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44 Stanley is a combination of restaurants, local stores and one of Johannesburg's most popular bars, Stanley Beer Yard | Courtesy of Stanley Beer Yard
44 Stanley is a combination of restaurants, local stores and one of Johannesburg's most popular bars, Stanley Beer Yard | Courtesy of Stanley Beer Yard

10 of Johannesburg's Best Bars

Picture of Carina Claassens
Updated: 1 June 2017
Johannesburg has no shortage of bars and the variety includes hipster hangouts, rooftop venues perfect for sundowners, high-end wine bars and much more. Here’s our round-up of ten of the best.

Crafter’s Rooftop Bar

Crafter’s Rooftop Bar is situated at The Factory on Grant in Norwood, and is a trendy space that promotes local artists, musicians and designers. As such, the venue is buzzing with creativity and is one of the best rooftop bars in Johannesburg to enjoy the sunset and delicious craft drinks.

72 Grant Avenue, Norwood, +27 82 876 2372


The Factory on Grant aims to be an alternative to large shopping malls, where people can comfortably get together | Courtesy of Factory on Grant


Giles, situated in Craighall Park, is a popular watering hole for after-work drinks and the bar has a restaurant attached, so there’s always the option of having dinner if the alcohol starts flowing too freely. The outside deck area is packed with young professionals on most afternoons so get there early.

9 Grafton Ave, Craighall Park, +27 11 442 4056


Giles opened in 1994 and generally attracts an upmarket clientele | Courtesy of Giles

Jo’Anna Melt Bar

Jo’Anna Melt Bar in Melville has an authentic feel to it as it’s a bar where you can simply sit down and have a drink while listening to great music. The long parquet bar in the middle of the space eventually attracts all the patrons to it and ultimately strangers and friends all end up sitting together. Also, every food item on the menu has melted cheese on it, what more could you ask for?

7 7th St, Melville, +27 72 733 5966

Jo'Anna Melt Bar

The bar is a great place to meet new people | Courtesy of Jo’Anna Melt Bar


This old-school bar opened in 1906 and is the hub of Johannesburg’s local music scene. Kitcheners prides themselves on having the most progressive music policy in the country and the best DJs (local and international) support them. The atmosphere inside is super relaxed, and is ideal for enjoying an exciting night out in the city’s CBD.

71 Juta St, Braamfontein, +27 11 403 0166


Every Tuesday the bar hosts a comedy evening | ©Musa N. Nxumalo

Sir James van der Merwe

This is the place to be on Wednesday evening, but be sure to get there early as it gets busy fast. Set in Kramerville in an industrial style building, the bar is decorated with warm, eclectic pieces and African accessories – it even has a billiard table. Remember, Sir James VDM is only open on Wednesday evenings from 4pm, and it’s wise to take the next day off work.

6 Desmond St, Kramerville, +27 72 607 4235

Sir James

Sir James VDM has an old time charm to it with modern touches added in | Courtesy of Sir James VDM

Skye Bar

A bit more upmarket than your average bar, the panoramic view is what attracts patrons to this venue on the ninth floor of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Sandton. This is the ideal spot for watching the sunset while sipping on tasty cocktails.

123 Rivonia Rd, Sandown, +27 11 282 0000

Skye Bar

Try the Peanut Butter Cup – a combination of kahlua, amaretto, bailey’s and milk | Courtesy of Skye Bar

Stanley Beer Yard

Stanley Beer Yard, situated at the eclectic 44 Stanley, is one of the most popular bars in Johannesburg – thanks to its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The bar boasts a large variety of craft and local beers, wines and more. The bar also often hosts music events, from vinyl evenings on Thursdays and Fridays and live music on Saturdays.

44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf, +27 11 482 5791

Stanley Beer Yard

Spend the day relaxing in the courtyard at Stanley Beer Yard | ©Thys Dullaart

The Landmark

The Landmark is a richly decorated bar drawing inspiration from Johannesburg’s inspiring landmarks, like the Public Library and the Rand Club. Their cocktail menu is impressive with drinks created around, once again, Johannesburg’s great landmarks. We especially like the JAG (Johannesburg Art Gallery) cocktail made with rum, Creme de Cacao, basil, fresh lime juice and fresh pineapple juice.

Bryanston Shopping Centre, William Nicol Dr & Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, +27 11 463 5081

The Landmark

The Landmark has a small beer list that is rotated every three months | Courtesy of The Landmark

The Living Room

Another rooftop favourite set in the trendy Maboneng neighbourhood. The Living Room is decorated using plenty of greenery; which is in turn juxtaposed against the urban backdrop, creating an interesting setting ideal for spending lazy Sunday afternoons and taking in the city’s amazing skyline.

20 Kruger St, City and Suburban, +27 84 529 9006

Mad Giant

Think an urban setting, street food and a local brewery. This bar and brewery, in Ferreirasdorp, serves a selection of craft beers and just about any other alcoholic beverage you can think of. The Mad Giant beer garden also serves tasty bar food and the venue is home to the Urbanologi restaurant, so if the afternoon turns into evening, pop over the dinner.

1 Fox St, Ferreirasdorp, +27 11 492 0901


Urbanologi is inside the Mad Giant brewery and dishes are based around Asian street food | Courtesy of Mad Giant Brewery