MELVILLEMelville's famous party strip 7th Street will be quieter than usual with Joburg's students heading home for the holidays, although many of the resident writers, artists, musicians, academics and journalists who make this neighbourhood special - will still be around. An abundance of guesthouses popular with foreign tourists also mean that Melville tends to retain plenty of foot traffic all year round. For lunch or dinner with a fun, easy-going and bohemian mix of locals and visitors head to Lucky Bean (closed only on 24.12, 25.12 and 01.01) and enjoy their reliably good take on quintessentially South African dishes like bobotie and melk tart..
ROSEBANK AND MELROSEDuring the festive season Rosebank is always busy and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. In the Rosebank shopping precinct get your steak fix at The Grillhouse in The Firs (also open in Sandton) or find innovative contemporary dining at the Hyatt Regency's elegant OneNineOne restaurant (make sure to come down to enjoy the superb farmer's market style breakfast too).
In the landmark Keyes Art Mile development treat yourself to dinner at celebrity chef David Higgs' rooftop restaurant Marble or a cocktail at the glamorous Mix Cocktail Bar (closed Dec 22-28). Meanwhile nearby Bolton Corner is a nightlife hotspot with the chic cafe-bar Bolton Road Collection staying open during the holidays as well as the Asian fusion restaurant next door Saigon Suzy, where karaoke is also on the menu (thankfully the singing is restricted to the private karaoke rooms upstairs).
After admiring the impressive Christmas lights display at Melrose Arch, visit one of the popular terrace restaurants on the Melrose Piazza, always busy at this time of year, such as Tashas or Piza e Vino.
SANDTON AND HYDE PARKSandton's Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City shopping centres are a hive of activity no matter the time of year and you can always find somewhere good to eat here. Top picks on Nelson Mandela Square include Tashas for elegant bistro cuisine and The Big Mouth for seafood and sushi. Away from the square head down Maude Street and try the steaks at the spectacularly revamped Bull Run, tuck into what might be Joburg's best burger at Ribs & Burgers or pay a visit to star chef David Higg's uber-slick Italian restaurant and bar Saint.
In Hyde Park Corner fans of Chinese cuisine should pay a visit to Emma Chen's excellent Mandarin-style restaurant Red Chamber and for casual-contemporary cuisine, top notch cocktails, a super wine list and wonderful views over the suburbs there's the EB Social Kitchen and Bar.
CITY CENTRE AND BRAAMFONTEINIn Braamfontein the nightlife never stops (except for nursing your hangover on Christmas and New Year's Days) and many of Braam's favourite nightlife hotspots are open through the festive season including Kitchener's, The Bannister Hotel and The Immigrant.
Across Nelson Mandela Bridge, in the inner city flamboyant Congolese-born artist and fashion designer Papy Nakuw’s Kafe Noir is an oasis in the city serving delicious Congolese-style grilled fish and cheap beers, while in nearby treat yourself to lunch in Ferreirasdorp at Urbanologi and sample the craft beers from the Mad Giant brewery or craft gins at The Little Fox gin bar in the ginologist distillery in the 1 Fox Precinct.
In Maboneng, at downtown Joburg's favourite backpackers Curiocity Design Hostels grab a beer at the quirky Hide Out , for lunch try the shisa nyama at the Sha'p! Braai stand or a Greek souvlaki from Soul Souvlaki. The rooftop bar Living Room is a popular sundowner destination.