Vibrant Spots For a Great Night Out in Johannesburg

Living Room in Maboneng is a rooftop venue that often hosts exciting events
Living Room in Maboneng is a rooftop venue that often hosts exciting events | Courtesy of Living Room

A night out in Johannesburg promises tons of excitement. Whether you’re after live music, laid-back drinks, or a wild party, the City of Gold has much on offer.
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Beefcakes in Illovo is the crème de la crème of girl’s nights out and bachelorette parties. The 1950s diner-style setting has it all, golden oldies blasting over the speakers, attentive waiters who ensure your glass is never empty and amazing interactive entertainment. Bookings have to be made as seats sell out fast, and cover charge includes delicious hamburgers as well as a drag show.

Chaf Pozi

Situated in Soweto, this authentic restaurant slash bar is one of the most popular among locals. Chaf Pozi was established in the large township to create a space where Jo’burgers can enjoy home-grown music, Shiza Nyama (a local style of barbecuing), and cold beer. This is one of the best spots to really get to grips with the vibrant culture reflected in Soweto and thanks to the communal seating arrangement you’ll definitely be making some new friends.

Great Dane

When visiting Great Dane in Braamfontein, chances are you’d want to stay longer than initially intended. This is probably due to the lively atmosphere this small bar radiates, whether you’re seated inside chowing down on a hotdog or soaking up the sunshine in the courtyard. This inner city gem gets packed over weekends as they often host DJs, so it’s best to get there early to ensure you get in.

Pata Pata

Pata Pata in Maboneng is the place to go if you’re after tasty, traditional dishes. The South African tripe dish, mogodo, is a favorite but for those who’d rather opt for a simpler meal, there are burgers and more on offer. As night starts creeping in, the venue’s live jazz begins to fill the street, enticing curious passers-by to take a seat and have a drink. Pata Pata, named after the famous “Miriam Makeba” song, emits a sense of nostalgia as patrons listen to local music while enjoying good food and company.

Rockets Bryanston

This recently opened, four-story establishment in Bryanston might be the new kid on the block but it’s already undoubtedly popular. The franchise, with another branch in Parkhurst and an express restaurant in Sandton, is known for its amazing food and bustling vibe. Then came Rockets Bryanston, which changed the game completely—it includes a rooftop garden, cognac and champagne bars, spaces perfect for functions, and dining rooms.

Sir James van der Merwe

Get there early to avoid queuing for ages

Sir James van der Merwe, Katy’s Palace’s eclectic “younger brother,” is open every Wednesday night from 16:00 until late. It has become a ritual after-work meeting place, and those who plan to leave early usually end up staying until closing time. The beautifully decorated bar serves delicious platters and every drink you could possibly imagine, perfect for ringing in the weekend.

Social on Main

Social on Main is the perfect mix of restaurant and bar, combining delicious food with alcohol and DJ sets. A diverse street-style menu ensures you’re fueled for a night on the town and the outdoor deck is great if you’re after a quitter, yet dynamic, evening. Their drinks list include a wide range of local craft beers, wine, and cocktails; try the pine and ginger mojito—it won’t disappoint.

Living Room

If not booked for a private function, Saturday evenings at Living Room are usually themed

Situated on a rooftop in Maboneng, this eclectic bar is perfect for sipping on sundowners while watching the sun set over the city. Greenery in all shapes and sizes make up most of the décor, creating a small jungle within an urban setting. Every Sunday should be set aside for live music and cocktails at Living Room. On other days it’s a good idea to check out their events calendar before visiting, as they’re often booked out for private events.

Eighty Six Public

This trendy restaurant, known for their mouth-watering pizzas, transforms into a hip hotspot after dinner. Their craft beer options are considerably well priced, while they have plenty on tap as well as an extensive cocktail menu. Eighty Six Public is a great option for Friday night dinner-turned-into-drinks, plus there are other bars within walking distance, if you’re in the mood for a bit of a pub-crawl.

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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

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