Neighbourhood: Mackeurtan Avenue, Durban North

Posted by Ondela Mlandu on 25 October 2018

Dubbed the ‘new Florida Road’, this strip has become a social magnet over the last few years. Irish pub owner Christine Connnor gives us a local’s tour.

Owner of Connor’s Public House

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‘Most people don’t realise that “pub” is short for “public house”, which communicates something far greater than a simple watering hole. Connor’s was established in 1998 at the Elangeni Hotel on the Durban beachfront. My husband Gerry was the singer for 90s band Equinox, so he handled the entertainment at the pub. Then in 2014 we had to find a new location; moving to Mackeurtan Avenue was perfect timing – the area was booming. Durban North went from halfway mark between the city and Umhlanga to its own destination overnight. Mackeurtan’s pulse beats at a steady 95 bpm – the pace Durbanites know and love. Gerry has since passed, but my son Daniel has stepped in. We work side by side every day to ensure Gerry’s good name lives on. We travelled a lot, with the band’s gigs around the country, but Durban was always a magnet. It’s home; we’re part of the furniture.’ 11–13 Mackeurtan Avenue, 0315634462

Local cuisine

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‘We call the Wok Box “Old Faithful”. You know what you’re going to get there. The crispy chilli chicken is rich and filling, so be sure to show up hungry.’ 10 Mackeurtan Avenue, 0315642939. ‘Julio’s Cabana (at No. 12) is an authentic Portuguese family-run place. If you really want bang for your buck, give the combos a try (such as chicken and prawn or calamari). 0315635546

Grab a coffee

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‘The coffee is perfect at Mayfair Cafe (at No. 41–45), as is the food and service.’ 0315632599. ‘Our neighbours at Afro’s [No. 15] also serve a good cuppa, especially when Dylan is working.’ 0630055258

Get social

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El Toro (at No. 5) has a great ambience – it’s oozing with culture, and that’s cool. Its margaritas are the best, and a craft tequila or two is always encouraged.’ 031-564-3015. ‘Connor’s is known as the “Home of Irish Spirit in Durban” – we offer live music, sport on TV, themed parties…’

Unique finds

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Nikki’s: The Gift Shop at the Woolworths Centre [No. 41–45] is a bit like a magic hat, in that it’s small but somehow you always find what you’re looking for in there.’ 0315631821. ‘Celebrate Party & Events Store [at No. 28] comes in handy for us as a pub that regularly needs Halloween, St Paddy’s and Christmas props. There’s a happy energy in there.’ 0648366984

Living History

Errol Koch, chairman of the Durban Society of Model Engineers

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‘I was a marine engineer and have always enjoyed making things. I first joined the DSME back in 1982 and enjoy the hobby and the people I meet there. The DSME promotes the making of miniatures of mainly engineering objects, such as steam locomotives, steam engines, clocks and the like. It was founded in 1913, one of the first clubs of its kind outside the UK. More than 50 years ago, members built a miniature of the first steam loco to run in SA, and later a 420-metre raised track to run it on.’ The Society hosts a public ‘running day’ on the mini railway on the second Sunday of the month at 10 Hinton Grove, Virginia Circle. Birthday parties can be hosted here, too, with train rides.

Find two of SA’s first: Four 15, a burrito bar, and Plan B Dessertery, for sweet things only (including bubble waffles), both at No. 41.

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