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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Where: Great Dane, 5 De Beer Street
The reviews on their Facebook page speak volumes — people truly love this joint. "Great Dane this weekend, friend?" is the set question when you want to hang out in town. Why is it always packed? Because of the vibe, the cool DJs, the cocktails, the quirky decor, we could go on and on. Check out their Facebook page for more information.
Where: Kitchener's, 71 Juta Street
Kitchener's is one of the oldest bars in Joburg, it has a rocking dance floor and also serves the most amazing burgers. There are so many reasons to go there! Plus, it's got a great atmosphere and is a cool place to catch up with friends and have a few drinks. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
Where: Neighbourgoods Market, 73 Juta Street
Here's an inner-city market situated in what was once an office building. It's got a chilled vibe where you can enjoy great music, gourmet food from all over the world and buy fresh produce. Sip wine or craft beer while sitting in the main hall at long tables or enjoy the city views from the upstairs section. Visit this website for more information.
Where: 1 Eloff Street, Salisbury Claims
Tucked away in the CBD, people aren't really aware of this beautiful spot. If you're looking for a true African vibe, this is the right place, decorated with Shangaan bags as you enter. Joziburg Lane is an inner-city hotspot that's part of the No. One Eloff building with a food hall, deli, tasting bar and shops to check out. To see what else is available, click here.
Where: The Marabi Club, 47 Sivewright Avenue, New Doornfontein
Ever been to New York? The Marabi Club recreates a Big Apple vibe that feels like the real thing. Offering superb food and drinks, the cherry on top is the live jazz performances. The Marabi Club is where the black cultural and intellectual movement flourishes with an outpouring of artistic, literary and musical talent. Come and see for yourself, the night awaits. Visit this website for more information.
Where: The Bioscope Independent Cinema, 286 Fox Street, Jeppestown
If you're looking for something different for a movie night, this is the place to check out. The Bioscope is a single-screen picture house with a café and bar, presenting indie and world cinema, plus live music. Sold? Click here for more information.
Where: 5th Floor Main Change Building, 20 Kruger Street, Maboneng Precinct
The Living Room tops the list of places to go in Maboneng. It's ideal for Sunday sundowners, for people who like to escape the busy city and get ready for the week ahead by winding down. Come and enjoy this rooftop bar with good music, great food and a fun vibe. Visit this website for more information.
Where: Pata Pata Restaurant, 286 Fox Street, Jeppestown
"Saguquga sathi bega nantsi Pata Pata." This place is named after Miriam Makeba's famous Pata-Pata song. Come here to listen to great live SA music, eat fairly typical cuisine, couched among easy burgers and salads for the more wary. It's also a popular place among tourists. For more information, click here.
Where: The Third Place, 39 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street, Newtown
If you are around Newtown and are looking for something out of the ordinary, be sure to check this joint out. Here, patrons have the freedom to express themselves socially, artistically, musically and culturally. They define themselves as "the black sheep of the disco scene", a more apt description, we do not have.
Where: The Bannister Hotel, 9 De Beer St, Braamfontein
If you find yourself in Braamfontein, be sure to check out The Bannister Hotel. This 'home away from home' offers the best of both worlds, fun entertainment and delicious dining. Have a good 'ol party any night of the week and crash at this inner-city hotel.
Where: Artivist, 7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein
The Artivist's popularity has been escalating since its opening. An exciting bar, eatery and gallery, it fills a gap in the market in Braam for those who seek a slightly more mature and upmarket venue. With good food and cocktails on the menu, it appeals to the neighbourhood's young professional crowd. So make sure you come on over! Follow them on the 'Gram for more information.
Know of any other great hangouts in Joburg CBD? Let us know about them in the comments section below!
