The Best Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Posted on 5 March 2024

Johannesburg, a city renowned for its vibrant energy and diverse culture, is also home to an array of bars that capture the essence of its dynamic nightlife. From the stylish quarters of Sandton to the eclectic streets of Melville, the bars in Johannesburg offer something for everyone, blending culinary excellence with atmospheric charm. In this guide, we spotlight some of the most noteworthy bars that stand out for their unique character and exceptional offerings.

1. Saint

Saint - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Saint

Nestled in the vibrant heart of Sandton, Johannesburg, Saint emerges as the brainchild of the dynamic duo David and Gary. This establishment reimagines Italian dining with a stylish twist, promising an experience that’s as unique as it is unforgettable.

R&B Nights with Moet

Every Thursday, the atmosphere at Saint transforms under the spell of O’Neal Africa’s curation, offering an R&B night that’s a blend of soulful melodies and seductive rhythms. From timeless classics to the latest hits, the evening promises a groove that keeps the energy high and the mood sultry from 8pm till the wee hours.

Saintly Sundays

Come Sunday, Saint becomes the rendezvous point for Johannesburg’s elite, hosted by Chris “The Mayor”. This afternoon into evening affair is a fusion of beats, fashion, and culinary delights, marking it as a must-visit for those looking to see and be seen, starting from 3pm until late.

Location: The Marc Corner Rivonia &, Maude St, Sandton
Hours: Sunday – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Contact: 010 594 5888

2. Zioux

Zioux - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Zioux

Zioux stands as a testament to award-winning luxury, with Irene Kyriacou’s design genius weaving a tapestry of opulence and whimsy throughout the space. This restaurant, part of the illustrious Marble group, dazzles with its glamorous bar, cheeky details, and an ambiance that’s as intoxicating as its cocktail offerings.

Zioux exemplifies the luxury that bars in Johannesburg can offer. The decor is a lavish blend of dark woods, rich burgundy, and tartan, creating an ambiance reminiscent of an exclusive member’s club with a decadent twist—a perfect backdrop for those looking to indulge in the finer things in life.

Location: The Marc Corner Rivonia &, Maude St, Sandton
Hours: Monday – Sunday, Closed; Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Contact: 010 594 5455

3. Alto234

Alto 234 Bar - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Alto 234 Bar

Perched atop The Leonardo in Sandton, Alto234 claims the title of Africa’s highest urban bar, offering a panoramic embrace of Johannesburg’s lush canopy. This exclusive venue caters to the discerning with a selection of the finest drinks and bar tapas, set against the backdrop of breathtaking sunset views. “High. On. Life.” encapsulates the essence of the Alto234 experience, where luxury meets the horizon.

Location: 75 Maude St, Sandown, Sandton
Hours: Monday, Closed; Tuesday – Sunday, 12:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contact: 087 536 0051

Also read: Picnic Spots in and around Johannesburg

4. Cesco’s Randburg

Cesco's Strydom Park Randburg - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Cesco’s Strydom Park Randburg

Cesco’s stands as a cherished Portuguese Pub and Restaurant, a familiar landmark since its inception in 1995. The bar is more than just a place for drinks; it’s a celebration of over 25 years of sporting history, adorned with memorabilia and equipped with several big screens to catch all the major sporting events LIVE.

Location: C. R. Swart Dr & Tungsten Rd, Strydompark, Randburg
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; Saturday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; Sunday, Closed
Contact: 011 792 7495

Also read: Cocktail bars to visit in Cape Town

5. Sir James van der Merwe

Sir James van der Merwe - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Sir James van der Merwe

Hidden within Kramerville, Sir James van der Merwe stands as a jewel among Johannesburg’s social scenes. Part of Katy’s Palace Bar, this venue transforms every Wednesday into a bustling hub for post-work relaxation and socializing. The blend of minimalist design and eclectic retro decor, along with a breathtaking terrace view, sets the stage for an evening of elegance and excitement.

Sir James van der Merwe provides a unique blend of retro and modern design, making it a standout among bars in Johannesburg.

