Where it was once the exclusive province of chin-stroking hipsters, craft beer is fast becoming a staple in South Africa’s trendiest drinking establishments. Head into most restaurants, bars and nightclubs and you’ll usually find they have one or two beverages to cater for craft beer aficionados.
However, for those patrons who want to focus on their love of micro-breweries and their wares, Johannesburg is becoming something of a hotspot. So, craft beer fans, enjoy our handy list – and remember to take an Uber if you decide to step out.
The Craft Beer Library
If you’re a craft beer fan and you’ve never heard of the CBL, shame on you. This restaurant and beer boutique has an exhaustive range of craft beers and ciders, as well as a rotating cast of guest ales on tap. Furthermore, the CBL hosts evenings where brewers and creators can show their wares and tell their stories to patrons. This is an essential destination for beer and cider aficionados. Tucked away on 3rd Avenue near 6th Street in leafy Linden, the CBL is the perfect venue for friends to meet up for a pint or two.
- The Craft Beer Library website
- Address: 3rd Ave near 6th Street, Linden
This impressive drinking establishment – the Joburg version of Long Street’s famous bar – is a must-visit for craft beer lovers. Boasting 20 taps and 99 bottles of some of the best beverages around, Beerhouse Fourways offers both local and international fare with ales from Belgium, the USA, the UK and more rubbing shoulders with South Africa’s best. On top of that, the place’s friendly atmosphere and reasonable pricing ensure a great afternoon out with friends.
- Beerhouse website
- Address: 1 Sunset Avenue, corner of Witkoppen Road, Fourways
Whether you’re after a cheeky after work craft beer or a weekend sit-down with mates, The Foundry in Parktown North has you covered. On tap, this bar-come-bistro offers a plethora of fantastic ales – Franky Four Fingers, Darling Slow Beer, Jack Black Reserve Lager and Naked Mexican among them – and bottle beer running the gamut from Castle, to Devil’s Peak, to Stella Artois to Brew Dog to a selection from CBC. Its cider menu isn’t half bad either. On top of that its menu is groaning with mouthwatering fare for dining parties of any size – sharing platters, curries, burgers and more pizzas than you can shake a stick at. Try to leave room for dessert, though.
- The Foundry website
- Address: 3rd Avenue, Parktown Quarter, Parktown North
Formerly the Stanley Beer Yard, Calexico offer the same vibe as its predecessor with a North American/Mexican twist. The menu offers a a variety of Mexican fare such as corn, jalapeno and chimichurri with very American pairings like BBQ-sauce drenched meats, coleslaw and good old-fashioned apple pie. There’s a rather expanded cocktail menu on offer, but beer lovers will be glad to know that old staples like Brixton Bitter, Rekorderlig and OC Brewery are still available. To top it off, Calxico still boasts the best beer garden in Joburg, bar none.
- Calexcio website
- Address: 44 Stanley Avenue, Braamfontein Werf
You didn’t think you’d finish this list without a nod to Melville, did you? And while Joburg’s bohemian Mecca boasts a fine selection of bars – Hell’s Kitchen, Jo’Anna Melt Bar and Mootee among them – if you’re after a decent selection of craft beers to down with your meal or bar snacks, head in the direction of The Countess. Tucked away in 27 Boxes on 4th Avenue, this steampunk bar offers a decent selection of craft bottled beer and a vast array of ales on tap including brews from MAD Giant, Darling Brew, Dragon Brewery and Poison City.
- The Countess website
- Address: 27 Boxes, 75 4th Ave, Melville