Five new Joburg spaces to visit – May 2024

08 May 2024
Keeping up with Johannesburg's ever-evolving landscape can feel like a delightful challenge, as there are always things closing and opening. Since telling you about the three new spaces we thought you should visit at the end of last year, more has inevitably changed around the city.

But don't worry – we've got you covered and have rounded up some of the cool new places we think you should visit, from a book pop-up and a new jazz bar steeped in history to a hip chill space in Braamfontein, plus new shops to know about at 44 Stanley.

Bridge Books at Breezeblock Café

The Bridge Books pop-up at Brixton's ever-popular Breezeblock Café. Picture: Supplied.

The guys from Bridge Books have been busy. Since moving to Linden last year, their latest foray comes in the form of a pop-up (with permanent potential, we're told) at Breezeblock Café. If you ever find yourself in Brixton, a neighbourhood known for its creativity, check out the exciting pop-up as part of Goethe's LAPA. LAPA is a community-driven and experimental thinking space promoting African regional exchange through pan-African histories, practices, and art. The pop-up adds a literary element to the art residency space and showcases a thoughtfully curated selection of literature from the continent and diaspora – just the way we've come to like Bridge Books. 
Breezeblock Café, 29 Chiswick Street, Brixton.

Mara Lounge

The atmospheric Mara Lounge at the Rand Club. Photo: Mara Lounge via Facebook.
Joburg's newest live performance venue, Mara Lounge is a beautiful new space housed to the side of the Rand Club in what used to be the Rand Women's Club. 

Although it's not branded as only a jazz club, jazz music will fill the space more often than not, but Mara Lounge will be a welcoming venue for all manner of performances. The idea is that it will become a place to host comedy nights, movie screenings, poetry readings, music launches – even plays. Expect open mic nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays and to be entertained by the resident DJ and Mara Lounge Jazz Band which will take to the stage weekly. Having been formed by musicians who used to play at The Orbit in Braamfontein before it closed, it's a welcome new home for jazz performers in the City Centre. 

With lots of history from the 1920s, the space has been refurbished but all the original features have been kept, giving it a level of character you don't find in many places around Joburg.

Pop into the Rand Club for dinner before the show or order from their menu in Mara Lounge. The bar is well-stocked, with a good selection of whiskeys. And if you're in the mood to shop for art, take a look at the pieces adorning the walls. These are all for sale in support of local artists, adding another reason to the list of why you should stop by and enjoy the atmosphere. 
Mara Lounge, 97 Fox Street, Marshalltown.

Crystal Birch at 44 Stanley

A fun and creative hat display at Crystal Birch's new Joburg store. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.

Adding a hat to your outfit can make it look stylish and complete. And now, you can easily find the perfect statement piece at the new, first-of-its-kind in Joburg: the Crystal Birch store that opened at Milpark's 44 Stanley last month.

Capetonian Crystal Birch is renowned for her bold, innovative, and fun hat designs crafted at The Hat Factory millinery in Cape Town. With her new store now open, the first standalone store in Joburg, city slickers can get their hands on a Crystal Birch hat more conveniently than ever before.

Have a hat in need of some TLC? The new store features a 'Hat Hospital' where customers can have their hats repaired, regardless of whether they are Crystal Birch creations. It's slow fashion the way we like it: with consciousness, a touch of class, and all the style.
Crystal Birch, 44 Stanley, Milpark.

The Gift Gallery at 44 Stanley

Take a peak inside The Gift Gallery at 44 Stanley. Photo: Supplied.

At first glance, this may seem like a regular store where you can spend your time browsing to buy gifts but it's so much more than that. Described as a "collective extravaganza", this is a place that celebrates African lifestyle brands, bringing them together under one umbrella where you can shop home and lifestyle products for the ultimate thoughtful gift (gifts to yourself count, too). 

The Gift Gallery was born from the shared passion of sustainable luxury brand What We Cherish and Path Nomad, united by their love for art, design, and unique creations. They both specialise in curating pieces that tell compelling and emotive stories. Path Nomad's gallery acts as a dynamic hub for art exhibitions, pop-ups, and events, while What We Cherish is an online platform that showcases artisans and their luxurious creations from Africa, highlighting the inspirational narratives behind the brands.

This passion infuses the essence of The Gift Gallery, which offers handcrafted items brimming with stories. Situated as a petite museum shop next to Path Nomad at 44 Stanley, The Gift Gallery is a treasure trove filled with handcrafted gems. Think artisanal bags, exquisite jewellery, and homeware sourced locally and across the continent.
Crystal Birch, 44 Stanley, Milpark.

Mamakashaka and Friends

Mamakashaka and Friends' inviting entrance. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.

Tastemaker Nandi Dlepu (the woman behind some of Joburg's most exciting events and pop-ups like Pantone Sundays and the Feel Good Series) moved her creative agency Mamakashaka to 5 De Beer Street in Braamfontein in February 2024. The former home of the iconic Great Dane bar is a now vibrant new spot: Mamakashaka and Friends

A new coat of paint and renovations have made the space her own. and the agency office transforms into a lively social venue after hours and on weekends (hence the "and friends"). Head to Mamakashaka and Friends' Wine Down every Fri from 16:00 to enjoy wine and hip-hop and start the weekend off on a good note. Every Sat from 13:00, Mamakashaka and Friends host a cool afternoon in Braamfontein with cocktails and curated playlists. Every first Sun from 11:00, Mamakashaka and Friends host Bookish, a monthly book event where you can relax outside while catching up on your current or forgotten reads. There are also a few board games to give yourself a break when the plot gets a bit too thick.

The mantra emblazoned on the entrance wall “Where creative friends meet. Where creative friends are made” perfectly encapsulates Mamakashaka and Friends’ essence. Come and see for yourself. 
Mamakashaka and Friends, 5 De Beer Street, Braamfontein.


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