Joburg's Best Hotel Bars

more than a year ago
The Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein
The Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein

Whether you are looking to enjoy classic cocktails by the pool, sip whisky with the jet set, entertain clients in style or join the young and fashionable for craft beers downtown, Johannesburg has the right hotel bar for you. Here's our pick of some of the best.

From the Hyatt's massive courtyard oasis you'd never know you are just metres away from the hustle and bustle of central Rosebank. The noise of the city is completely muffled and instead birds tweet overhead and water trickles into tranquil infinity pools which nestle under romantically-lit palm trees. The service is discreet yet attentive, the chairs soft and roomy and the atmosphere soothing and serene.
What to drink: For cocktails think the classics – martinis, manhattans and mojitos, meanwhile the wine list is excellent.
Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Rd, Rosebank, tel. +27 11 280 1234.

The budget backpacker's bar of choice, this is a great place to meet fellow travellers and like-minded individuals in search of adventure. The name of the bar is inspired by the building's history as a hideout for anti-apartheid leaders. Regular events include gigs by local bands, braais and games nights.
What to drink: The cheapest local beer behind the bar is Black Label, prove how long you've been on the road by calling it like the locals do – Zamalek.
Curiocity Backpackers, 302 Fox St, cnr Auret St, Maboneng, City Centre, tel. +27 11 592 0515.

The bar at this historic hotel in the edgy neighbourhood of Troyeville first opened its doors in 1939. Beloved by rugby fans, on match days at the nearby Ellis Park Stadium (now Emirates Airline Park) the place is packed with fans in their team colours. A menu of tasty Portuguese food is complemented by a range of beers from Mozambique.
What to drink: The Portuguese-Mozambican food pairs perfectly with a Mozambican beer like 2M (pronounced 'dozh-em') or Laurentia.
1403 Albertina Sisulu Rd, Troyeville, tel. +27 11 402 7709.

Adjoining the Once in Joburg ‘flashpackers’ hostel, The Immigrant attracts a fun-loving twenty-something party crowd. The bar is especially lively on weekends when the large two-tiered terrace overlooking Braamfontein’s busy Grove Square, swells with crowds drawn in by the house beats.
What to drink: There’s a decent craft beer selection or order one of the signature citrus-based jam jar cocktails.
90 De Korte St, Braamfontein, tel. +27 61 443 0084.

Join Joburg's rich and beautiful up here on top of the city's most luxurious shopping centre. After a hard-day's designer label shopping and a quick manicure at the beauty salon, this is the bar the local celebs and socialites love to drop by to unwind over champagne. The views across the leafy northern suburbs stretch on for miles and a lounger by the pool is the most coveted location from which to enjoy the sunset.
What to drink: You're drinking with the A-list, champagne is the way darling.
Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel, 1st Rd, Hyde Park, tel. +27 11 341 8080.

Maybe it's the abundant palms and succulents, or perhaps it's the whir of the ceiling fans and the fresh breeze wafting in through the wide open windows, but there's something almost tropical about the atmosphere. Take your place at the counter by the window to watch Braamfontein's trendy crowd wonder by and look out for the live music nights hosted in the basement bar room downstairs.
What to drink: When hanging out with hipsters what else to drink but craft beers. The bar has local brews Soweto Gold and Aces lager on tap.
Bannister Hotel, 9 De Beer St, Braamfontein, tel. +27 11 403 6888.

Popular with local politicos and business executives, the air hums with the buzz of deals being made and successes being toasted. Inside, the library-like bar room is dark and handsome with large leather Chesterfields, moody lighting and a deep red pool table, whilst the wide covered terrace nods to old colonial elegance with its Persian rugs, heavy drapes and old-fashioned ceiling fans.
What to drink: There's no better way to toast to your own success than with a fine malt whisky or a cognac.
African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, 1 Melrose Square, Melrose Arch, tel. +27 11 214 6666.

Wave goodbye to the city before you hop on the Gautrain to the airport from this slick roof terrace opposite the Sandton station. The unusual corner view reveals all facets of Africa's richest square mile in a glance – brash skyscrapers and faux Tuscan towers pepper the skyline while below Mercedes, mini-buses, tuk tuks and construction trucks trundle on by. Ease yourself into the cocoon like chairs and dip your feet in the pool as you watch the sun set over this fast and flash corner of South Africa.
What to drink: The perfect place for classic sundowners, order your G&T pink or with an apple twist.
Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Cnr Rivonia Rd and West St, Sandton Central, tel. +27 11 286 1000.


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