44 Stanley is a collection of speciality stores and restaurants, not far from our Johannesburg Guesthouses, in Milpark. The stores are built around several courtyards, spaced beautifully around and under the olive trees. You will find art, antiques, boutiques, books, high fashion, decor, furniture, collectables and restaurants.
Friday evenings at 44 Stanley are divine. You can eat at Il Giardino which is set in the courtyard but also has the most elegant and opulent dining area, The Room. On Friday evenings they have different bands playing – Runaway Train (bluegrass), Hot Club d’Afrique (swing jazz) or Ensemble Borsalino (Gypsy jazz) – and it’s really fabulous. Especially now that summer is coming.
The Il Giardino menu is delicious. They serve evening snacks with wine and cheese tastings, they have an olive oil tasting, and then a mostly Italian themed menu. Bookings are advisable, and you may want to wear your dancing shoes. It is casual though, you can also take your shoes off. Or just sit back, sip wine and listen to the music.
Next door to Il Giardino is The Stanley Beer Yard. Friday nights here are fabulous. They always have a retro DJ and the crowd is older and a real mix of music lovers. You can sit at the outdoor communal tables and make new friends, or sit inside in cosy corners on retro style couches with contemporary antelope heads and mirrors on the walls. The Stanley Beer Yard has an excellent selection of quality craft and local beers, wine and mescal. On Saturday nights they have live music, usually the blues or alternate country. It’s loud but not too loud at all, the music is always excellent and the food is good too. The menu is casual too with lovely platters, cheese, meat or veg, to enjoy with your evening drinks.
During the day the vibe at 44 Stanley is relaxed and cool. There are several coffee shops, including Bean There which serves the most wonderful coffee and Salvationcafe which is marvellous for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. The boutiques are all one of a kind and there are some lovely vintage and gift stores too.
Melville Manor is one of our Johannesburg Guesthouses, not even five minutes away from 44 Stanley. Melville Manor, apart from having the most wonderful and personal owner, Jane Williams, is a beautifully restored old home with seven rooms. Melville itself is a really vibey area, filled with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, bars and the innovative 27 Boxes.
An ideal Johannesburg day would be to start off with coffee and breakfast at your guesthouse, do a bit of city sightseeing in the morning, Johannesburg and / or Soweto, enjoy lunch in Melville with a wander along 7th Avenue, a nap at your guesthouse, and then cocktails, music and dinner at 44 Stanley.
44 Stanley is a really unique place to visit and if you are a visitor to Johannesburg, it is really worth going. You’ll see a different side to Johannesburg that is fresh, funky and outdoors.