Watch thought-provoking theatre and sample craft beers and rare spirits in the bustling city of Johannesburg. At night, this is where young crowds spill out of lively jazz clubs in café-lined streets, and exclusive venues cater to the tastes of an elite clientele.
Experience the charming culture of Newtown
The vibrant inner-city suburb of Newtown, located in the Central Business District, is also known as Johannesburg's creative capital. When the sun sets the moody sounds of jazz and blues float out onto the streets, and young professionals flock to the area's melting pot of packed bars and niche performance venues.
Beer aficionados can explore the SAB World of Beer, where an interactive tour of the beverage's history and cultural influences takes you from Egyptian tombs to dusty mining towns. You'll also have the opportunity to taste a traditional South African Chibuku and enjoy two complimentary drinks in the Tap Room; try the Flying Fish if you prefer a stronger malt flavour or a fruit juice-infused Castle Milk Stout for a refreshing tipple.
Newton is also home to the famous Market Theatre, an institution that's played a significant role in the country's political history. What originally started out as Johannesburg’s Indian Fruit Market in 1913 became South Africa’s ‘Theatre of the Struggle', voicing opposition against the apartheid era. Today the Market Theatre is still keenly focussed on supporting the progression of the country's society through art, putting on acclaimed political plays including Woza Albert! and Asinamali.
The area's iconic Bassline, meanwhile, is the place to go to listen to up-and-coming musical stars; this 20-year-old venue has played host to some of the nation's most famous talents, including African folk singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela and pianist Paul Hanmer.
Marvel at Melville's free spirit
Many party-goers head west towards Melville, enticed by its bohemian charm. The streets are filled with an eclectic mix of restaurants; visit Lucky Bean for unusual dishes like Asian-spiced ostrich fillet, or Poppy's for beautifully seasoned, simply cooked seafood.
Next you could wander through 7th Street where artists, students and fashionistas stand sipping cocktails on the pavements outside bars. Try a few yourself before heading to Buzz 9, a favourite local club known for its industrial interior and vast cocktail menu. Its Beach Buzz is a house special, mixing gin, vodka and peach schnapps with zesty orange juice and sharp grapefruit.
Around the corner is Cats Pyjamas, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Primarily a restaurant, you can enjoy live musical performances from burlesque to jazz here, whilst dining on seared T-bone steak or gently braised oxtail.
Indulge in decadence in Rivonia and Rosebank
Wealthy merrymakers find their way to Rivonia, Rosebank, Norwood and Orange Grove. In the Design District of Rosewood you'll find Katzy's, a renowned cigar lounge which also has an extensive spirits collection, including over 100 whiskies, cognacs and bourbons. Its star attraction is the rare Richard Hennessy cognac, an expertly balanced blend of sweet vanilla and floral notes, gently spiced with pepper.
Another popular hotspot in the commercial districts is Rivonia's The Manhattan Club. Just a 15-minute taxi ride from the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton, this venue features eight bars, many of which cater to specific niches; one only serves shooters whilst another stocks the most exclusive whiskeys and cigars.