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]

lgbt+ friendly


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!

What Is It?

The Thunderbirds: The Disaster Hen Party is a comedy show that covers a passionate, hilarious love-hatred for bachelorette parties. Because whether you love or hate them - you have to laugh at them.

The Thunderbirds is an all conquering female trio of comedians; Claudine Ullman, Nina Hastie and Gilli Apter Comedy (and sometimes a funny guest bird or two) that has been touring the country with their off the wall, unhinged, unapologetic brand of girl power comedy.

The show is a combination of stand up, sketch comedy and improv. You never know what’s gonna happen but it is first and always, funny. Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls, this show is one helluva of a ride! See it live at Beefcakes in Illovo this December. 

When Is It?

Wednesday, 04 December 2019, Wednesday, 11 December 2019 & Wednesday, 18 December 2019. All shows begin at 19:00.

Where Is It?

Beefcakes, 198 Oxford Rd, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost R300 per person, which includes a sit down dinner. Book yours here.

For more information

Visit their website or follow them on Facebook for more information.

Details: 011 447 5266 | [email protected]

Beefcakes is not only known for their delicious service, but their food is definitely something to experience at least once (or twice) in your life. Not only do they cater to the standard meat-eaters, vegetarians also have great options to choose from too.

The venue is best for groups looking for an amazing night out filled with tons of fun and unforgettable memories. You can make a booking for larger groups or parties but walk-ins are also welcome; everyone is entitled to a fabulous night at this venue.

Plus, those thirsty for a hot or cold beverage - from strong or creamy coffee to light or exotic drinks - there's something for everyone!

Where Is It?

Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg.

For more information contact 011 447 5266
[email protected]

Have you been here? Rate and review your experience below!


You’ll always have a good time at Soiree. Get your little black dress on and head on over… you’ll dance until your feet ache! What’s great about this place is that the parties change regularly, so just be sure to make an effort to find out what’s going on before you check it out!

Where: Rivonia Crossing Shopping Centre, Corner Rivonia and Witkoppen Roads, Sunninghill, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.


This place is famed for bachelorettes but that’s not the only reason to check this juicy bar out. Their burgers are fantastic and their topless waiters are even better! They’ve got different themed nights, depending on which day of the week it is, so be sure to check out what’s happening before you go.

Where: 198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg

For more information, click here.

Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel

Fancy a night of cocktail drinking? The Island Bar at Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel has a huge range of tasty drinks that’ll quench your thirst. This is the perfect spot to head for sun-downers with your girls… why not even make a day of it and lounge around by the pool with a cocktail in hand? We won't judge if you start drinking before 12:00.

Where: 1st Road, Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.


We don't know many who would say no to a classy venue where you can get your dance on and have a couple of drinks while you’re at it? Here, the music is hot, the crowd is always keen and the overall vibe is pumping! Dress to impress if you’re going to hang out at this place… getting all dolled up is half the fun, right?

Where: 24 Central, Corner Fredman Drive and Gwen Lane, Sandton, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.

Madison Avenue

What was once Manhattan is now Madison Avenue, and it's a stylish, upmarket club that you simply must see for yourself. It’s an extravagant venue that prides itself on being beautifully designed, with awesome sound and lighting, which makes for optimal grooving! The music ranges from current commercial hits to tracks from the ‘90s and everything in between.

Where: 19 Wessels Road, Rivonia, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.

Skye Bar

If you’d like to sip on fancy drinks while admiring the jaw-droppingly beautiful panoramic view of our city, Skye Bar is your go-to place. It’s located inside the Holiday Inn in Sandton and boasts a stylish bar where you can put your feet up and hang out with your friends.

Where: Inside the Holiday Inn, 123 Rivonia Road, Sandton, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.


Hogshead in Illovo is always bustling – there’s a great vibe to it, no matter when you go. Why not pay this watering hole a visit on a Thursday night or even a Friday for after work drinks? They’ve got a full food menu so you’ll be more than happy in that department, and their drinks options are oh-so-plentiful.

Where: 198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.

The Landmark Bar

Both the cocktails and the décor at this spot have been inspired by various landmarks throughout the city… isn’t that cool? It’s a stunning bar that’s known for innovative cocktail creations. They take their drinks seriously and you could land up sipping on anything from a simple glass of vino to a cocktail on their list of ‘100 Cocktails To Try Before You Die’. It’s part of Café Del Sol Botanico, so you can head over there for a girls dinner after drinks.

Where: Bryanston Shopping Centre, Corner William Nicol and Ballyclare, Bryanston, Johannesburg.