The best way to start any weekend stay-over in a Joburg suburb – or any new destination for that matter – is with a decent plate of food. Head to the harvest table at Love Food on Ameshoff Street, a stone's throw away from Clive van den Berg's eland statue. Take your time here and enjoy the hearty and healthy scenery. Love Food is the type of place where you feel invited to sit back, relax and enjoy a good meal with a fresh juice or decent double-shot cappuccino.
We're staying at Once in Joburg while in Braams, so why not check in before you head out for the night? Braamfontein is the sneaker capital of South Africa, so slip into something comfy and let's get the evening started on the right note, shall we? Once you've got your kicks kitted out, head to The Immigrant Bar, which is located in the hotel, for a little bit of alcohol to get the gears greased for a fun evening. This vibey joint is great for a cocktail, some people watching and to get the engines ready for a fun night ahead. They do serve food but let's keep that appetite building for the big, fat dinner we're having later.
Skip the dirty bar scene and the noisy night club and head to Great Dane on De Beer Street. Here you can relax, have a few drinks, a delicious meal and dance the night way. Their hot dogs come highly recommended and what's better than a yummy dog to start the night? You can wash this down with a refreshing beer and then hit the dance floor. If you're more in the mood for a chilled vibe or if you have had a few too many, you can enjoy the Braam scene outside while still enjoying the luxuries Great Dane has on offer.
Rise and shine. We're just in time for brunch at Post on Juta Street. It's super-hipster but it's cool, we don't mind listening to old-school rock on vinyl records while chowing down a pastrami on rye sandwich. They serve really good coffee and cold drinks too. Their sandwiches are a hit for sure. Be warned though, Post is quite small and you might have someone's elbow in your bifteki breakfast but it's all good – at least the food is worth it.
You find yourself in the middle of Braamfontein on a Saturday afternoon. Where to go? Well, you're in luck. No matter which direction you move, there will be something to do. Take your time and work your way through the Neighbourgoods Market. Here you can expect to find artisan food, boutique wines and live music. It's the kind of place where you rock up, get tipsy and buy random pieces of jewellery for the fun of it. You can also grab something small to eat at the market, like a bowl of paella or a handmade meatball sub.
Round about this time head to Kitchener's Carvery Bar across the road and get ready to dance to live music. Local DJ Andrew Clements rented out Kitchener's for his music sets and this eventually spiralled into the neighbourhood we know today. Grab a drink here, soak up the energy and realise that the city is not such a scary place after all. (With that said, don't wander drunk around the back end of Fordsburg.)
We're staying at Once In Joburg again tonight, and lucky for us they have a pumping night-life at the bar. The bar usually shuts down for the night when the last person standing leaves.. Once In Joburg is an exciting place to meet tourists from all over the world. As a side note, Once In Joburg is one of our favourite places to stay after a night of partying up a storm in town, so book yourself a bed and check out Braamfontein after dark.
Rise and shine. Last night was pretty rowdy, wasn't it? Good. Hey, this is Braamfontein after all, where people work hard and play even harder... when in Rome, and so forth. Let's get you some coffee and something light to eat. Grab something to go at Double Shot (by far the best coffee in the city... don't even bother with the other hipster shops in the area) a block up from Neighbourgoods on Juta Street. If you're not into coffee, then try one of their craft teas.
Let's grab a quick lunch and squeeze in a little more fun before bouncing out of this joint. 86 Public is an artisan pizza place. Here you can have blue cheese and butternut oven-baked pizza on whichever type of dough you prefer (sourdough and banting included). It's a great place to enjoy a Sunday lunch with a bit of craft beer and chilled vibes. After this we recommend a bit of people watching. Take a walk around and soak up the atmosphere.
At the tip-top of Braamfontein is where you will find the Old Fort now known as Constitution Hill. This site played a huge role in shaping of the city. From being the last stand against the British during the Boer War to being used as a women's prison and eventually a prison to hold political refugees, it is a great spot to bring the entire trip to a close. Take your time here and go through the rich yet mundane pictures of the past. We've come a long way. Onwards and upwards.