A Hedonist's Guide to Johannesburg: Best Places to Party

By Andrew Ludwig

1) E.S.P.
As one of the longest-running dance clubs in South Africa—14 years, to be precise—it's no surprise that E.S.P. has a legion of loyal supporters. Cramming hours of dance, trance and house music into just one Saturday evening per week, club-goers can expect a side order of sweat with their Sambuca at this multi-floored establishment. With such a good reputation for credible club music, it's no wonder the likes of Tiesto, Sebastian Ingrosso, Sonique and Benny Benassi have played here. Take your shirt off and wave your hands in the air like you just don't care if you want to fit in.

2) Blues Room
The Blues Room is a long-standing venue that has supported jazz and blues for over 15 years. The club is set in a basement in the centre of Village Walk Shopping Centre in Sandton Central, but that's not to say it's any less upmarket. Serving up decent food alongside plenty of live entertainment—including jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll and comedy—it attracts an older, mostly white crowd.

3) Fashion TV Café
Part of Fashion TV's international chain of chic cafés, FTV Café in Sandton is as sought after as you might expect with style mavens flocking in their droves to see and be seen. Attracting a cookie-cutter crowd of mostly male and female models, the food is kept light and healthy with plenty of sushi on offer and an extensive cocktail list for those who prefer a liquid-only diet (and lets' face it, what model doesn't?). Local DJs take to the decks after dinner, when the equally high-heeled clientele purr around the floor in their designer finery. Thursdays are particularly busy, so book a table to ensure you get a space for the evening. With a door policy that won't admit anyone under 23, this is fabulous yuppie fun at its most exclusive.

4) Rose Boys
There's something a little bit rebellious about Rose Boys, a bar described by its owner Kerry Edgar as a "nice little hole in the wall." The décor is suitably eclectic, with a black-and-pink checkerboard entrance and interiors decked out with statues, chandeliers and paintings. Managed by Kerry herself, you can guarantee the bar is run exactly as she planned; superb cocktails served up against a backdrop of tunes that range from jazz to Bob Sinclar. The one thing that does offend her otherwise happy patrons, however, are the drink prices, which vary from order to order. If you're lucky enough to order from the landlady herself, she does reward loyalty by lowering the prices on every round you buy. There's no logic or purpose to this, it's just what Kerry wants. And what Kerry wants, Kerry gets—including a hugely popular haunt crammed with a crowd that lap up the chaos.

5) Tokyo Star
Anime and plenty of plastic are the order of the day at Tokyo Star, an Asian-inspired destination bar in Greenside. Once a Mecca for casual partygoers in Old Melville, its new location doesn't mean it's lost any of its cool credentials —it has simply grown up, with classier interiors and an equally chic clientele that has replaced the Converses with smart shoes and heels. Talented DJs pump out a mix of old and new hits that span genres, while a bar serves up drinks such as Jaegermeister are more than reasonable. Just watch out for the 10 per cent surcharge when paying with a credit card—cheeky buggers!

To discover more of Johannesburg’s hottest hotels, restaurants, clubs, and bars, order your copy of A Hedonist’s Guide to… Johannesburg here.

Published: 12 May 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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