Music in Johannesburg

Jozi’s music scene is pretty cool and if you’re into music you will want to check out these hip and fab venues. You’ll find funky bohemian style bars, upmarket jazz clubs, extraordinary rooftop venues and outdoor parks catering to large concerts.

Here are some of our favourites:-

The Bassline is a real musical institution in Johannesburg and is over twenty years old. It started out as a small bohemian club in Melville, moved to Newtown a few years go and can now seat up to a thousand people. They always have an amazing line up of musicians, jazz and Afro-beat, kwaito and hip-hop, as well as offering weekend poetry slams. It’s a very cool place to see and be seen, it’s all about the music, the vibe, the ageing hippies and the young and beautiful.  Have a look at their line-up, and book early; it gets busy.

The Orbit – undoubtably our most upmarket and stylish jazz club, The Orbit is in Braamfontein and is known worldwide. Here you can book a table, wear a smart dress or jacket and tie (but you don’t have to) and enjoy the night with magnificent music and a very sexy, elegant ambience. There’s a restaurant downstairs although you can eat in the club, a courtyard area for lazy Sunday lunches, musicians come from far and wide to play, bookings are essential, and it is definitely my favourite place in Jozi for world class jazz.


Randlords is a rooftop venue – on the 22nd Floor, also in Braamfontein – and they have occasional public music events, usually with a DJ but also with live bands. The parties are loud and really busy, the music excellent and the crowd very stylish. Randlords is rented out for special events and it’s a good idea to get on to their mailing list so you know what’s happening. And it’s a great venue for a private function if that’s what you’re looking for.


Breathtaking view from the top of Randlords

Pata Pata in Maboneng rocks. You can party the night away here and they have regular live music as well as the best DJ’s in town. It’s a very hip venue in a very hip part of town. Book a table, dress up or dress cool, their food is good and if you get a bit tipsy – the Twelve Decades Hotel is right next door. Service is excellent and it is also a perfect place to people watch. Highly recommended.

Katzy’s is in Rosebank, in the Firs, near the Park Hyatt Hotel. It’s a cigar lounge, music, dining and entertainment venue, and they host local and international music celebrities. You’ll find live music here at least four times a week. They have a grillhouse menu, cocktail and cigar list and Katzy’s is an excellent meeting place. I love the bar and the dance floor here, it’s upmarket and gorgeous and an easy place to meet new people too.


Katzy’s Rosebank

The Radium Beer Hall is filled with history. It’s the oldest surviving bar in Jozi, in the neighbourhood of Orange Grove and has a regular and strong following. It’s always been ‘famously’ known as a bit of a dive, which it is, in a very popular way! The walls are covered in photographs of all the great jazzmen who’ve played here. The bar is fun, the dining area has a small dance floor and there’s live music four times a week.  Check out who’s playing on their website and note you cannot prebook so get there in good time to get a great table.

Then there’s The Bohemian in Westdene, Wolves in Illovo, Stanley Beer Yard at 44 Stanley, and they all have weekend music, sometimes jazz, the Blues or folk. And Nirox which holds regular events and outdoor music concerts and jazz.

Next week I’ll be going to Soweto, to the Inside Out Jazz Lounge which I hear is a real treat . Watch out for the blog post and pics.

And remember, ask your Johannesburg Guesthouse owner for more details or to make a booking for you, for any of the above music venues. They’ll be happy to help.