Summer is officially here, and whether you’re into laid-back breweries or vibrant gin bars, Johannesburg has nightlife spots to slake your thirst. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 summer night hotspots. From rooftop bars to trendy cocktails bars voted amongst the best in the world, you’re guaranteed to hang around for more than one round.

1. Mootee Bar – Melville

Having just been voted one of the best cocktail bars in the world by the Spirited Awards, Mootee serves up a unique African vibe and takes its place as the only African Bar on the continent to claim a place among what has been called the ‘Oscars of the bar industry’.

Explore Sideways Mootee
Image credit: Mootee
Explore Sideways Mootee
Image credit: Mootee

2. Living Room – Maboneng

Undoubtedly one of the coolest places located in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world (Maboneng officially voted by Forbes Magazine). This rooftop bar is filled with greenery and offers one of the best views of the Johannesburg skyline and a stunning African sunset.

Explore Sideways Living Room
Image credit: Living Room
Explore Sideways Living Room
Image credit: Living Room

3. Tonic Gin Bar – Linden

Linden is fast becoming one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Joburg, with incredible new restaurants, bars and cafes constantly popping up. Tonic claims its unique place by serving a wide variety of exceptional gins and gin cocktails in a vibrant and exciting setting. The words ‘Good Vibes Only’ lay on the floor across the doorway as you enter.

Explore Sideways Tonic
Image credit: Eat Out
Explore Sideways Tonic
Image credit: Eat Out

4. Brian Lara Rum Bar – Linden

Emerging as the first Rum Bar in Johannesburg, Brian Lara takes its name from the famous West Indies’ cricketer and serves a surprisingly delicious selection of Rums both local and international. The vibe is tropical, delightful and a firm local favourite.

Explore Sideways Brian Lara
Image credit: Dining-OUT
Explore Sideways Brian Lara
Image credit: Dining-OUT

5. Marble – Rosebank

One of the more refined bars in Johannesburg, Marble is not only one of the best restaurants in Johannesburg but has spectacular views over Rosebank and surrounds – the perfect pairing for its amazing list of wines.

Explore Sideways Marble
Image credit: Marble
Explore Sideways Marble
Image credit: Marble

6. Mad Giant – Ferreiras Dorp

Mad Giant breweries is located at the popular 1 Fox space and is surrounded by restaurants, galleries, distilleries, food stalls and an incredibly popular weekend market. The brewery offers tastings and tours, and of course a delicious selection of locally made beer.

Explore Sideways Mad Giant
Image credit: Mad Giant
Explore Sideways Mad Giant
Image credit: In Your Pocket

7. Street Bar Named Desire – Parkwood

Located in Parkwood and overlooking Art Gallery Row on Jan Smuts Avenue, this venue is known not only for its first-floor terrace, but it’s stunning emerald and jade interiors and an array of cocktails.

Explore Sideways A Streetbar Named Desiree
Image credit: In Your Pocket
Explore Sideways A Streetbar Named Desiree
Image credit: In Your Pocket

8. Katy’s Palace Bar – Kramerville

Overlooking the financial hub of Sandton, Katy’s draws inspiration from Indian palaces of old – spaces for royal enjoyment and relaxation. This theme is carried through to cater for modern and urban guests wanting to step out of from the norm of the day-to-day hustle and bustle.

Explore Sideways Katy's
Image credit: Charles Johnston
Explore Sideways Katy's
Image credit: Afar

9. Zwipi Underground Bar – Marshaltown

One of the more unique bars on the list, Zwipi is located on Ghandi Square, in a long-forgotten bank vault which has been refurbished and repurposed as an eclectic dining and social space.

Explore Sideways Zwipi
Image credit: Thunderwalker
Explore Sideways Zwipi
Image credit: Joburg

10. Churchills – Melrose

A classic upmarket British bar in the heart of Melrose, Churchill’s offers connoisseurs an array of the finest cigars and one of the largest collections of single Malts, Premium Whiskeys and Champagnes.

Explore Sideways Churchill Bar
Image credit: Churchill Bar
Explore Sideways Churchill Bar
Image credit: Heather Hook