This neighbourhood is the city’s student heartland. If you’re looking for Joburg’s youthful and edgy party central you’ll find it here in Braamfontein (or Braam as the youngsters call it). Filled with students, fixie bike hipsters cyclists, bearded baristas, street fashion rebels and young creative types, Braam’s wild nightlife is a world away from the slower pace of the northern suburbs and if you want to stay out past midnight this is the place to do it.
Most of the nightlife action is centred on the corner of Juta and De Beer Streets, and in and around The Grove piazza on the corner of Melle and Juta Streets. Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest. Also keep your eye out for parties and concerts at the rooftop venue Randlords, where the 22nd floor view of the city is unparalleled.
CORNER JUTA & DE BEER STREETSThe corner of Juta Street and De Beer Street is Braamfontein’s hipster hub. Easily identified by the huge purple portrait of Nelson Mandela painted by American street artist Shepard Fairey (who also designed the iconic Obama Hope posters) that looks over the corner, this is the ideal place to start your Braamfontein bar crawl. On Saturdays the party starts early at the rooftop Neighbourgoods Market which swells with a fashionable urban crowd who come to enjoy the gourmet street food stalls, craft beers and live music. Downstairs is the always buzzing Smokehouse & Grill which serves some of the best burgers around.
On the opposite side of the street three bustling bars are all lined up next to each other. Kitcheners is one of the oldest pubs in Joburg. While the building retains all of its most beautiful period features inside youth culture rules. For a quiet drink arrive in the afternoon. By 19:00 the place is usually packed with students and the young at heart who come to enjoy the DJ sets and occasional live music performances, and by 21:00 there’s already a queue out the door. Next door is Great Dane, another historic building that attracts a similar crowd. Inside the dark and packed main bar area DJs spin everything from 90s house to 80s power ballads, while in the equally jammed rear courtyard you can take a breather. The next building along is The Bannister Hotel with a bright and airy bar that looks out onto the street and occasionally hosts live music events. From here it’s a short walk around the corner to Joburg’s best jazz club The Orbit.