Founded in 2014, Jozi Pub Crawl has until recently focused its attentions on Joburg pub crawls for bachelors and bachelorette parties, birthdays and corporate functions. In 2019 the company is expanding, adding a weekly programme of themed tours that anybody can book to join.
We joined the new gin-themed Inner-City Pub Crawl. The tour started with an informative and engaging presentation and tasting at Joburg’s first inner-city craft spirits distillery, the Time Anchor Distillery, tucked away in a lush courtyard in Maboneng.
Chief Distiller Shanna-Rae Wilby guided us through a sampling of three gins from her artisanal Mirari range, with corresponding garnishes to enhance their flavour profile, including the Instagram-friendly Blue Orient Spiced Gin that changes colours chameleon-style with the addition of tonic. After sampling Time Anchor’s limited-edition, gold-flaked gin in a goblet-sized G&T, we were whisked away by our friendly chaperone Lerato to the next stop.
At stop number two, the Ginologist’s glistening new distillery and the adjoining The Little Fox cockatil bar in the 1 Fox Precinct, our host ordered a round of pizzas for the group, while we sampled two more gin-based cocktails: one heroing the Ginologist’s premium floral gin, with fresh orange slices and sage leaves as garnish; and one enigmatically called the White Rabbit Fizz, whose ingredients include White Rabbit sweets.
From here it was time to make our way north to the final stop in Parkhurst, a serious cheat that may disappoint some considering the tour advertises itself as an 'inner-city' adventure. Our final destination was the ever-changing Blank Bar on 4th Avenue, a pop-up style space where different artisanal spirits are featured on a rotating basis. Fitting the day's theme this month's edition of Blank Bar was all about gin, and we ended the tour with our choice of cocktail from the latest menu, each featuring a different local South African craft gin label as its base. While Jozi Pub Crawl provides optional transport back to the starting point of the tour, there's no reason not to stay on and enjoy more drinks with your new gin-drinking friends.
Jozi Pub Crawl’s weekly events are posted on their Facebook page every Tuesday. A full calendar and online booking service goes live in March 2019. Tours cost from R380–R550 per person, including all food, drinks and transportation.
*Johannesburg In Your Pocket joined the Jozi Pub Crawl by invitation.