Drinks, Food & Drink

The Best Worst pubs in Jozi

Jan 3, 2017, Author: Hello Joburg

The places that are so totally bad, they’re actually awesome!

You know what we’re talking about. The places that you would never admit to frequenting in the sober light of day. The seedy, smoky, sometimes dodgy bars that birth the most epic parties and legendary stories. You only go there late at night, after a few glasses and with friends that you trust.

The Radium Beer Hall

A legendary spot in its heyday, some will tell you that the Radium is the oldest surviving bar and grill in Joburg. Supposedly opened as a tea room in the late 1920s, there’s no tea party happening there today. With its hardwood bar benches, tongue-in-cheek framed headline posters tacked to the wall from years gone by – ‘lesbians lose appeal’ – being a personal favourite and musicians with grey pony tails gracing the stage, the Radium epitomises the good old dive. But we can’t get enough. The paraphernalia on the walls, plonk wine and thin based pizzas make spending an entire Sunday afternoon/early evening at this spot pretty easy.

282 Louis Botha Avenue, Orange Grove.


The Jolly Roger

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without the Dodgy Roger in Parkhurst. Its sticky floors, beer stench and cramped bathrooms definitely don’t make it a place to write home about. But the booze are relatively inexpensive compared to places down the road, the music is old school and the pizza is yum. You can be sure that any oddly timed sport game will be shown here – attracting the ‘okes’ and their ‘chicks’ who will pull up a spot and camp out for most of the day.

A word of caution: if you’re leaving the venue under the influence, exit with care. That little sloping pavement as you exit is steeper than you think!

10, 4th Avenue, 6th Street, Parkhurst



A legend in its own lunchtime in Craighall Park, Giles (family owned and run to this day) is a safe place for the locals. With its mid-month pub quizzes and regular faces, it really does defend its ‘small neighbourhood pub’ image since it was opened in 1994 by Ian and Jenni Gillies. However, today, if anyone wants to call it a restaurant with a pub, knock them over the head. The food may be good but Giles is a buzzing pub with a lot of tables to sit down and have a beer at.

9 Grafton Avenue, Craighall Park

  • giles2Written by Carly Ritz. Radium picture courtesy of Anton Bosman.
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