Photo: Mandela Square in Johannesburg © CAMERON HUGHES | DREAMSTIME.COM
As the fourth-largest city in Africa, Johannesburg — also called Jozi or Joburg — offers lots of activity for the after-work crowd, from revitalized historic downtowns vibrant with afterglow energy to theater, comedy and a bustling LGBTQ scene. This multicultural and multidimensional city knows how to party.
Once a deteriorating inner-city business hub, today Braamfontein celebrates an urban renewal success story. Home to the University of Witwatersrand along with creative professionals and multinational companies, the economic and entertainment hub abounds with eateries and nightlife options. Check out Randlords, a rooftop bar located on the 22nd floor of South Point Towers, for a stupendous 360-degree view of Johannesburg. New to the nightlife scene and known for great food, Great Dane features floors plastered in copper coins. Johannesburg’s oldest pub, The Guildhall, is known for Portuguese favorites like peri-peri roast chicken, steaks and local beers.
For a touch of class, head to The VIP Room in the heart of Sandton District. Glamour easily mixes with casual. Encounter luxury VIP booths and designer bars at Madison Avenue, where music pulls from the hits of the 1990s and early 2000s. Craving designer drinks? Head to the Ratz Bar for a Ratz Poison cocktail.
Make a date with theater for an evening of dance, drama or musical productions at the Alexander Theatre or the Joburg Theatre Complex. The Market Theatre complex located in the inner-city suburb of Newton showcases modern South African playwriting. It first hit the scene with anti-apartheid plays in the 1970s and 1980s.
The thriving nightlife scene includes dedicated clubs and bars that cater to LGBTQ social circles. However, many of these establishments also welcome anyone interested in partying the night away. The open-minded scene in South Africa stems from its post-apartheid constitution: South Africa was the first country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The leading gay bar for “people of color and those who appreciate color” is Simply Blue. Beefcakes guarantees a fun-filled evening that includes great food with vegetarian options, while Babylon Bar is known for its sexy barmen and stylish décor.