Mara Lounge

Mara Lounge is the moody, atmospheric kind of place you can sink into on a Friday or Saturday evenning over drinks with friends or simply unwind in after a long day at work on a Wednesday or Thursday night. 

A live performance venue hosted in a room off the side of the Rand Club that used to be home to the Rand Women's Club in the early 1900s, Mara Lounge is the brainchild of Phil Thurston, chairperson of the Rand Club, who decided to turn what was being used as a storage room into somewhere the community can gather. 

"I want people to use this space. It was disused for 25 years," says Thurston. "It's a great open space for people to come and use and be free." It's a sentiment that has turned what it used to be on its head: instead of playing into historical exclusionary norms, Mara Lounge is a place you can come by yourself or a group of friends; you can have a roaring dinner or simply order a drink and enjoy the performance on the night. It's yours to enjoy as you please. 

Although it's not being branded as only a jazz club, jazz music will fill the space more often than not, but Mara Lounge will be a welcoming venue to all manner of performance. The idea is that it will become a place that will host comedy nights, movie screenings, poetry readings, music launches – even plays.  Expect open mic nights on Wednesdsdays and Thursdays and be entertained by the resident DJ and Mara Lounge Jazz Band which will take to the stage weekly. Having been formed by musicians who used to play at The Orbit in Braamfontein before it closed, it's a welcome new home for jazz performers in the City Centre. 

Keep an eye out for ticketed events – there will be a dazzling roster or musicians taking to the stage weekly – or pull through just for fun. Thurston is conscious of making the venue accessible to the public so you're bound to find something to entertain, even if you're not looking to send money as not all events will be ticketed. "If you want to come and sit and just listen to jazz then that’s fine. You don’t even have to buy something from the bar."

With lots of history from the 1920s, the space has been refurbished but all the original features have been kept, adding to a certain character you don't find in many places around Joburg.

Pop into the Rand Club for dinner before the show or order directly from Mara Lounge. The bar is well-stocked, with a good selection of whiskeys. And if you're in the mood to shop art, take a look at the pieces adorning the walls. These are all for sale in support of local artists, adding just another reason to the list of why you should stop by and enjoy the atmosphere. 

The offical launch takes place on Sat, May 11 with the lovely Hlengiwe Pearl and Mara Lougne Jazz Band. 


Social Links:


Credit Cards
Live Music
Guarded parking
City centre location



Closed Mon, Tue, Sun.
Open Wednesday to Saturday from 14:00 until late.

Price/Additional Info

Some events are free to attend; others are ticketed


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