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.
Ace + Pearl
Ace + Pearl is a trendy wine bar situated in a small shopping complex in Craighall Park. It’s one of those spots you’ll easily pass by, but once you’re made aware of its existence you’ll soon become a regular. The owners drew inspiration from bars they visited in Europe and America, and the focus is solely on wine and winemakers. The bar also hosts “Meet the Maker” evenings, where patrons order tasting menus and get to know the people behind the wine.
Shop 8, Albans Square, 357 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park
Discover amazing wines as well as local craft gin at Ace + Pearl |© Matthieu Joannon / Unsplash
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.
Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo
Pub, Restaurant, African, South African, Barbeque, $$$
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.
Orlando Towers, Chris Hani Road & Nicholas Street, Orlando East, Soweto
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.
5 De Beer Street, Braamfontein
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.
286 Fox Street, Jeppestown
Randlords is an exclusive event venue and as such it’s not open every single night, but when it is, you want to make sure you’re there. Also situated in “Braamies,” the venue offers amazing views of the city from the 22nd floor of South Point Towers. And as we all know, few things beat a rooftop party.
South Point Towers, 41 De Korte Street, Braamfontein
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.
086 Hobart Road, Bryanston
Sir James van der Merwe
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.
6 Desmond Street, Kramerville
Get there early to avoid queuing for ages |Courtesy of Sir James van der Merwe
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.
1 Posthouse Street, Bryanston
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.
20 Kruger Street, 5th Floor Main Change Building, Maboneng
If not booked for a private function, Saturday evenings at Living Room are usually themed |Courtesy of Living Room
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.
198 Oxford Rd, Illovo