For more information, click here.

Know other awesome spots for girls' night out not mentioned above? Let us know below!

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.

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Dukes has a very wide selection of burgers which often makes deciding what to eat here a bit tricky. Do you go for their suggestions or do you make your own? Beef, lamb, chicken, ostrich or veg? The options are endless, but you can rest easy knowing whatever you choose will be juicy and delicious.

Where: 14 Gleneagles Road, Greenside, Johannesburg.

Our pick: The Big Cheese, a beef patty with tomato relish, melted cheddar, mozzarella and feta topped with homemade gherkins.

Click here for more information.

Voodoo Lily Cafè

If you're looking for a family restaurant that serves the freshest, most nourishing dishes, go to Voodoo Lily Café. Their food is locally sourced and organic where possible, so you can be assured of the highest quality. But let's get to why we are here: the burgers. They are made from 100% grass-fed beef and the most amazing toppings like roasted peppers, caramelised onions, fresh chilli and avo. If you're not a fan of red meat, you can choose the chicken breast or vegetarian patty and build your own burger.

Where: St Andrew St & Wrenrose Ave, Birdhaven, Johannesburg

Our pick: Dreamy Cheese, a juicy patty stuffed with mozzarella and topped with shakshuka sauce, cheddar and rocket.

Click here for more information.

Hudsons The Burger Joint

Originally from Cape Town, Hudsons The Burger Joint was a warmly welcomed addition to Parkhurst. It doubles as a great after-work watering hole since they have no shortage of cocktails! There are burgers here for everyone, from the carb-conscious and non-meat eaters to those who just want a huge, meaty meal. Plus, you can swap any patty for one of your choice – chicken, veg, ostrich, you name it.

Where: Corner 4th Avenue and 14th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg.

Our pick: The Rockafella, a free-range beef patty topped with Swiss cheese, pulled pork, pineapple and a fried egg. Go for a side of sweet potato wedges.

Click here for more information.

Best Burgers

Love Food

Love Food is the cutest spot in Braamfontein. During the week, they serve up all kinds of things from salads and sandwiches to cakes and more. But, on a Friday, they do something different – Fridays are for burgers, and it’s well worth the week-to-week wait! There are three patty options to choose from: pure lean beef, chicken or veggie. Then you add a salad and/or wedges to your plate and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal.

Where: 4 Ameshoff Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Our pick: The veggie burger is so great! It comes on a sesame seed roll and toppings-wise, cheddar, honey mustard mayo and pickles make for a winning combo.

Click here for more information.

JB's Corner

JB's Corner is one of those great ‘something for everyone’ restaurants. So, while they’re not specifically a burger place, their burgers do shine through! They’ve got healthy options as well, so if you’re looking after your figure, or you're banting, you can have your burger in a bowl of cauli rice instead of on a bun.

Where: 3 High Street, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg (but there are other branches in Sandton and Hyde Park Corner).

Our pick: The Sennett 94, a beef patty with goat’s cheese, relish, avo and grilled onions.

Click here for more information.


While they are probably better known for their ripped waiters than their food, don’t be fooled – Beefcakes certainly lives up to its name (in both senses of the word!). They have a great burger menu and you can create your own. Come here for a lively night out, a bachelorette or, simply to tuck into good food and sip cocktails. Entertainment varies, depending on the night.

Where: Illovo Muse Centre, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg.

Our pick: Babycakes – three small beef burgers on mini buns, served with cheese, guacamole and a mushroom sauce. How about adding a glass of rosé to that order?

Click here for more information.

best burgers

Free Food

Okay, so this is a vegan restaurant, but hear us out… their chickpea burger has got to be one of our all-time favourites. We know it’s a vegan place and this is an article about burgers but, don't knock it till you've tried it.

Where: Shop 5B, Reithmere, Corner of Delta Road and Corlett Drive, Birnam, Johannesburg.

Our pick: The Chickpea Burger, served on a toasted gluten- and grain-free bread round, with hummus, grilled brinjal, tahini, fresh tomato, red onion relish and sweet potato wedges with salsa dairy-free cheese. Bonus: it’s healthy!

Click here for more information.

Salvation Café

You'll find Salvation Café in the 44 Stanley complex. Go here and don’t even look at the menu, just order any of their burgers – you won't be sorry! They come in three varieties and are sure to satisfy your craving with the first bite.

Where: 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark, Johannesburg.

Our pick: The Salvation Gourmet Burger – it’s a grass-fed beef burger with bacon, caramelised onion, guacamole and Dutch cheese, served with potato wedges.

Click here for more information.

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.