Nightlife in Johannesburg

Johannesburg has a lively nightlife, with bars and discos that are constantly changing. In Soweto and other townships, nightlife focuses on the shebeens (informal pubs, often in residential buildings) or the right pubs (a bit more sophisticated than shebeens, sometimes with live music). You shouldn’t go out alone in Soweto – but always accompanied by a South African resident, or on a guided Shebeen tour (see Soweto in The most important sights ).

The rest of the city has plenty of places to go out, from male and sport-dominated pubs to chic cocktail or hotel bars. Each district has its own nightlife. Melville is particularly popular, and there are dozens of small bars along Seventh Street and adjacent streets that invite you for a drink, half inside and half outside. The northern districts such as Rosebank, Norwood, Rivonia and Orange Grove tend to attract the more deserving revelers. In the Central Business District, Newtown is popular again late at night.

The hearty songs and irresistible dance rhythms of  Kwaito  (South African pop music) can be heard everywhere in Johannesburg, they boom out of taxis, clubs and night clubs and play at street parties. The genre uses native languages ​​and street slang in its songs, which reflect life in South Africa, which has a special South African dance and clothing style.

Night clubs are usually open until very late because there are no real alcohol serving laws in South Africa. Alcohol can be consumed from the age of 18, although some clubs require a minimum age of 21 or 25. Some finer hotels and night clubs expect casual, elegant clothing. You can wear pretty much anything in the other clubs. There is usually an admission fee, especially if live music is offered. Sometimes entry before 10 p.m. is free. The website is highly recommended for more information on Johannesburg nightlife .

Cultural event

Everywhere in Johannesburg small projects and artistic developments emerge that cast a spell over and entertain everyone – including funny comedy appearances, great operas, art exhibitions, theater performances in small groups and poetic readings at numerous venues. The lively theater scene and the annual festivals in Johannesburg, which cover almost every artistic area, also offer an exciting opportunity to get to know the different aspects of the city’s cultural life.

Event lists can be found in the supplement to  Tonight , the city’s most important daily newspaper,  The Star (Internet: ). Daily updated lists of events in Johannesburg are available online at . A good online city guide (Internet: ) provides lists of art exhibitions in the city.

Tickets for cultural events are available from Computicket (Tel: (011) 340 80 00 or (083) 915 80 00, Internet: ), the largest national reservation system that also has sales stands in larger shopping centers.


Catz Pajamas restaurant and pub

The Catz Pajamas Restaurant and Pub, Melville’s Main Road, is open 24 hours. After a long night of partying, you can have breakfast on the wrought-iron balcony of the old building and watch the sun rise.

Address: Melville’s Main Road, Johannesburg

Roxy rhythm bar

The Roxy Rhythm Bar, Main Road, is a laid-back place for a drink and a game of pool, but it can get crowded when bands from the area play live music in the evening.

Address: Main Road, Johannesburg

The Ratz Bar

The Ratz Bar, Seventh Street, is a dynamic young bar.

Address: Seventh Street, Johannesburg

Xai Xai

The Xai Xai, Seventh Street, attracts artists more and offers a long list of cocktails and cuisine with Mozambican influences.

Address: Seventh Street, Johannesburg

Cool runnings

The Reggae Bar Cool Runnings, Fourth Avenue, occasionally hosts live comedy.

Address: Fourth Avenue, Johannesburg

Radium Beer Hall

One of the city’s oldest bars is Radium Beer Hall, 282 Louis Botha Avenue, in Orange Grove. Opened as a tea shop in 1929, it became a beer hall in 1944. The long counter is an original piece from the Ferreirastown Hotel from the early mining days.

Address: 282 Louis Botha Avenue, Johannesburg

Park Hyatt Hotel

If you want to see and be seen, you should go to the chic Park Hyatt Hotel, Oxford Road, in the suburb of Rosebank. In the trendy bar, people like to meet for a nice drink after work.

Address: Oxford Road, Johannesburg


The well-heeled residents of the northern borough meet at Katzy’s, Oxford Road & Bierman Avenue, which is located in the Hyatt Shopping Center. You sit in thick sofas and enjoy soft blues music and the rich offer of cigars, cognacs and whiskeys.

Address: Oxford Road & Bierman Avenue, Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela Square

In Sandton, the trendy bars are located around the atmospheric Nelson Mandela Square, Cnr Rivonia Road and 5th Street, next to the Sandton City shopping center. The square is reminiscent of an Italian piazza. You sit under trees with twinkling lights and under the care of the six-meter Nelson Mandela statue.

Address: Cnr Rivonia Road and 5th Street, Johannesburg

Melrose Arch

Melrose Arch, accessible via Corlett Drive in Melrose, is another piazza-like complex with many trendy restaurants and cafes. We recommend the chic bar in the Melrose Arch Hotel with its beautiful dark wooden counter, leather armchairs and original African decoration.

