Hidden Joburg: Underground nightlife

20 Jul 2023
There's no shortage of nightlife activities in Joburg and if you are looking to go beyond the obvious, you'll be rewarded, as for the most part Joburg is not an obvious city. It's a place where novel attractions are found in often unlikely places. So this is a guide for the more adventurous spirits, those who are unafraid to explore.

If you find yourself in need of exciting, hidden (or rather unsuspecting-looking) gems in Joburg's nightlife scene, look no further. We've put together a list of clubs, events and spaces that will add some colour to any night out. 


Night out in the city at AGOG. Photo: Maboneng Precinct. 

Previously an abandoned factory, and then a swanky club and rooftop bar, AGOG in the back streets of Maboneng is now a warehouse venue space with an energetic following and an exciting array of underground pop-up events.

Curated Makers Market at Constitution Hill 

Fashion and fun every first Friday. Photo: Curated Makers Market via Instagram. 

Curated Makers Market is a monthly first Friday market at Constitution Hill, held in the former prison complex that was one of the bleakest sites in Joburg's apartheid history. Each Friday the space – still bearing its history in its architecture and signage, comes alive to showcase Joburg's talented independent artisans, designer-makers and small businesses.


Just a regular night at Nostra in Bryanston. Photo: Nostra via Instagram.

If you've ever wondered where Joburg's young, fashionable and social media socialites go when the regular hotspots seem empty, you'll no doubt find them at Nostra. This relatively new (as of 2021) club is located in (or rather, under) the Posthouse Link Centre in Bryanston, where you'll also find the popular restaurant, Gemelli. Its where you go to show off that sparkly outfit and to burn a pretty sizeable hole in your bank account: you'll face this fact while you stand in line outside the club where the flashiest cars in Joburg congregate in the same parking lot.

TOYTOY at And Club

Gritty TOYTOY at And Club in Newtown. Photo: TOYTOY via Instagram. 

Through a nondescript doorway in Newtown is one of the country’s leading house, techno and drum and bass clubs and event spaces. TOYTOY is a weekly event at And Club that's something for the techno and EDM lovers of the city. This unique event (in a unique space) gives you a raw nightlife experience reminiscent of a '90s rage. There's a superb sound system, a great courtyard chill space and inside the décor is minimalist to the extreme, with moody lighting, a concrete bar and a large, open dance floor where you can dance the night away (literally – the windows are slightly blacked out so it's quite easy to lose track of time). If you had hoped to capture the night on your phone, think again as video recording and photography is prohibited and to manage your urges, security guards will place stickers over your camera upon entry. During lockdown this place gained immense notoriety – rumour had it the devoted clubbers here would arrive and party from curfew start to end, slinking back to the suburbs once it was legal. 

Untitled Basement

A guaranteed good time. Photo: Untitled Basement via Facebook.

Located below eatery and gallery The Artivist in Braamfontein is Untitled Basement, what we think of as the coolest underground event space. Launched by DJ Kenzhero and Bradley Williams, Untitled Basement is the surprise you have been looking for on Reserve Street. There's a regular schedule of exciting events, so make sure to follow them on social media. Find the next event here.


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