Joburg’s 8 must-try cocktail spots that we know you'll love

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There’s something about a tall icy drink with an umbrella in it that instantly makes you feel as if you’re on holiday, even if the beach is far, far away. Read on for our top spots to enjoy a decadent cocktail – or three…

Saigon Suzie

What we like most about the cocktail menu at this buzzing Parkwood spot is that old-fashioned favourites have all been given an Asian twist to match the scrumptious food. You cannot go wrong with an orange Blossom Fizz, made with mandarin vodka, yuzu and orange bitters with a dash of MCC, or the Lotus Flower, a concoction of vodka, lavender syrup and litchi and champers that’s almost too pretty to sip. The best part? For those going the dry route, everything on the menu can be ordered as a mocktail.

The Royale

While the Cuban menu brings to mind all sorts of island delights (lamb chops basted with citrus yoghurt and ceviche feature among the mains), the cocktail options have been carefully tailored to mirror the vibe, with all kinds of rum-inspired mixes tempting the tastebuds. There’s a Cuba Libre (of course!) on the menu, as well as a classic daiquiri and Long Island Ice Tea.

Social Kitchen & Bar

It has to be said that finding your way inside this gorgeous restaurant isn’t always easy – not because it’s hard to find, but because it’s location inside Exclusive Books means that it’s almost impossible to resists a browse of the latest bestsellers. Your perseverance will be richly rewarded, though: the view over the Hyde Park treetops is nothing short of breathtaking, and an excellent backdrop for a range of drinks that is (fittingly) inspired by literary classics. The Invisible Man (which takes a cue from HG Wells’ science fiction masterpiece) is a firm favourite: deceptively innocent in its water-like appearance, it’s a delicious blend of Christmas spice, apple, vanilla and bourbon.

Blind Tiger

The sumptuous 1920s décor of this Parkview speakeasy is absolutely alluring. And the cocktail list certainly lives up to the promise. The Great Gatsby comes very highly recommended; a must for gin lovers, featuring elderflower cordial and sours mix with tonic, or try the Woowoo, with vodka, schnapps and cranberry. What’s to eat? Try the quesadillas or the Korean chicken wings.

Sin + Tax

There’s something very special about a hideaway bar that very few people know about. Tucked behind the fabulous Coalition pizzeria (swiftly gaining fans for its Neapolitan-style bases), the drinks mixed here are like nothing you’ve tried before. Featuring ingredients like beetroot and black pepper, they’re more akin to art than alcohol – and the menu changes with the seasons.

Al Lado

Visitors to Che Argentinian Grill will already be familiar with this addition to the restaurant. Wash down your Spanish tapas with specialist drinks made from organic herbs and spices, choosing from a menu of classic cocktails or making your own (with a little guidance from the bar tender).


The cocktails at this stunning viewpoint are all named for different types of marble – and there’s something for every taste and any moment. For example, winter evenings call for hot buttered rum, while the Italian Rose (gin, lime juice and Moet et Chandon) is perfect for toasting a summer sundown.

Mootee Bar

This stunning new Melville bar is a tribute to Africa’s richness and abundance; an ethos that reflects in its use of local-only ingredients on both the cocktail and food menus. Nibbles include the likes of springbok rolls (with baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, caramelised onion and chutney salt) while the drinks – from Umkombothi Royale to brandewyn en Coke – are inspired by moments in South African history. 


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