Joburg Nightlife – Joburg's Best Cocktail Bars

12 May 2017

While beer and wine are always fine, nothing touches the spot quite like a well-made cocktail. Here’s our guide to where to find some of Joburg’s best drinks.

Dress to impress and join the sophisticated set at this sexy cocktail lounge, housed in what is by day a private members’ club. The meticulously constructed menu is inspired by historical references as well as the contemporary artworks on display and each month a new cocktail is launched, using a classic recipe as a base and given a twist. The views are fabulous, and the bespoke furniture and interiors ooze contemporary luxury.
What to drink: The cocktail of the month is always something special. Previous favourites have included the Corpse Reviver, a gin-based cocktail first named in 1889, that is equal parts Cointreau, Caperitif (a classy South African fortified wine), Absinthe and orange zest for flavour.

Part of Rosebank’s smart Park Corner development, where you’ll also find a barbershop-bar, pizza joint, contemporary café and restaurant. The menu offers a build your own gin and tonic option with a wide choice of local and international craft gins (including British favourites Sipsmith and The Botanist) served with your choice of craft tonic and garnish. On the short but perfectly executed cocktail menu you'll find unusual creations such as the Smokey Bear (tequila, rum, pineapple, hickory smoke, peach and pine tea). There’s also a speakeasy-style cocktail bar Sin & Taxes hidden inside the back of the neighbouring pizza restaurant, but telling you how to get inside it would only spoil the fun.
What to drink: Among the most memorable drinks is the zesty signature 'Collection's Negroni', made with vermouth, Campari and Caperitif.

Rum doesn’t feature on the brief eatery menu, which is all about West Indian favourites like jerk chicken, fish cakes and crab curry, but it certainly does feature on the equally slim cocktail list. Be transported to a Caribbean island in this kitsch beach bar-themed joint while sipping on Cuba libres, daiquiris or piña colada. More a restaurant than a bar, bookings are recommended.
What to drink: For instagram purposes the piña colada served inside an actual pineapple is a winner. Regulars guests will tell you the strawberry daiquiri is the best and if you're eating, the Miami Vice shooter is the perfect digestif.

At this smart-casual bar and restaurant inside a bookstore, each cocktail is inspired by a classic novel such as The Catcher in the Rye (Bulleit Bourbon, mint, apple and cinnamon) and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. The brass-and-tile bar comes with books scattered across it for your reading pleasure and a view of the urban forest of the northern suburbs.
What to drink: There are two ways to choose, according to your favourite spirits or your favourite authors. New creations continue to be added to the menu but the long and summery The Secret Garden (Tanqueray Ten, rose, chamomile and lemon) remains a staple.

With over 40 different vodka brands this classy little Soviet-themed bar in Maboneng has probably the best vodka selection to be found this side of Russia. Lenin's stocks vodkas from around the world including a handcrafted South African variety, Polish, Swedish, French, American and, of course, Russian brands. Each week 10 brands are selected for the freezer, ensuring there's a perfectly prepared choice of vodka shots for the purists.
What to drink: On the house cocktail list we particularly like the Vlad (crème de cassis with some Stoli Razberi) and the Caipiroska (vodka, fresh limes, sour mix and Sprite).

A studenty Melville institution that’s been around for years serving literally dozens of cocktail choices. With a 2-4-1 happy hour every day from 12:00–19:00, there’s also ample time to try them. There's plenty of fun to be had if you are the type who chooses drinks by their names with playful cocktail puns like the Snoop Dogg (gin, a touch of kiwi and tonic or 'juice') and the mysterious 'Voodoo Vodka'.
What to drink: The bestseller is the potent Excitabull (vodka, berries, Red Bull and a hint of Stroh). For something a little easier going the fruity June Bug is another bestseller.

Associated Venues

EB Social Kitchen and Bar

 Hyde Park Corner, cnr Jan Smuts Ave and William Nicol Dr, Hyde Park


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