Johannesburg

Greenside Nightlife

20 Apr 2023

Gleneagles Road in Greenside is one of those spots that light up on the Joburg map when the sun goes down. It's a hit with a youthful crowd, from students to those who get a kick out of showing off their fancy wheels. Popular on Friday and Saturday nights, Friday is usually more casual, while on Saturdays you'll see people dressed up to go out and play. Smoking shisha is super popular on this street and just about every bar and restaurant encourages the habit. There's a wide variety of bars and restaurants and an easy walk from bar to bar with everything arrayed across one side of Gleneagles Road. Parking here is not worth the fight so make sure to get dropped off.

Whether you're looking for a low-key after-work drinks spot or the main location of a wild night out, the five hotspots we've picked out will make sure your evenings are anything but dull. If it's food you are after, check out Tei Avon for killer shawarmas and Bar One milkshakes, and Scrooge for pizza. For late night owls, Andiccio 24 is a hotspot. Check our Greenside neighbourhood guide for other places to visit. 

Altar Bar

 
Altar Bar's super cool second level. Photo Altar Bar. 


Escape the mundane at Altar Bar, where every night is a celebration. As you step through the doors, you are greeted by a blend of pulsating beats and eye-catching signage in blue and pink neon. Patrons can't help but be drawn in from the street by the bar's stylish interior design. The colour scheme and décor are a mix of arty and urban, with a touch of tropical. On the menu is easy dining that includes pizza, Coca-Cola BBQ lamb ribs, nachos and an absolutely delicious beer-battered fish and chips. The crowd here are typically students and young adults from the north of Joburg and surrounding areas, stylishly kitted out with minimal fuss. The second level gets quite full on weekends and the intimate space means there isn't much room to dance or sit unless you've booked a table (the music is mostly amapiano and house). Popping into Altar Bar for a shot and dipping out to nearby establishments isn't uncommon. Altar Bar is also a good spot to visit by day to catch up with friends or usher in the night before your next location. 

The Smoke Shop

The ultimate smoker's shop, The Smoke Shop.
 

Don't be misled by the unassuming exterior of "The Smoke Shop." From hubbly and hookah flavours to vapes and e-cigarettes, and even marijuana related products, if you are keen to inhale you'll find everything you need here. What's even more impressive is that the shop doesn't just cater to smokers. If you're in the mood for a coffee, you can grab one from their coffee bar, G Spot Coffee. The store is quite small so hanging out there on a busy weekend night isn't advised, if you're looking to hang out and smoke with friends with food in the mix, you can rent a hub here before heading through their backdoor shop entrance to Best Friends Street Bar.  

Best Friends Street Bar 

 
Good times with friends at Best Friend Street Bar. Photo Best Friend Street Bar. 

Formerly occupied by Blondie, Best Friend Street Bar may never fully replace it but is welcomed nevertheless with open and hungry arms. Much of the décor from what was previously Blondie remains unchanged – save for the logos and cups. The picnic-style tables and yellow canopy prevail! This spot may be located in a parking lot but in its odd setting, there is beauty and excitement that has young and streetwear-clad Joburgers slipping under the boomed entrance to explore what is on offer. The street food menu includes pizza slices, deep-fried oysters, saucy prego rolls and beignets for a sweet treat after but the shining light is the Paloma – no trip to Best Friend is complete without it. The establishment’s only outdoor seating offers a different vibe from the rest of the street’s hotspots but is ultimately casual and comfortable. It's the perfect setting to enjoy a variety of music or even connect to their speaker and let everyone enjoy what your music library has to offer.
 

The Last Alpaca
 

The Last Alpaca. Photo Redbull Unlocked. 

Discover The Last Alpaca – a fusion of South American street food flavours that will tantalise your taste buds on Gleneagles Road. This eclectic bar and restaurant captivates its mixed bag of stylish young patrons with its extensive menu, featuring irresistible offerings like the mouth-watering El General burger, nachos and a scrumptious tapas selection of ribs, vegetarian empanadas, egg rolls and chicken wings. The alluring atmosphere and décor is elevated by a chic courtyard with ever-changing colourful and comfortable booths, the perfect setting to enjoy music from Beyoncé and Drake to amapiano and hip-hop.  A late closing time means extra time for another drink (or two). No visit to Greenside is complete without indulging in their playful cocktails like the 'Mango Groove,' 'I Missed My Uber,' and the 'Yellow Brick Road' – each one enticing you to explore the neighbouring bars while always longing to return to The Last Alpaca for another round. 

Topo Gigio 

 
A streetside view of Topo Gigio. Photo Topo Gigio 

Topo Gigio (also called Topo's) is an iconic Italian restaurant, well-known for its "fancy at the bottom, party at the top" ambience, friendly service, and half-price jug specials. The intimate setting downstairs is perfect for a date night or a dinner with friends, and the deck – popular with the Topo's younger crowd of UJ and Wits students – is the ideal place to watch the sunset after classes or even catch a game on TV after work. Enjoy their extensive menu of pizzas made in a wood-fired oven as well as other Italian classics like their pasta arrabiata, as well as a variety of seafood and burgers that pair perfectly with any of their fantastic cocktails. The restaurant also has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, making it a welcoming place to eat. Topo's is a must-visit for anyone searching for delicious food and a cosy atmosphere.
 

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