5 of the best sundowner spots in Joburg and Pretoria
If you follow the “work hard, play hard” mantra, then this guide to the city’s best cocktail scenes is for you.
After all, who wants an average pub vibe when you can have a mixologist creating an exceptional drink for you after a long day or week at the office? And if the place has a great viewing platform or deck, cheers to that spectacular sunset skyline view.
THE ARTISAN COCKTAIL & TAPAS BAR
They offer a range of the finest classic or eccentric cocktails. Of course, you can’t drink on an empty stomach, and their tapas menu helps resolve that problem. What’s fab about this place is that they have wonderful social events, creating a wonderful vibe. Get in there early as it is a popular spot. And the feedback has been largely positive. Ruth Edwards praised: “Great cocktail selection and I loved the bacon-wrapped cheesy jalapeño poppers.”
You should try: The Dewar’s Bramble (75) or the Gin & Sin (R62) cocktails. The prices for artisan specialities can be anything between R54 and R91. They also have a classic cocktails range.
Where: 12 Gleneagles Road, Johannesburg. Open: From noon to 10pm from Monday to Thursday. On Friday, they are open from noon until midnight. On Saturday from 11am to midnight, and on Sunday from 11am to 10pm.
Co-owners Chef Fortunato Mazzone, Marko and Angie Jovancic pour their combined passion, expertise and vision into this breathtaking spot, where elegance meets casual sophistication. Their cigar lounge is as much as a drawcard as the establishment itself. They have a specially engineered ventilation system that expels the smoke and injects fresh air into the room to avoid that traditionally stuffy scene. The gastronomic five-course menu is a highly recommended experience, as is the drinks selection. Their extensive wine selection starts from as little as R55 and can go up quickly, depending on your choice. If you prefer bubbles, they start from R1 300 for a Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV 1300, which has a beautiful golden-straw-yellow hue and boasts floral and fruity aromas. They also have a range of whisky and gin tasting options.
You should try: The Single Millionaire $$$ (R140), which is a Singleton 12YO, Talisker 10YO, Grand Marnier and Raspberry syrup. The Pear-Blossom Martini (R90) is a Lanique Russian Rose infused vodka, triple sec, lemon and pear juice. Cocktails cost between R70 and R140.
Where: 103 Club Avenue, Waterkloof Heights, Pretoria.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm until 1am (kitchen closes at midnight).
THE LIVING ROOM
Game changers in the urban playground of Maboneng Precinct, this place was first introduced to the public in 2012. The setting lends itself beautifully to a relaxing rooftop spot with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Apart from the seamless integration of plants into an innercity space, they have great events where people can grab some friends, chill and enjoy the evening.
You should try: This One Thyme in Brooklyn (R75) with vodka and elderflower liqueur, sweetened with homemade thyme syrup and peach puree, topped with soda water or Living Mule (R60), which is shaken vodka, fresh ginger, lemongrass and ginger lemonade. You can buy wine by the glass or bottle and bubbles will cost anything from R380 to R450.
Where: 20 Kruger Street, 5th Floor Main Change Building, Maboneng Precinct.
Open: Wednesday and Thursday from 11am until 9pm. Friday and Saturday from 10am until 10pm. Sunday from 10am until 8pm.
THE WINE BAR
Vilakazi Street is synonymous with Soweto. Apart from being a world-famous tourist attraction, this place has an incredible buzz. And The Wine Bar is located on the upper end of this popular street. Apart from the fabulous menu, which boasts a fusion of Africa and flavours from all over the globe, they have a cigar lounge and a wine cellar stocked with a fine range of South African as well as international wines. They also have the South African Methode Cap Classique (MCC).
You should try: Bottom line, whether you are looking to sip on French wine, enjoy a beer, cocktails, whisky, brandy or cognac, you will find your needs catered for. Be sure to check on the prices first to avoid any awkward situations afterwards.
Where: 7165 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto.
Open: Monday to Friday from 11am until 10pm, and on the weekend from 11am until 11pm.
SAN DECK, BAR & RESTAURANT
This is a great spot all year round. It’s also a great meeting point, for business or pleasure. They have a food and bar menu with great options. And the views from here are nothing short of breathtaking. Also, it is spacious, boasts trendy décor and has loads of comfortable spots to chill at. Did I mention the selfie and Instagram opportunities are plentiful? If you stop by for a sundowner, they have a wide selection of local beers, ciders, gin, agave, rum, whisky, vodka, witblits and mampoer. From Thursday to Saturday there is a resident DJ creating the perfect vibe. You should try: Their cocktails are designed by a mixologist. They have an exciting range of Autograph G&Ts, signature cocktails, beertails and craft shooters. Try the Elderflower and Basil gin cocktail (R85) or the San Sunset (R75), which is Mhoba dark rum, 1883 agave, passion fruit, lime juice and Angostura. Expect to pay anywhere from R55 to R85.
Where: Corner Fifth and Alice Streets, Sandton.
Open: Monday to Sunday from 9am until 10.30pm.