16 places not to miss in Melville, Johannesburg

Posted on 29 January 2020

This vibey, bohemian suburb, known for its great nightlife and gracious Victorian houses, is constantly reinventing itself. It’s not surprising that it made it onto Time Out’s50 coolest neighbourhoods from around the world‘ last year.

Bookseller Kate Rogan gives us a local’s tour and tells you where to grab a coffee, a bite to eat and where to enjoy sundowners.

Grab a coffee

The Service Station (1) – Percy makes my daily cortado just how I like it. I don’t even have to ask … it all starts happening as soon as he sees me! Great food too – fresh, interesting and delicious. I’d drive across town for this.’ Find it on 9th Street, 011-726-1701

Get social

There are a lot of cool, edgy and sleek places opening, such as The Anti-Social Social Club (2) (7th Street) and the one I’d really like to try: the Tiny-Tiki Bar (3) (corner of 3rd Avenue and 7th).’


Tiny Tiki Bar, Melville.

Out and about

‘Strolling through the suburb, suddenly you’ll find yourself on a rise, facing south-east, with the most stunning city views. Also take a walk on the Melville Koppies (4) to see the Highveld in its natural state. It’s one of the most magical things you can do in the city.’

Local cuisine

‘The deep-fried egg with fresh apple slices at Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar (5) is exquisite.’ Located on 7th Street, 063-335-9348


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#Repost from @asanda.pdf … What’s brunch without Pancakes with Nutella 😍🤤!

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The Whippet (6), like the legendary Linden café, is also here now and it’s going to lift the Melville game a bit. It’s a fantastic concept – a Harvest Store where fresh herbs and veggies will be picked from its rooftop garden.’ Find them on 7th Street, 064-502-6750

The Whippet, a legendary Linden cafe.

Unique finds

‘Melville is a mix of new and old, like iconic joint The Ant (7) for late-night pizza. The oldest shop is Scala Barber (8), where Fred has cut my husband’s hair for more than 25 years – it’s been there for more than 40. Reminiscene (9), the famous vintage-clothing shop, has been here for more than 35 years. You’ll find it at 27 Boxes (10), a unique shopping centre built entirely of containers, with a nursery garden at the back and Joburg’s first cannabis market.’


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‘At Bamboo, there’s Convoy (11), for gorgeous local sustainable fashion – Dry Bone makes the perfect (and I’ve been searching for years) leather jacket. Doron Locketz of Bookdealers (12) (7th Street) has been in the second-hand/collectable book business for 30 years. Front View 3 (13), Sue Pam-Grant’s studio on 9th Street, is an exquisite space that doubles as an art gallery, and next door is Decadence (14), for mid-century furniture and objects,’ says Kate.

Front View 3, image supplied

Stay here

Pablo House, Melville (15). If you’re from out of town and you’re looking for some of the best views in Joburg, this affordable and trendy B&B is the perfect spot. (Read our review here). Contact pablohouse.co.za.

Buy a book

Bookseller Kate Rogan explains how her bookstore came about, ‘I was producing The Book Show on 702 with Jenny Crwys-Williams when I started Love Books (16) in 2009. My business partner Jaci suggested we open in the Bamboo Centre, and all the right bits of my brain began to fire. Before I knew it, and against advice, we’d signed the lease.’

It’s a beautiful and quirky store with a warm, bookish atmosphere, a curated selection of the best titles and great staff who know their way around books. If you want to stumble upon something that might change your life, stumble in here! (You can pair your choice with Joostenberg wine from the Myburgh family farm – my brother-in-law is the connection). For years Melville has been the home of artists, lefties and academics. It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s resilient and never seems to hit rock bottom – 4th Street has remained the hub. As a city, I’d say Joburg knows who it is and leaves pretension at the door. It’s friendly, diverse and full of surprises – you won’t believe how lush it is in summer.’
Corner 9th Street and Rustenberg Road, 011-463-0514

Kate Rogan poses in front of her Melville bookstore.


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