Grabbing a drink after work with your colleagues or a group of friends has become a popular way to de-stress after a long day of paperwork and insipid meetings. These social gatherings allow people to share their week’s plans and vent (or boast) about their job.
The after-work drinks culture has become quite popular for South Africans - especially for those living Cape Town and Johannesburg. These two cities have a string of bars and restaurants that attract a large group of working folk.
Durban is slowly catching up. A range of bars and restaurants in Durban are creating innovative alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to attract new customers.
Some claim that you will never find certain cocktails and drink creations anywhere else in the country. But the after-work drinks culture was not always popular among Durbanites. There was a time before the hashtag #GNT flooded your Instagram feed and craft beers were the talk of the town when many people skipped the after-work culture for early nights.
Durban experts claim that after-work hangouts are very much alive in the city.
They say it’s an opportunity for people to catch up with friends and treat themselves to cocktails and beers.
Justin Sewpershad, the food and beverage manager at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, said different areas in Durban catered for different markets.
“People are constantly keeping up with the trends and are influenced by social media to find popular after-work hangouts. They want to sample a new cocktail or relax with a glass of bubbly or wine after a busy day,” he said.
Sewpershad said patrons came in as early as 3pm, depending on how flexible their working hours had been.
Charles Carlata, the owner of The Charlatan, says Durban isn’t as big as some other South African cities, but many millennials meet on a weekday for a glass of wine or a pint of beer.
He says this has been a trend in uMhlanga Village, which is known for its vibey bars and restaurants.
He opens at 4pm to cater to professionals who enjoy meeting for a social gathering after work.
Laurence Dinsdale, the owner of Dropkick Murphys on Florida Road, says there are two busy times, from 5.30pm and after 8pm.
“Some of these meetings are planned while some are impromptu. I think a lot of people want to visit budget-friendly places to socialise. A view would be a bonus,” he says.
If you want to go for an after-work drink, here are some suggestions:
Panorama Bar, Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani
Whether you want a glass of sparkling wine or a cocktail, Panorama Bar serves that and more. With picturesque views of the Indian Ocean and ships in the distance, there is no better place to start your evening.
Try the Whiskyjinga with apple juice and honey and the Tall Tanq, a type of G&T. Both are R90. Call 0313621300
Lighthouse Bar, The Oyster Box
The Lighthouse Bar at The Oyster Box is the perfect place to watch the sunset with the uMhlanga lighthouse in the distance. The red and white theme mirrors the lighthouse and is a perfect backdrop for some memorable snaps. Try their signature uMhlanga Sling (R105) or their non-alcoholic Ginger Rock Shandy (R70). There is also a gin menu (drinks start from R90). Call 0315145000
14 on Chartwell, uMhlanga Village
This restaurant is perfect for those who want to listen to good music while sipping on some delicious cocktails. They are known for their signature Giant G&Ts, which range from R50. Popular choices include Pomegranate and Blood Orange and Pink Panther.
Their signature cocktails, The 1942 (R80) and The Rosey Ten (R85), are firm favourites. Call 0315611017
Greedy Buddha, uMhlanga
If you have a tight budget, you will be pleased to know that Greedy Buddha offers 50% off all cocktails every day before 6pm. Try their signature Tom Yam Siam (R55) and Greedy Buddha (R49). Call 0315664383
The Sandbar is the perfect sundowner spot that merges good food with a range of delicious cocktail and craft drink options.
Situated opposite the beach, guests can feel the ocean breeze as they sample the cuisine and beverage options. Try the Scorpion Caipirinha (R75) or Sexy Umdloti Beach (R65). Call 0315682140
Lucky Shaker, uMhlanga
With more than 30 cocktails on the menu, Lucky Shaker is one of the city’s most popular cocktail bars.
The team uses the finest ingredients to create out-of-this-world cocktails. Try the Trick Question, a grapefruit infused gin with blackberry syrup, pineapple juice and soda, or the Blush with gin, cranberry, elderflower and a Turkish Delight garnish. Both are R65. Call 0845672565.