15 of Johannesburg’s best winter bars and pubs

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 17 July 2012

It is said that people who live in Johannesburg like to work hard and party hard, so the onset of winter is probably not much of a deterrant. But just in case you are thinking of staying indoors this winter, think again. We have rounded up some great pubs to banish those winter blues.

Blues Room, Sandton
No need for the winter blues when you can head out to the Blues Room and listen to top class bands playing jazz and blues. They have a tasty fusion menu and makes for a nice relaxed night out. Tel 011-784-5527.

Bulldogs, The Mall of Rosebank
Frequented by the locals for years, Bulldogs is a great place to go to watch a match, play a game of pool or enjoy a classic steakhouse meal. The African rooftop Market with over 600 stalls is just next door and worth taking a look (Sundays only). Tel 011-447-6918.

Chalkboard Collaboration Café, Maboneng Precinct
If getting creative with chalk is your thing, then this is your spot. There’s chalkboard paint on the walls and tabletops encouraging patrons to unleash their inner artist. They also have a great selection of craft beers including Brewers & Union, Robsons, Darling, Camelthorn, Mitchell’s, Nottingham Road Brewing Company and The Boston Brewery Range. Chalkboard doubles up as the ticketing office and lobby bar for The Bioscope, where all pizzas, craft beers, and coffees can be taken into the movie. Tel 010- 007-0119.

Gilroy Brewery, Muldersdrift
An authentic Irish pub and micro-brewery with ales brewed with love and care on-site. Enjoy traditional tasty pub grub (think steak and ale pies or fish and chips) and a pint of good old home-brewed beer. There’s also brewery tours, quiz evenings and live music. Tel 011-796-3020.

Grand Slam, Dowerglen
Grand Slam is a legendary sports bar where sport is definitely king! You’ll find a lively atmosphere to banish the winter blues and great food. If there’s a big match on, get there early to find parking. Tel 011-454-3700.

Jolly Roger, Parkhurst
A firm favourite with the locals , this pub has been serving hordes of thirsty punters long before Parkhurst became a trendy suburb. There’s a great vibe and the pizza’s are good too. Be sure to get there early, this place fills up quickly come rain or shine. Tel 011-442-3954.

Katzy’s at the Grillhouse, Firs/Hyatt Shopping Centre
A classy music venue where you can sink into one of their large leather couches and enjoy an evening of good music, whiskey and fine cigars. They also serve cocktails and more than 100 different whiskeys, cognacs and bourbons. Be sure to dress up for the occasion! Tel 011-880-3945

Library Bar, Melrose Arch Hotel
Apparently Joburg’s best-kept secret (not any more!), the Library Bar is open 24 hours and has a sumptuous colonial ambiance. Think warm, mahogany-clad panelled walls, large leather couches, shelves of books and a roaring fire. Sip on red wine, whisky or cognac, smoke a cigar from their wide selection and enjoy complimentary snacks. Tel 011-214-6666.

Mamma’s Shebeen, Greenside
It’s funky and colourful with an atmosphere only South African’s can achieve. The food is traditional and varies from favourites like pap and stew, to meals for the brave like mopane worms and chicken-feet. Mamma’s Shebeen has the authentic feel of an actual shebeen (even though it’s in a suburb) and it’s loud and proud, eccentric and African. Cell 084 652 7851/082 965 2640.

Molly Malones, Fourways
As the name suggests, this is an Irish themed pub with traditional Irish décor and Irish fare. There’s beer on tap and they serve pies with the tastiest combinations imaginable. Perfect winter comfort food and the portions are generous too! Tel 011-467-8052.

Radium Beer Hall, Orange Grove
Having opened its doors in 1929, this is one of the oldest bars in Joburg. The walls are covered in memorabilia, giving it an old-world feel. Enjoy a beer at the scarred bar (which is now more than 100 years old) along with live music by local musicians. There’s also half-price pizza on Tuesdays. Tel 011-728-3866.

Sophiatown Bar Lounge, Midrand
The style is Afro-chic with a high quality menu and an ambience that reminds you of the toe-tapping jazz era in Sophiatown. They have jazz on Wednesday nights and a variety of live jazz bands and artists on Saturdays. Tel 011-836-5999.

The Baron, Sandown
The Baron is always busy post-work on a Friday, which makes it a great place to meet up with your mates for a pint before the weekend starts (or start your weekend here). They make great food too, so you can always stay for dinner. Tel 011-883-8435.

The Bohemian, Richmond
Step into this pub and you’ll feel as if you are at a bar in Amsterdam with the smoke and dim lights. The Picasso/Van Gogh-inspired paintings on the wall reaffirm that you are in actual fact minutes away from Joburg’s creative central district, Melville. The Bo has been going for 28 years and has become somewhat of an institution, particularly amongst the music watching / listening public. There’s pool tables, a jukebox, live music, pub grub and pizza. Tel: 011-482-1725

Voodoo Lounge, Linksfield
They say the seductive fusion of afro-jazz and contemporary tunes will lure you in from the cold. If not, the fact that they make the best cocktails, throw the best weekend parties and have traditional dancers and drummers should be enough to get you out on a winter’s night. Tel 011-443-9990.

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