Location: 6 Desmond Rd, Kramerville
Hours: Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday, Closed; Wednesday, 12:00 pm – 2:00 am, 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
Contact: 072 607 4235

6. Proud Mary

Proud Mary SA - Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

Picture: Facebook / Proud Mary SA

Step into Proud Mary, a haven situated in Rosebank’s bustling culinary heart, offering a modern take on the mid-century dining experience. This all-day eatery and wine bar cater to every palate, marrying the elegance of the past with a touch of modern flair.

Wine Bar Elegance

Proud Mary’s Wine Bar is a celebration of the unique and the refined, with a focus on small-batch, local, and independent wineries. The selection shines a spotlight on both exemplary and intriguing wines, complemented by an impressive champagne list, an array of international wines, and a menu of both classic and artisanal cocktails. The wine list is ever-evolving, ensuring each visit might unveil new and exciting offerings.

Location: The Bank, 26 Cradock Ave, Rosebank
Hours: Sunday – Saturday, 6:30 am – 12:00 am
Contact: 010 023 3316

7. The Living Room

Nestled in Maboneng’s lively precinct, The Living Room stands as a testament to the seamless blend of nature and urban elegance. This premier eco-urban venue invites guests to experience Johannesburg in a novel way, thanks to its lush rooftop garden offering panoramic city vistas.

As a bar and event space with a green heart, The Living Room’s décor is a nod to nature, influencing its extensive food and drink menu. From gourmet tapas and salad bowls to hearty vegetarian options, and a drink selection that spans specialty cocktails to homemade mocktails, there’s something for every taste.

Location: Living Room, 5th Floor, Main Change Building, 20 Kruger St
Hours: Monday – Tuesday, Closed; Wednesday – Thursday, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Friday, 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm; Saturday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm; Sunday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Contact: 082 370 9284

8. Level Seven Restaurant and Sky Bar

Level Seven Restaurant

Picture: Facebook / Level Seven Restaurant

Perched atop the Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, near OR Tambo International Airport, Level Seven epitomizes the essence of Johannesburg’s glamour. This rooftop haven delights with its gastronomic offerings, curated wine selections, and a vibrant crowd, making it a standout day or night.

The restaurant and sky bar boast an international menu filled with decadent dishes, complemented by an array of cocktails and casual dining options. With nightly Jazz and Blues setting the ambiance, Level Seven offers an indulgent escape above the city.

Location: 3rd &, Sixth Rd, Bredell AH, Kempton Park
Hours: Monday, 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Contact: 010 541 1300

9. Altar Bar

Altar Bar

Picture: Facebook / Altar Bar

In the heart of Greenside, Altar Bar presents a youthful and dynamic space, alive with neon lights and an Instagram-worthy interior. Spanning two levels with street-facing windows, it offers a bright and welcoming atmosphere, with music from an in-house DJ enhancing the lively mood.

While dubbed a cocktail and tapas bar, Altar Bar’s menu leans towards hearty individual meals, including an assortment of pizzas and burgers. The drink selection, with its signature cocktail jugs, caters to a diverse palate, reflecting the vibrant energy of its clientele.

Location: Gleneagles Rd, Greenside, Randburg
Hours: Monday, Closed; Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 am – 11:00 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Contact: 010 109 0797

10. CIN CIN Bedfordview

CIN CIN Bedfordview

Picture: Facebook / CIN CIN Bedfordview

CIN CIN, nestled in Johannesburg’s Bedfordview, transports guests to the 1920s with its stylish speakeasy vibe and immersive live music and DJ nights. Born during the lockdowns of 2020, CIN CIN Bedfordview captures the essence of the 1920s speakeasy vibe, adding a touch of historical charm that bars in Johannesburg can embody.

The cocktail menu is a playground of creativity, featuring inventive signature drinks and modern twists on classic favorites. Complemented by a select tapas menu, CIN CIN offers an upscale night out where the art of the cocktail is celebrated with every sip.

Location: 57 Van Buuren Rd, Bedfordview
Hours: Monday, Closed; Tuesday – Friday, 2:00 pm – 2:00 am; Saturday – Sunday, 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
Contact: 076 244 1030

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ALSO READ: The Best Bars and Pubs in Johannesburg

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