On the western edge of historic Joburg’s city centre, in Ferreirasdorp, you’ll find 1 Fox Precinct, a collection of restored warehouses housing an exciting mix of attractions, among them a craft brewery, restaurant, market, beer garden, events space, artist studios and a live music venue.The newly named 1 Fox Precinct’s warehouses are thought to have been constructed in the early 1890s, when they were used for manufacturing mining equipment for the nearby gold reef, which then stretched along the southern edge of the city centre. You can still glimpse this industrial heritage in fading signs, wonderfully old-fashioned copper-coloured lamps, immense timber frames and corrugated-iron cladding. Inside this cleverly reconfigured industrial space there's plenty to keep you occupied day or night, especially if you are a fan of fine foods and tasty craft beers.
MAD GIANT AND URBANOLOGI
Undoubtedly the most striking space is the ‘shed’ that houses Mad Giant craft brewery and Urbanologi restaurant. Top designer Haldane Martin used a clever mix of materials to meld a sense of industrial history with colourful playfulness. The light fittings and tables in the beer garden outside resemble oversized Meccano sets, while, at the centre of the brewery, is a sculpted concrete bar resembling a giant bottle-top. Behind it, an immense metal cutout of a yeti-like Mad Giant lopes in front of the shiny metal tanks where the craft beer is brewed. It’s a fun design statement, but one that also speaks to the city of gold’s enduring power to make its arrivants dream big.
The menu at chef Angelo Scirocco's Urbanologi restaurant focuses on small plates, rich in flavour and ideal for sharing, fusing Asian-inspired ingredients and Japanese street-food styles. Mad Giant craft brewery brings together science and an immense love of beer – the brand’s co-founder, Eben Uys, is a 30-something chemical engineer whose thorough understanding of froth has made its way into scientific journals.
Beer is at the heart of this high-concept yet unpretentious space, and you’ll be surrounded by a mixed crowd attracted by the opportunity to socialise in the city, with great-tasting beers and an exciting selection of regularly changing seasonal brews. There's also a bottle shop where you can pick up Mad Giant brews, fun T-shirts, caps and a range of super custom-made glassware that makes for great souvenirs, as well as a specially dedicated beer tasting bar area and a sunny beer garden that is the perfect place to spend the afternoon.
1 FOX MARKET SHED
Next door to Mad Giant you’ll find 1 Fox Market Shed (open Fri– Sun), a street food-style market with vendors serving wood-fired pizzas, Greek seafood, decadent cakes and plenty more besides. Enjoy coffee at Copper Café beside a feature wall plastered in 10 cent coins, and, further along, shop for local arts, fashion and jewellery. The market hosts a special night market on the last Friday of every month and live music is also a feature of the regular weekend market events.
THE GOOD LUCK BAR AND FOX JUNCTION
In the neighbouring courtyard is The Good Luck Bar. Behind a pair of hulking triple-volume doors bearing decades-old warnings against the dangers of dynamite awaits this spacious live music venue that hosts regular gigs, festivals, club nights and vinyl fairs promoting everything from Afrobeat to heavy metal. Next door to The Good Luck Bar is Fox Junction, an expansive venue for hire that is an ideal space for corporate events, parties and weddings.
There is a car park opposite the entrance on Alexander St. The Main Street Mining District (one of the stops on the open-top City Sightseeing bus route) is a five-minute walk away via Fox St, a route which takes you past the Chancellor House open-air museum (once the location of Mandela & Tambo Attorneys offices in the 1950s) and Marco Cianfanelli's marvellous sculpture of a young Nelson Mandela shadow boxing, inspired by a photograph of Mandela taken in the 1950s on a nearby rooftop.
Entrances at 1 Fox St and 1 Main St, Ferreirasdorp, City Centre.