kids and creative types hang out having the time of their lives. The small courtyard has a particularly Rastafarian aroma. Kitchener's retains much of its original Edwardian decor and takes its name from Lord Kitchener who stayed here in 1905 when the building was a hotel.
Cnr Juta and De Beer Sts, Braamfontein

7. THE HIDE OUT
The budget backpacker’s bar of choice. On the ground floor of Maboneng’s cool backpackers hostel Curiocity, this is a great place to meet fellow travellers and like-minded individuals while hatching plans to travel the continent, and shooting some pool. The name is inspired by the building’s history as a secret printing press during the apartheid era.
Curiocity Backpackers, 302 Fox St, cnr Auret St, Maboneng

8. PERRIER-JOUËT CHAMPAGNE GARDEN
An intimate and plush little venue inside the exclusive 54 on Bath Hotel, ideal for a glass of the best with someone special. As there are only a handful of tables service is polished yet personalised and with fine weather you can enjoy your Champagne on the terrace.
54 on Bath Boutique Hotel, 54 Bath Ave, Rosebank

9. THE TERRACE CIGAR AND WINE BAR
From the Hyatt’s roomy courtyard oasis you’d never know you are just metres away from the hustle and bustle of central Rosebank. Birds tweet overhead and water trickles into tranquil infinity pools nestled under romantically-lit palm trees. The service is discreet yet attentive and the atmosphere serene making this a great venue for a quiet evening sundowner or informal drinks with clients.
Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Rd, Rosebank

10. TONIC
An unpretentious spot in the cute older suburb of Linden specialising in craft gins and tonics. Opt for a classic G&T with one of a number of local and imported craft gins or try the quirky cocktails like the D’Light, a combination of Musgrave pink gin, tonic and Turkish delight.
32 7th St, Linden

11. MAD GIANT
Take a beer tasting tour at this downtown craft brewery housed in an impressively converted 19th-Century mining warehouse. Also home to Urbanologi restaurant serving up delicious small plates, there’s plenty of space to sit inside the brewery or head to the sunny beer garden.
1 Fox Precinct, 1 Fox St (parking at 14 Alexander St), Ferreirasdorp

12. PRE VIEW
Perched high upon Westcliff ridge this tapas and cocktail bar at the Four Seasons, one of the city’s most luxurious hotels, epitomises understated chic. The view over Joburg’s immense human-made forest from the terrace is unforgettable, and fine dining hotspot View is a door away.
67 Jan Smuts Ave, Westcliff

13. WORKSHOP 55/ LOUNGE 55
To the left is the casual fine-dining tapas restaurant Workshop 55 and to the right Lounge 55, whose decor takes its inspiration from the glamorous cocktail lounges of 1920s Miami. Both venues specialise in gin with fresh fruit and herb infusions and there’s a massive selection of unusual and rare craft labels to try.
55 7th Ave, Parktown North

14. THE IMMIGRANT
Adjoining the Once in Joburg ‘flashpackers’ hostel, this two-tiered bar spills out onto Braamfontein’s busy Grove Square and swells with a fun-loving twenty-something party crowd on the weekends who are drawn in by the house beats.
90 De Korte St, Braamfontein

15. THE BLIND TIGER
Stepping through the door of this bar on Parkview’s quaint village-like high street recalls the glamour age of the 1920s in places like Chicago or Paris. Enjoy moreish cocktails inspired by Fitzgerald’s age-defining novel The Great Gatsby conjured up by a friendly barman who’ll remember you for next time. A classy place to stay out late. The owner's other bar Lenin's Vodka Bar, in Maboneng, is also worth a visit.
62 Tyrone Ave, Parkview

16. XAI XAI
This Mozambican-themed dive bar has been around for decades and still attracts a faithful clientele who come for the cheap Mozambican lagers, sports screens and unpretentious atmosphere. A little rough around the edges, the rickety chairs and faded posters lend it a strangely appealing grungy charm that somehow reminds one of the spit and sawdust bars of the resort town it’s named after.
7th St, Melville

17. GILES PUB
This friendly neighbourhood pub in leafy Craighall is popular for corporate after-work drinks, and with rugby fans, although the obliging staff will happily allow football followers to commandeer the TV screens too. The glass-fronted restaurant area can lack atmosphere when quiet, but the long bar facing the street always hums.
9 Grafton Ave, Craighall Park

18. EB SOCIAL KITCHEN & BAR
Heaven for book lovers, this place is housed inside one of Joburg’s biggest bookstores. The best sellers and recommended reads are temptingly displayed in the area leading up to the bar-restaurant where floor-to-ceiling windows offer splendid views of the suburbs. An excellent wine list presents plenty of local South African wines and there’s also a literary inspired-cocktail menu.
Hyde Park Corner, cnr Jan Smuts Ave and William Nicol Dr, Hyde Park

19. AL LADO
Look for the bouncer guarding an unmarked door and climb the stairs to find your way into this theatrical space that shares the same warehouse building as the popular Che Argentine Grill. There’s plenty of rum and cachaça on the menu and late on weekends the resident DJs create a club-like atmosphere.
303 Fox St, Maboneng

20. THE GRILLHOUSE SANDTON
In the heart of Sandton Central’s business district this upmarket steakhouse has an expansive bar and terrace with panoramic views. On Thursdays and Friday evenings the bar is packed with the local after-work crowd, who drop by to avoid the traffic and watch the spectacular sunsets.
11 Alice Lane, Sandton Central

21. THE MARABI CLUB
Effusive reviews all remark on the atmosphere or (that South Africanism) “vibe” of The Marabi Club, a combination of live music, good food and slick service from jauntily-dressed waitstaff. The interiors conjure Joburg in the 20s and 30s. Arranged around a moodily-lit stage on which a jazz band plays, look for the enormous barrel-chested men in black outside a metal door on a city backstreet.
47 Sivewright Ave, New Doornfontein, Maboneng

Associated Venues

The Hide Out

 Curiocity Backpackers, 302 Fox St, cnr Auret St, Maboneng, City Centre
EDITOR'S PICK

Stanley Beer Yard

 44 Stanley, Cnr Owl St and Stanley Ave, Milpark
FEATURED

EB Social Kitchen Bar

 Hyde Park Corner, cnr Jan Smuts Ave and William Nicol Dr, Hyde Park

Level Four Restaurant and Champagne Bar

 54 on Bath Boutique Hotel, 54 Bath Ave, Rosebank

Living Room

 20 Kruger St (the Main Change building 5th floor), Maboneng, City Centre

Mad Giant

 1Fox Precinct, 1 Fox St (parking at 14 Alexander St), Ferreirasdorp, City Centre

The Terrace Cigar and Wine Bar

 Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Rd, Rosebank

View Restaurant

 Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, 67 Jan Smuts Ave, Westcliff
Epitomising understated chic Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff is a se

Comments

Connect via social media
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Take your guide with you Download a pdf or order a printed issue Browse our collection of guides
Put our app in your pocket
Top
City Essentials

Download our new City Essentials app

download 4.5