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Explore Melville, Johannesburg's Most Trendy Neighbourhood

Melville is filled with trendy eateries, like all-day breakfast joint Pablo-Eggs-Go-Bar
Melville is filled with trendy eateries, like all-day breakfast joint Pablo-Eggs-Go-Bar | © Louzelle van Dyk Photography
One of the oldest suburbs in Johannesburg, Melville is known for its bohemian atmosphere. Explore one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the city.

Although Melville has always been considered one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, a recent upsurge of amazing eateries and independent stores has really confirmed it as the place to be. Established in 1896, what was once a scenic stretch of land is now a bustling suburban area frequented by locals and tourists alike, and it’s clear why.

Natural beauty in the heart of the city

The most surprising thing about this Victorian-styled suburb is its amazing natural features. Few believe just how much nature is found here, in the heart of the city. Take a hike up Melville Koppies Nature Reserve for breathtaking views of the city and a trip back into history, as this is the site where an ancient Iron Age furnace was discovered. Melville Koppies is the last remains of Johannesburg’s ridges, conserved as it was before the discovery of gold.

If hiking is too intense, rather take a stroll through the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, which also make for a fantastic picnic spot. The 81-hectare (200-acre) garden includes The Shakespeare Garden, which is filled with plants mentioned in his plays, The Rose Garden, The Herb Garden and an arboretum filled with a mix of trees such as Californian redwoods, English oaks and cork oaks from Spain and Portugal. Needless to say, there’s much to explore.

Part of the Rose Gardens in the Johannesburg Botanical Garden © NJR ZA / WikiCommons

Eat out

One thing’s for sure, Melville has no shortage of amazing restaurants and eateries. Whether you’re after a quick bite to eat, or want to lounge around for hours soaking in the sun while seated at a small table on the sidewalk, you’ll find it here.

For the best breakfast in this part of town, head to the comically named Pablo-Eggs-Go-Bar. The menu is extensive and you can build your own breakfast, get a sharing bowl or chow down on one of the many other dishes on offer.

Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed at a variety of establishments. Hell’s Kitchen is known for its burgers, ribs and rock’n’roll set-up, while Satkar serves some of the best Indian food this side of, well, India. The Great Eastern Food Bar is a must for those with a love for Asian cuisine, but go hungry, as you’ll want to taste as much as possible on the exciting menu.

Enjoy the ultimate breakfast spread at Pablo-Eggs-Go-Bar, all day long © Louzelle van Dyk Photography

Where the locals meet

If you’re after a party, you need look no further. From low-key bars to dance destinations, Melville has something for every night owl. Jo’Anna Melt Bar is great for meeting locals, as everyone grabs a seat at the large oval-shaped bar while music selections are made on the blaring jukebox. Many establishments, such as Hell’s Kitchen, go from restaurant by day to bar at night, and crowds spill into them like moths to a flame. Most are situated on 7th Street, Melville’s party avenue, where bar-hopping is easier than ever.

Hell's Kitchen fills up with locals in the evenings © Hell's Kitchen

A shopper’s mecca

If you prefer to stay out of malls, Melville is the place for you. From local fashion to craft goods, you’ll find it here. Convoy, in the Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, stocks local designer clothing, including brands like Hanna Lavery, Anmari Honiball, Black Betty and Isabel de Villiers. Head further down the road to 27 Boxes, a permanent market space constructed from containers, where you’ll find everything from clothing and jewellery to decor and delicious food.

Antiquing is also big in Melville, and quaint stores line the streets – a bargain hunter’s dream come true. Clyde on 4th Antiques is one of the larger stores and stocks a wide variety of furniture, decor accessories and objets d’art. The shop specialises in Georgian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and 1950s objects, and collectors will feel right at home.

Hanna Lavery's beautiful pieces can be bought at Convoy © Hanna Lavery

Taking it easy

When you’d rather enjoy the quiet side of Melville, pop into Service Station to pick up your favourite caffeine drink and then head to Love Books. Here, you’ll be able to spend hours catching up on reading and browsing the many shelves filled with an impeccably curated range of titles, from favourite classics to modern gems. The store also hosts many events and book clubs, so keep an eye on their social media pages and get on their mailing list to stay in the loop.

Catch up on your reading © Love Books