Despite being over 8,000 miles from London, Johannesburg is packed with a vibrant selection of pubs. While this development may be shocking to some visitors, it makes sense after examining the city’s booming tourism statistics. Boasting a population of 5.6 million, Johannesburg is easily the most populous city in South Africa. This country depends heavily on tourism, since it makes up 8.6% of the national economy. Over 16.6 million national and international visitors are forecasted to visit South Africa in 2019, and this migration is having a major impact on the hospitality industry.
Now that nearly one in ten jobs revolves around tourists, plenty of venues have sprung up to cater to this new wave of visitors. Last year the number of international travelers surged by 1.7%, which put it at 8.6 million. Out of this phenomenal number of tourists, over half of them passed through Johannesburg. A major amount of these travelers hail from London, which creates a resounding demand for pubs. Encouraged by the hunger of the market, various pubs have popped up across the city. There are dozens of pubs within the downtown area of the city alone, and this welcome selection puts visitors in an interesting predicament.
Thanks to the never-ending amount of pubs, picking the best venue to grab a pint in Johannesburg can be a daunting task. From established classics to revamped hotspots, there are literally too many pubs for one person to visit in one trip. The average tourist spends 10 nights in Johannesburg, which means the pressure is on to make every night memorable. To guide our readers to a good time, we compiled a list of the best pubs in Johannesburg. This city’s nightlife is just as vibrant as its culture, so don’t miss out on the action!
Top Pubs in Johannesburg
Pub #3: Jolly Roger – For better or worse, this boisterous bar has made a name for itself in Johannesburg. Better known as the “Jolly” by locals, visitors will be hard pressed to find a more lively bar to drink in. Their pints are cheap and the food is served quickly, which has made it a favorite amongst students and frugal travelers alike. From football to rugby, no match is neglected at this venue. It’s known for getting rowdy, so stop by if you want to tastefully let loose during your trip!
Pub #2: The Irish Club – During his term in the country, the Irish Ambassador to South Africa decided that Johannesburg needed an authentic Irish pub. In 2002, he made this dream a reality by opening the Irish Club. By expertly blending local flavor with Irish tradition, this pub is in a league of its own. The robust drink list is complimented by potjiekos competitions and a warm atmosphere. Their motto is “céad míle fáilte”, which translates to “100,000 welcomes”. The club’s mission is providing a good time through conversation, fun and music, so don’t hesitate to get a dose of cheer!
Pub #1: Gilroy’s Brewery – When this daring venue opened its doors in 2000, Gilroy’s was one of the first microbreweries in South Africa. Through a series of innovative releases, they quickly made a name for themselves as having the best beer in Johannesburg. Their ales were so enticing that they ended up captivating the author of the James Bond series, Jeffery Deaver. He included Gilroy’s Serious Dark Ale in the Carte Blanche novel as James Bond’s drink of choice while in Africa. This was one of many public endorsements, since all of their brews are decorated with multiple awards. The beer is accompanied by quality food and a friendly environment, so get lost in this inviting pub!