Our time in Johannesburg, South Africa was much shorter than we would’ve liked, but we were able to discover some amazing watering holes for locals and tourists alike. This guide was curated with advice from one of the top bartenders in America (if you haven’t been to Nickle City in Austin, you’re missing out), a life-long Joburg local, and a little luck.
Mad Giant Brewery
While in Jozie, you’d be missing out if you didn’t come to this huge craft brewery filled with vibrant wall art. Their Killer Hop beer won the best beer in Africa! We did a flight and tasted all their brews while noshing on Asian-inspired small plates with a South African twist. We loved the sweetcorn daltjies (similar to a fritter), it paired so well with their beers. 1 Fox St, Ferreiras Dorp, Johannesburg, 2048, South Africa. http://www.madgiant.co.za/
The Little Fox
Upon leaving Mad Giant Brewery, we stumbled into the cool, 1 Fox events building next door and found The Little Fox. This Johannesburg cocktail bar specializes in gin cocktails. In fact, you can peer directly into the Ginologist distillery from this chic, artsy bar. When it comes to gin and tonic cocktails, there are 4 gins to choose from and 7 artisanal tonics. We enjoyed the Ginologist Citrus with mint leaves and Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic. In terms of craft cocktails we also couldn’t resist the Bohemian Bunny with Kaleido gin, carrot, bitters and sparkling wine. The Little Fox also serves full bar, Neapolitan pizza, and small plates. 1 Fox St, Ferreiras Dorp, Johannesburg, 2048, South Africa. http://www.1fox.co.za/
A cocktail bar unlike anything else! Order your speciality-curated cocktails based off of textures. The server starts by bringing out a palate of textures and walks you through the menu. We enjoyed the patio area, lined with lush plants and the patina of coppers and metals. Expect some fantastically balanced drinks with cool presentation. Be sure to order off of their small menu of tasty, African dishes with a gourmet twist. We enjoyed biltong bitterballen (a dutch treat filled with the local, South African jerky snack), amasi onion rings with crack sauce, and springbok carpaccio in a sushi roll form. This has to be one of the best bars in Joburg, if not the world. 78A 4th Ave, Melville, Johannesburg, 2109, South Africa. https://www.mootee.co.za/
This cool, Johannesburg outdoor shopping area has some great spots to grab a drink. Start by picking up some fine leather goods at an affordable price at Rowdy Bags or some African crafts from the well curated merchants. Then, get a glass of bubbly in the garden of adorable Il Giardino. In the mood for a brew? No problemo, lots of beer options are available from the Stanley Beer Yard. 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg, 2092, South Africa. https://www.44stanley.co.za/
We usually don’t drink gin and tonics in the states, but South Africa does gin and tonic so well that they were our go-to drink while on our safari, in Cape Town, and in Johannesburg. Tonic was our favorite spot for gin and tonics. They offer a huge artisan gin and tonic and cocktail menu. In fact, they boast a selection of a whopping 190 gins, 85 of which were South African. Their menu even highlights their Instagramable cocktail with cotton candy garnish. We loved the cool vibes of the space and even if you don’t typically enjoy gin and tonics, this spot will change your mind. Shop 509, Menal Place, 32 7th Street, Linden, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa. http://www.tonic.joburg/
If we had more time, we’d also visit the highly recommended Sin Tax bar. This Joburg cocktail bar was recommended by many people, but sadly, it was closed the days that we were visiting. It looks like we just need to plan our next trip back to incredible South Africa!