Address: Corlett Drive, Johannesburg


Monsoon Lagoon

The most distinguished dance club in Johannesburg is the Monsoon Lagoon in the Monsoon Lagoon at Emperor’s Palace, 64 Jones Road, in Kempton Park, which is equipped with professional GoGo dancers, extravagant lighting and furnishings as well as the latest sound technology.

Address: 64 Jones Road, Johannesburg

Buzz 9

One of the many trendy nightclubs in Melville is Buzz 9, Seventh Street. There are oversized mirrors, chic pillows and DJs regularly.

Address: Seventh Street, Johannesburg

Tokyo Star

Tokyo Star, Fourth Avenue in Melville, is decorated in the style of Japanese pop culture and offers sushi.

Address: Fourth Avenue, Johannesburg

Newtowns Horror Cafe

Newtown’s Horror Cafe, 15 Miriam Makeba Street, is decorated with horror items; African music is played on weekends, including kwaito.

Address: 15 Miriam Makeba Street, Johannesburg


Go to Carfax, 39 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street, if you want to see performance art (literally: demonstrated art) with your beer. On the weekends, raves are also held on three dance floors. The Carfax is also a good place to listen to Kwaito (South African pop music).

Address: 39 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street, Johannesburg

The Rock

The Rock, 1987 Vundla Street, Rockville, is one of the hippest clubs in Soweto, offering kwaito (South African pop music) and jazz, a large bar, a rooftop terrace and a dance floor.

Address: 1987 Vundla Street, Johannesburg


Reality, 248 Jeppe Street, which has three dance floors and plays a mix of hip hop, house and drum’n’bass, is popular for raves.

Address: 248 Jeppe Street, Johannesburg


What is needed is the bump, corner of Alexander Road and Aitken Road.

Address: Johannesburg

Live music

Blues room

The Blues Room, Village Walk in Sandton, is a popular place for good jazz music.

Address: Village Walk, Johannesburg

The Bassline

Formerly based in Melville, The Bassline has moved to Newtown Music Hall in Newtown. Many local live bands (such as Tananas, who have performed with Sting and Paul Simon) play in the still most popular jazz and blues club.

Address: Newtown Music Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg

The Songwriter’s Club

In Newtown’s The Songwriter’s Club, Carr Street, young musicians perform, including hip hop singers from the townships

Address: Carr Street, Johannesburg


Kippies, at 121 Bree Street, in the Market Theater, hosts very good (and therefore packed) jazz nights.

Address: 121 Bree Street, Johannesburg

Roxy rhythm bar

In Melville, the Roxy Rhythm Bar, Main Road, is more aimed at students, but despite its rock-and-burger atmosphere, you can always be sure of seeing a few good local live bands.

Address: Main Road, Johannesburg

Rosebanks Village Walk Complex

At Rosebanks Village Walk Complex, Rivonia Road, there is the dark, smoky blues room, which is considered the best jazz and blues club in town.

Address: Rivonia Road, Johannesburg

Radium Beer Hall

Radium Beer Hall, 282 Louis Botha Avenue, offers live music four days a week, and a 19-piece jazz band plays every first Sunday of the month.

Address: 282 Louis Botha Avenue, Johannesburg

Classical music

Dance factory

The Dance Factory, President Street, Newtown Cultural Precinct, brings numerous international and local artists to the stage and often mixes classic and ethnic styles.

Address: President Street, Johannesburg
Phone: (011) 833 13 47


Civic Theater Complex

The Civic Theater Complex, Loveday Street, Braamfontein, includes the Nelson Mandela Theater (formerly called Civic Main), the Tesson, Thabong and Pieter Ross theaters, and an art gallery. The screenings mainly include local productions, musicals, ballet performances, comedy and pantomines (depending on the season). The incredibly strong, 26-member Soweto Gospel Choir performs here regularly.

Address: Loveday Street, Johannesburg
Phone: (011) 877 68 00

Market Theater Company

Since 1976 and the days of protest theater, the Market Theater Company, 121 Bree Street, Newtown, has gained a reputation for performing plays that are socially critical.

Address: 121 Bree Street, Johannesburg
Phone: (011) 832 16 41

Montecasino Theater

The Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theater, Shop 65, Montecasino Boulevard, on the corner of William Nicol Drive and Witkoppen Road, Fourways, which belongs to a large impresario who gave the establishment its name, offers both new and established artists the opportunity to grow and trying out new directions. A new theater with 1,900 seats was added to the complex. This was specially built for the performance of the South African version of ‘The Lion King’, which took place here until 2008.

Address: Cnr William Nicol Drive – Witkoppen Road, Johannesburg
Phone: (011) 511 18 18

The Sound Stage

A well-known person from the theater and cabaret scene, Richard Loring, runs the dinner theater The Sound Stage, Old Pretoria Road, Midrand.

Address: Old Pretoria Road, Johannesburg
Phone: (011) 315 50 84