Xai Xai Lounge
Melville is one of the most LGBT+ friendly neighbourhoods in Johannesburg. Home to musicians, artists and students alike, this eclectic suburb welcomes one and all to indulge in a little culture and a lot of fun. While you should find yourself welcome at most restaurants here on Valentine's Day, we recommend the tried and tested Xai Xai Lounge on 7th street. This Mozambican-inspired bar and restaurant is homely, but vibrant. Offering you and your date a delectable array of Portuguese and Mozambican dishes, as well as colourful cocktails and Friday night karaoke!
Details: Number 3, 7th St, Mellville, Johannesburg | 011 482 6990 | [email protected]
The Bannister Hotel
Looking for something a little more refined this Valentine's Day? Take your date on a surprise adventure to the Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein. Located just a block away from the main party hub on Juta Street, this luxury budget hotel is the perfect place to grab a quick dinner before heading out on the town with your Valentine. Plus, you can always crash here for the night if the date goes well (suggestive wink). The Bannister serves a fabulous Eggs Benedict breakfast with two poached eggs served on a toasted English muffin with crispy bacon and Hollandaise sauce. However, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, there are a number of great breakfast spots just around the corner.
Details: 9 de Beer Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | 011 403 6888 | [email protected]
Republic of 94
Speaking of Braamfontein's Juta street hangouts, Republic of 94 is an LGBT+ friendly bar and restaurant offering VIP bottle service and a vibe that is unmatched. If it's a dance party you are after this Valentine's Day, look no further than here. Their open-air dance floor is the perfect place to serenade your sweetheart. The menu is simple but hearty, featuring steaks, grilled chicken, ribs and burgers.
Details: 94 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | 064 534 8809 | [email protected]
Illovo is affectionately known as Johannesburg's "pink neighbourhood" thanks to it's many LGBT+ friendly bars and eateries. One of its most famous is Beefcakes - the 1950s-inspired drag bar that serves up an award-winning hamburger, pretty cocktails and fabulous entertainment. If you're a Valentine's Day cynic, this may be the perfect place for you to celebrate with your partner. Rather than the lovey dovey vibe of other restaurants, Beefcakes is tongue-in-cheek about almost everything (no pun intended).
Details: Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg | 011 447 5266 | [email protected]
Finally, we have Priscilla's Cocktail Bar. Aptly named after the iconic 90s film, Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, this restaurant and entertainment hub opened in December 2019. While they are the relative new kid on the block at Illovo Muse, with a total of 14 original cocktails on their menu, Priscilla's knows how to get the party started. However, you can still enjoy a relatively quiet evening with your partner, tucking into their array of Italian and Asian-inspired meals.
Details: Shop 5 Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg | 081 562 64 19 | [email protected]
Do you know of any other LGBT+ friendly restaurants in the city? Let us know about them. Also, check out our list of the best gay bars in Johannesburg while you're at it!