In recent years, Braamfontein has undergone massive regeneration. As such, this former hub of sports, leisure and business, has regained its status as one of the best entertainment hotspots in the city. Whether you’re after the quiet refinement of an art gallery, a soothing jazz session or a nightclub rave, Braamfontein is sure to have a place for you to hang out. So, let’s get busy exploring all that this quirky suburb has to offer.
What Are You Looking For?
Nightclubs and Bars
Republic of 94
Republic of 94 is one of the largest bars and event venues in Braamfontein. With a 20m long bar and ample space to dance the night away, this is the place to be on a Friday night in Braam. Republic of 94 regularly hosts popular DJs over weekends, drawing in the student crowds and fun seekers from around Joburg. Give their Elderflower and Cucumber G&T a try the next time you visit. Or, sample an imported beer paired with their famous sticky ribs. It’s an absolute must.
Kitchener’s Carvery Bar
Kitchener’s Carvery Bar at the Milner Park Hotel is Joburg’s second oldest operational bar. This rich history, combined with its notoriety for hosting all night parties, makes it one of the top destinations for a Friday night jol in Braamfontein. Kitchener’s prides itself on having an incredibly progressive and varied music policy. This applies to their admissions policy, too. Anyone and everyone is welcome here, so bring your friends along for an epic night out.
The Milner Park Hotel is also home to one of Braamfontein’s party landmarks, Great Dane. Famed for its gourmet hotdogs, open air courtyard and awesome late night events, Great Dane transforms itself from a casual daytime restaurant to a pulsating nightclub by nightfall. Stop by for a leisurely lunch or get all dolled up and visit under the cover of darkness. Either way, you’re sure to have a great time.
Visit Great Dane.
Artivist and Untitled Basement
How about an art gallery, restaurant, bar, live music venue and coffee shop all in one? Artivist and Untitled Basement offers a space for creatives to meet, chat and chill. Come through to enjoy impromptu jazz performances, great food and beer on tap. Artivist and Untitled Basement represents what Braam is all about – an amalgamation of cultures, styles, cuisines and people coming together to celebrate the best that life has to offer.
Galleries and Theatres
The Joburg Theatre complex stands as an icon of the Braamfontein arts and culture scene. Formerly known as the Civic Theatre, this is one of Joburg’s largest theatre houses. The main venue at Joburg Theatre seats up to 1000 audience members, and hosts the quarterly Joburg Ballet productions, large scale operas and Janice Honeyman’s annual pantomime. The Peoples Theatre also forms part of the Joburg Theatre complex. For over 20 years, this dedicated children’s theatre has delighted little ones with its whimsical stage productions. If you’ve never visited the Joburg Theatre complex, do so as soon as possible. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on.
The Alexander Theatre
The Alexander Theatre was built in the early 1950s, Braamfontein’s original heyday. It later fell into disrepair, as the suburb faced mass dilapidation. However, thanks to the clever innovation of local developers, Play Braamfontein, the Alexander has been restored to its former glory in recent times. The theatre celebrated its grand re-opening with a production of RENT, welcoming back audiences to its pristine Broadway-esqe 550-seater auditorium. The Alexander Theatre is now a leading multi-dimensional event venue, hosting concerts, award ceremonies, talent shows, exhibitions, weddings and conferences.
An art gallery located with a shopping centre? That’s right. The Kalashnikovv Gallery is situated within the popular 70 Juta Street retail precinct. Here, you will find a stunning collection of contemporary art by some of the country’s brightest upcoming painters, sculptors and photographers. This is the perfect spot to unwind after a marathon shopping trip around Braam or in between lunch dates. The gallery also hosts regular events in collaboration with the WITS School of Digital Arts and the WITS Art Museum, so be on the lookout for happenings on their Facebook page.
WITS Art Museum
The WITS Art Museum boasts one of the largest curated displays of fine art and sculpture from the African continent and the diaspora. The museum also recently unveiled the Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts – an exciting display of Ginsberg’s astounding collection of artworks in the form of books, rather than books about art. The WITS Art Museum runs school tours and is open to the public between 10:00 – 16:00 from Tuesday to Saturday.
Constitution Hill is one of the most important historical sites in Johannesburg. As a former holding block for political prisoners and now the seat of the Constitutional Court, this is definitely one of Braamfontein’s best attractions. You can take a quick one-hour highlights tour or a full two-hour tour, guided by the museum’s curators. There are also numerous special tours on offer, including the night tour, time travel tour, walk with Madiba tour, art and justice tour and a tour of the Constitutional Court. Bookings can be made on Webtickets.
Braam Urban Art Tour
Braamfontein is well known for being the graffiti capital of Johannesburg. But this is so much more than paint on walls. Braam’s urban art scene is as intriguing as anything you would find hung on a wall in a gallery or museum. Come and experience Braam like you never have before with Past Experiences tour company. Their Braam Urban Art Tour takes you on a foot journey through the suburb to see a number of commissioned public artworks and the lesser appreciated street art murals and graffiti walls. It’s certainly an awakening experience, so don’t miss out.
Braam by Bike
The City of Johannesburg introduced bicycle lanes to Braamfontein’s streets a few years ago, welcoming in a new bike culture never seen in this part of the city before. But, if you’re weary of going for a ride on your own, join Once Travel for their Braam by Bike tour experience. This 5-hour bike tour takes you on a journey through old and new Braamfontein, to uncover the public street art, local cuisine and history of the precinct, among other jewels. It’s an intense adventure, but well worth the effort.