Start your exploration at The Grove (cnr Juta, Melle and De Korte Sts), a colourful public square that has been carved out of a city block by local property developers South Point who have spearheaded much of Braamfontein’s regeneration. Cafe culture rules with a Turkish bakery Galata, serving one of the best value breakfasts in town, a cycling themed cafe Velo, and the popular pizzeria 86 Public all spilling out onto the square.
From here it’s a short walk of four blocks to Juta Street where you can start the morning with the finest German pastries from the tiny Black Forest Bakery. Across the road is the recently restored 99 Juta building which is swiftly becoming an interior design hub, home to the showrooms of leading South African design brands Dokter & Misses and UrbanNative. Also on Juta Street are art galleries Stevenson, Assemblage and Kalashnikovv, all known for their edgy exhibitions that showcase the works of exciting contemporary African artists.
Around the corner on De Korte Street, sneaker junkies should pay a visit to the Puma Select concept store and X-Trend for all the latest limited-edition sneaker ‘drops’, before crossing the road to Reserve Street, another new pedestrianised development initiated by South Point. While on Reserve Street, check out The Artivist, a bar, eatery and gallery launched by DJs Kenzhero and Bradley Williams, with good food and cocktails on the menu that appeals to the neighbourhood's post-student, young professional crowd.
Where De Korte hits the main thoroughfare Jan Smuts turn right and head one block up to visit Wits Art Museum. One of the city’s best art galleries WAM hosts regular temporary exhibitions by major historic and contemporary African artists and the adjoining cafeteria-style cafe Olives & Plates is a great value place for a quick lunch.
Braamfontein’s nightlife is mainly situated along De Beer Street. At the corner of Juta Street and De Beer is Kitchener’s Carvery Bar, one of the neighbourhood’s oldest buildings. Opened in 1898 as the Hansa Bar and Hotel, during the Anglo-Boer War this was a popular drinking hole for British army officers, the building next door, now the Great Dane bar, also dates back to the Victorian era when it was used as a stable. Both venues are among Braam’s busiest late night spots, popular with an alternative, hard-partying student crowd who come to hear DJs spinning everything from house to old school hip hop. On Saturdays the city flocks to the rooftop Neighbourgoods markets that looks over this bustling corner where there’s an extensive choice of food trucks and craft beer stands to choose from as well as live music and vintage clothing retailers.