Hello Joburgers, if you love a good show, and a night out on the town,…
Nightlife in the City of Gold may always be in flux, but for the LGBTQ community, some places will always be home. Whether you’re seeking out some landmarks to learn about queer history or your quest is more hedonistic and vibrant clubs are your thing, there’s more than enough to keep you busy.
READ MORE ON DINING OUT HERE.
For … drag dining at its finest
Occupying a prominent spot on the Illovo nightlife scene, Beefcakes is regularly voted one of Joburg’s best LGBTQ venues. Nightly performances, beefy table hosts, mouth-watering burgers and Sex and the City Cosmo cocktails are just a few reasons to visit this place that welcomes everyone and anyone looking to experience drag dining. It’s a little classier than local rival Babylon, but it attracts a broadly similar crowd and the young, up-for-it vibe is just as much fun. And, fear not, because when this door closes, another opens next door – with a later license and even louder pop songs.
Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo
011 447 5266
For … a dance-all-night vibe
Joburg’s famous Babylon – The Bar has everything you’d except: Cheap drink offers on weekends, a young crowd and plenty of Britney. It’s spread over two floors, with a dedicated booth area that never seems to empty out. Most Joburgers over the age of 25 profess to hate it, but they’ll still end up here a few times a year, tossing back half-price tequilas and dancing until the sun comes up. We should probably also mention that it’s possible to get picked up in less time than it takes to finish a drink here. Gays, lesbians and straights are all welcome nonetheless!
Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo
011 447 3215
READ MORE ON FOOD AND DRINK HERE.
For … 1980s pop, rock and disco
Melville cuties can call Ratz Bar their own. This classic, no-attitude gay bar has outlasted many other drinkeries on the strip due to its combination of cosy couches, generous happy hours and friendly bartenders. Home to a friendly crowd of guys and gals, it’s a great place for pre-drinks before a big night out. Come midnight, the tables are cleared and the high-energy dance music draws a mixed, flirty crowd. Daytime brings gawking tourists, but the evenings are still for partying. Don’t miss karaoke nights on Wednesdays, ladies’ nights on Thursdays and sundowner karaoke on Sundays.
9 7th Street, Melville
011 482 2414
For … millennial pink drinks
If you thought that millennial pink was a trend solely seen on the runway – think again. Tonic, the welcoming, gay-friendly bar that celebrates all things gin, has taken over the nightlife scene providing not only a picture-perfect backdrop for your next Instagram, but also a selection of equally Instagrammable pink drinks. It’s a total win-win! Our top pick is the Boomerang-friendly Mother Fluffer, topped with pink candy floss and garnished with rainbow sprinkles. The Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, shaken with white chocolate syrup and raspberry sherbet, is a close second.
32 7th Street, Linden
087 238 4623
Secret meeting places
Trouble Bar: A back-to-basics gay bar with good-looking men. Corner of Republic Road &, Rabie Street, Fontainebleau. 082 875 9230 www.troublegaybar.co.za
Liquid Blue: The crown jewel of Melville’s cosmopolitan neighbourhood blasting house, R&B and commercial music. 8 7th Street, Melville. 011 482 5593 www.liquidbluebar.wordpress.com
The Rec Room: The largest, busiest gay steam bath in Jozi (OMG!). Shop 1 Phoenix Centre, corner of Malibongwe & Tungsten Drive, Fernale. 011 792 1288 www.recroom.co.za
Ramrods: A cruising spot under Adult World. 356 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall. 010 597 4233
READ MORE ON LEISURE ACTIVITIES HERE.
Candice is the coffee-drinking, fashion obsessed editor behind Hello Joburg Magazine. She’s a self-confessed foodie and champagne enthusiast who also loves all things beauty, travel and home and décor.