Planning a night out in Jo’burg? We’ve located the 10 best bars in Johannesburg for every occasion, whether it’s a quiet sundowner or craft beer and burgers.
Sandton Sun San Deck
Soak up the city skyline views at sunset while relaxing on a lounge, sipping a cocktail and listening to live music or a DJ at the San Deck. The hotel bar has three large firepits and offers light meals including sandwiches, hot dogs and gourmet bunny chows (a South African fast food delicacy consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry).
Alice Lane and Fifth Street, Sandton
Get up and dance with the locals at the lively Soweto shebeen (tavern) Chaf-Pozi, which means “our secret place”. Located on the bottom level of Orlando Towers, a former power station turned adventure centre (think bungee, abseiling and paintball), it offers a menu of barbecued meat cooked Shisa Nyama-style, craft beer and lots of live music. An essential South African experience.
Orlando Towers, Chris Hani Road and Nicholas Street, Orlando East, Soweto
The Living Room
The Living Room is a city idyll decorated with verdant plant-life. This rooftop terrace in the trendy Maboneng precinct has panoramic views of the city and is popular with local workers. Order some snacks from the menu of buffalo wings, fries and pickles as you watch the sun set with a cocktail in hand.
20 Kruger Street, Main Change Building, Maboneng
The Wolfpack at Parkhurst
Beer and burgers are the name of the game at this hip venue in Parkhurst. The “Pack”, as the team here calls itself, created their own craft beer and set about making the best burgers in town. The cool interior has exposed brick walls decorated with wolf murals, retro tiled floors and fun, friendly staff.
21, 4th Avenue, Parkhurst
SEE ALSO: 10 Great Things to do in Johannesburg
Arts on Main is a mixed-use creative hub that’s home to art studios, galleries, eateries and offices in artsy Maboneng. Canteen is a beautiful urban oasis located on its rooftop. Sip local wine surrounded by olive and lemon trees or book a table indoors for dinner – the menu covers all bases from steak to pasta.
268 Fox Street, Maboneng
Lenin’s Vodka Bar
It’s pretty clear what Lenin’s is all about and indeed, there are 40 varieties of vodka to choose from. There’s also a courtyard and cosy couches to lounge on and flatbreads, steak sandwiches and sweet potato fries to complement your White Russian, Moscow Mule or Chernobyl (Bacardi, dark rum, cane, cherry liqueur, sour mix and pineapple juice and Stroh rum float).
300 Commissioner Street, Maboneng
Sir James Van Der Merwe
This quirky bar is decorated with a host of pictures and artefacts, from old tennis rackets to candelabras, making Sir James Van Der Merwe an inviting and eclectic space. Pull up a pew – there are park benches, leather lounges and stools to choose from – and take in your surroundings.
6 Desmond Street, Kramerville, Sandton
Step through the glass stack-away doors onto the balcony to soak up the views from this chic bar on the 16th floor of the Reef Hotel in the Banking District. Hip hop and comedy nights are held throughout the week, with jazz on Sundays.
58 Anderson Street, Marshalltown
The Great Dane
Loud, dark and smoky, The Great Dane is a mainstay of the Braamfontein bar scene. There’s a party vibe, with dance-friendly music, a lovely courtyard and a gourmet hot dog menu.
5 De Beer Street, Braamfontein
SEE ALSO: Where to Eat in Johannesburg