Drinking and nightlife in Gauteng

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Mad Giant

    A superlative addition to Jozi's inner city, Mad Giant offers excellent craft beers (brewed on-site) paired with delectable Asian-inspired tapas dishes at its classy restaurant Urbanologi. The spectacular steampunk-style space has an award-winning design that seems partly fashioned from a giant Meccano set. Thirty-minute tours (R70) of the brewery are possible and taster samples start at R50. Outside there's a beer garden and the rest of the 1 Fox precinct with its weekend food market.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Mooteebar

    Mooteebar – a play on the Zulu word muthi – serves upscale cocktails inspired by South African traditional medicine. The hand-drawn menu describes the feelings each cocktail evokes, rather than the actual ingredients. Each drink is a work of art: one served in a paper bag emits steam when opened, another in a worm-shaped ceramic cup. Mooteebar also offers an innovative food menu.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Pretoria

    Capital Craft

    Pretoria's premier beer hangout is a huge place whose long tables, both inside the barn-like bar and out in the garden, are perpetually packed. The focus here is craft beer from around the country. The selection is impressive – try a few tasters before ordering a pint. Want something to soak up all that ale? The pulled-pork sandwich is superb.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Great Dane

    Fun and friendly Great Dane is one of the mainstays of the ever-changing Braamfontein bar strip. The music is very danceable and staff make you feel like friends. Early on it's a good place for warm-up drinks, especially in the appealing courtyard hung with old lampshades; come midnight the tables are cleared and the dancing commences.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Living Room

    This plant-packed oasis offers great city views of Jo'burg. Enjoy cold beers, cocktails and bar snacks as you watch the city go by at this rooftop jungle decorated with fairy lights. Follow the hipster crowds here on Sunday after dropping by the Arts on Main market for a supreme afternoon chill session with live music.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Pretoria

    Carbon Bistro

    This places oozes hipster chic, with its minimalist decor, craft-beer taps, and cuts of steak you've maybe never heard of. However, it's the gin menu – featuring over 150 different makes, including many South African ones – that really grabs the attention. Tastings (from R105) of five different types are available.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    4PM at Mesh

    This slickly designed members' club and co-working space in Rosebank's most trendy location throws open its doors each day at 4pm to anyone who would like to enjoy a delicious cocktail and something to eat in its seriously cool bar. Sit in cute pink basket seats and soak up the sunset views over the northern suburbs.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Blind Tiger Cafe

    There's a cool 1920s prohibition feel to this welcoming space with a long wooden bar and outdoor tables right on the Tryone Ave shopping strip. It's hard to resist their inventive cocktails – or as their menu would have it, 'giggle water'. From their food menu the hot chorizo and bean dip is recommended.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    A Streetbar Named Desire

    True to its name, A Streetbar Named Desire is a trendy bar overlooking the street. The first-floor balcony offers a nice view of busy Jan Smuts Ave; at happy hour it's crowded with young professionals sipping cocktails and nibbling tapas. Streetbar's menu and decor are clever, playing off scenes from the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Bertrand

    Bertrand is a Jo'burg coffee shop that feels more like a charmingly cluttered Parisian flat. Crammed with comfortable couches and second-hand knick-knacks, Bertrand serves proper flat whites and French-imported croissants. Mel, the French-Congolese owner, is eager to chat. The outdoor tables provide great people-watching in trendy Maboneng.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Tilt Coffee

    Tilt is a welcome addition in Melville, which has many great restaurants and bars but few great coffee shops. This tiny, Cape-Dutch-style building is just big enough for the one-room coffee shop, serving locally roasted beans along with healthy shakes and nibbles. Lia Syrrafos, Tilt's owner and chef, makes excellent conversation.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    5101

    Jail cell bars from the old prison at Constitutional Hill form part of the decoration of this rough chic cocktail bar run by the social enterprise Dlala Nje. It occupies part of what was once a three-storey penthouse at the top of iconic Ponte City, and – need we say – offers superlative views of the city.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Doubleshot Coffee & Tea

    Artisanal coffee, tea and a few baked treats is all you’ll get at this roaster but, man, are they good. The espresso is dark and intense, brewed by competent baristas and swilled by a bevy of cool kids and clued-in corporate people.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Craft Coffee

    Craft Coffee is hidden on a side street surrounded by graffiti-painted industrial buildings and art studios. Originally founded as a commercial coffee supplier for big corporates, Craft opened its retail shop in 2015 and quickly became popular with artists and students in the area. Craft serves excellent high-end coffee drinks made with both single-origin African beans and international blends. Craft Coffee is a great place to stop while exploring the graffiti in Newtown – especially the huge cement highway pillars, which are covered top-to-bottom in graffiti. Note it's closed on weekends.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Sin & Taxes

    It's best to make a reservation for this unsigned speakeasy-style cocktail bar as it's a pretty intimate place. Pull up a seat at the bar and the friendly mixologists – all hipster beards and tattoos – will enthuse about their latest seasonal concoctions. Or you could just stick with the classics. If you're peckish you can order in some pizza from neighbouring Coalition Pizza. Look for the door attendant standing in the alley beneath the elephant head painted on the wall.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Six Cocktail Bar & Restaurant

    Six has single-handedly shifted the 7th St dress code, thanks to its so-far-above-average cocktails and so-better-looking-than-you clientele. This is a wonderful place for a drink. Fabulous artwork, soft orange and red colour scheme, iconic reggae, and soul and house music at a level conducive to hearing key questions: want another one? It's two-for-one cocktails daily until 7pm.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Toninos

    Toninos is a classic Jo'burg dive bar, complete with pool table, Wednesday evening karaoke, and a DJ playing 80s and 90s pop hits until late into the night on weekends. The beer is cheap, the clientele is friendly, and the walls are decorated with bumpers from classic cars. Although the menu is mainly Portuguese, Toninos also serves decent pizzas (mains R60-150).

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Republic of 94

    The sheer length of the bar makes this high-end Braamfontein haunt worth a visit, and the length of the drinks menu is reason enough to stay. There's also a roomy back courtyard where DJs get the crowds dancing later on. Snack on wings or ribs while slowly making your way down the extensive list of beers, wines and specialised spirits.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Flynn Coffee

    Flynn Coffee is in an unexpected spot for a hipster coffee shop – in a tiny brick building outside a furniture warehouse in the industrial suburb of Kramerville. But despite its strange location Flynn is a delightful place for a coffee, with beautiful light, cheerful decor, tasty baked goods and friendly baristas.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Jo'Anna Melt Bar

    The massive, rectangular bar takes centre stage in this lively place awash with people getting jolly on the abundant cocktails and craft beers. The decor – exposed brickwork and a pressed tin ceiling – exudes a slightly more sophisticated air than other Melville bars.