If there is one thing Joburgers (and South Africans) love to do, it is drink! From a zooty cocktail bar to a sheebeen, if it has booze, it will do. And if you look at Johannesburg’s history, things have not changed. According to an early Joburg statistic there were 26 people to every 1 bar in the 1890’s.
Okay, so things have changed a little but if you would like to experience Jozi’s old drinking culture, then you have to make a vist to The Guildhall. Situated on the Corner of Market and Harrison Street in the Joburg Inner City, this unique little spot is Johannesburg’s oldest bar. Opened in 1888, it has weathered the many changes to the city-celebrations, revolts, degeneration and regeneration and through it all kept the people of Johannesburg watered.
This Joburg gem is now owned by Fernando and his son Danny and although it has had some changes- Karaoke on a Thursday and a DJ on a Friday, it still manages to keep the early Jozi appeal and is full of nods to our beginnings as a mining town; mining claim maps on the menus and vintage photography on the walls. It’s also the sort of place where you are greeted by name when you walk in the door!
And if you like Portuguese food, it’s a great place to pick up yummy seafood, trinchado and prego rolls. Pizza, toasted sandwiches and salads are all available. When asked what their best meal on the menu is, Fernando answers “everything”. Of course any meal has to be washed down with an ice cold south African beer or glass of wine and what about a shot of whisky at the bar in honour of early Johannesburg?
I recommend that you sit outside on the 1st floor veranda overlooking the city, Its fantastic to relax in the sun while the hustle and bustle of the city passes you by.
You can park on the street below or why not use the Rea Vaya Bus system as it stops right outside the Guildhall (Library Gardens Stop). Park in Braamfontein and take a ride through the CBD ending at the Guildhall. It’s a great Inner City adventure and I cannot recommend it enough.
Next time you are looking for something fun and different to do in Johannesburg, why not try out our oldest bar. Surely it must be good if it has been one of the Inner City’s favourite spots for a tiple for the last 124 years? And don’t forget to drink a shot of whisky to Joburg’s 125 years of history and those that made our city what it is today!
Tel: 011 833 1770
Danny: 082 566 0189
Fernando: 082 483 0809
Address: Cnr Market and Harrison Street
Open Monday to Saturday