Jozi’s bustling nightlife has so much by way of eclectic and vibey restaurants, pubs, and clubs that making a choice is difficult.
We make it easy for you – Here is our guide on Where to drink in Jozi – top 15 bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants …
Chalkboard Collaboration Café
This spot in the Maboneng Precinct is all about chalk – the walls are painted with chalkboard paint, as are the tabletops, and you can do as you please whilst on the premises, as long as it’s with chalk. They have a good selection of craft beers that include Robsons, Darling, Nottingham Road and others. Their pizzas aren’t half bad either.
Oakes Brew House, Modderfontein
An all-girl brew house that not only serves up delicious, nutritious artisan beer and wholesome meals that include wood-fired oven food, but it also caters for parents with children (kiddies’ play area). Add the old oak trees in the backyard and this is one beer garden you can’t miss out on.
Stanley Beer Yard
If beer and offbeat décor are your thing then this Milpark drinking hole is right up your street. They stock a full range of craft beers, which is their main draw card (they serve wine too), with simple yet tasty meals that do a good job of pairing with the beer – prego and boerie rolls, German sausages with mustard…
The Griffin, Illovo
This craft beer gastropub is a meet, eat and drink spot that more than hits the mark with locals, who head here to sample one of the seven craft beers, cider on tap, and a fine list of wine from home and abroad. Their food comes a close second with hearty meals and platters to accompany the flow of beer. Their Sunday roast has a dedicated following.
The Radium Beer Hall
The oldest surviving bar and grill in Jozi, this Orange Grove based beer hall might have begun as a tea room and underground shebeen but today you can quite safely drink a pint or two at the old bar (rescued from the Ferreirastown Hotel demolition) whilst listening to the resident 18-piece jazz band. The menu is ‘a bit of everything’.
The Wolf Pack
If craft beers and gourmet burgers are your thing (at least 6 craft beers on tap and more besides), then this vibey spot on 4th Avenue, Parkhurst is your kind of place. Not only do the burgers taste good, but they look good too. And if you don’t want the burger, then the sweet potato chips with hummus or tempura baby marrow sticks will easily hit the spot.
Great Dane, Newtown
The floor is awash in 5c coins (the kind that are no longer in circulation), it’s right next door to Kitchener’s (so great for bar hopping), and opposite the Neighbourgoods Market, there are hot dogs on the menu, and a password system so that the place doesn’t get too full (friend them on FB). But it’s also a good old-fashioned bar.
Library Bar, Melrose Arch Hotel
As its name suggests, this upmarket bar is a play on the idea of a gentleman’s library (complete with shelves of old books, deep leather couches, pool table, fireplace and mahogany panelled walls) that serves up a wonderful selection of wines, whisky and cognac. The complimentary snacks (biltong and olives) are a delicious addendum.
Jo’anna Melt Bar, Melville
Everything that comes out of the kitchen has melted cheese on it. Or at least that is the major thrust of this rather hip and busy spot on Melville’s 7th Street. The emphasis is not on wine alone (there are craft beers too) but the atmosphere is more sophisticated than your average pub or singles cocktail haunt, and the vibe and the food so unique, you’ll be back for more.
Aruba Lounge, North Riding
This happening club and its six DJs, excellent sushi menu and a list of cocktails to keep you going throughout the evening combines two bars, dance floors, outside terraces with comfortable seating and on-hand waiters. It’s a great cocktail venue for the young and single crowd.
Billy the BUMS, Fourways
Everyone seems to have a good time here. People rave about the wonderful coffee, tea and menu – and that’s over and above the extensive list of classic and exotic cocktails that draws the crowds over weekends. Billy the BUMS in Fourways plays sing-along music and hosts the occasional DJ. Dress well. BUMS, if you’re ever asked, stands for Basic Up Market Socialite.
Buddha Ta, Fourways
This huge Asian-inspired cocktail lounge for ‘sophisticated party animals’, has four bars, lounge areas, restaurant seating and mingling areas put together with a play on the idea of the venue having ‘spirit’. Upstairs is a club. It’s an all-in-one venue for those who want to sip their cocktails, eat and dance. There is a dress code.
The Office Cocktail and Tapas Bar, Greenside
With half price cocktails every Sunday between 2pm and 6.30pm it is no surprise to hear that this successor to The Loft and The Attic is just as popular. Its white leather couches, low lights, on-the-ball bartenders, a soundtrack that keeps most people happy, and live DJs on a Sunday, make this smoking lounge one of the city’s hot spots (expect crowds on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights). The food too is good and fairly priced.
Katzy’s at the Grillhouse, Firs
The Grillhouse (Katzy’s Jazz Club) combines fine whisky, live music and cigars. They also have bands performing five nights of the week, an excellent wine list and cocktails. But it is the 100 different whiskeys, Cognacs and Bourbons, the wraparound garden and the plush black leather loungers that do it for most people.
The Island Bar, Tsogo Sun Hyde Park
Great space for enjoying the Highveld sunset and views out over Sandton (the views are voted one of the best in the city), this rooftop bar spills out onto the pool deck and serves up a great selection of cocktails. You can even dip in the pool.
With thanks to Tarryn Gargan, who is young, hip and lives in Jo’burg!
Don’t Drink and Drive! Book into a trendy hotel in Johannesburg and make a night of it!
Photo: The Peech Hotel – one of Johoannesburg’s trendiest hotels