Winter Travel 2015 – Johannesburg –

Abby Schreiber

Kitchener’s Carvery Bar, Johannesburg.   

(Photo: Marc Shoul)

Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

A night out with Kitsi Sebati, trend analyst.

“Historically, downtown was Johannesburg’s business hub, and after apartheid, it started to fall apart. But about six years ago, everyone started flocking to this place in Braamfontein, Kitchener’s Carvery Bar (71 Juta St.; 271-1403-0166), that’s been around forever, with ancient carpets and velvet wallpaper. Hip-hop DJs started playing here, and upstairs suddenly became offices and studio spaces, which had a domino effect on the surrounding blocks. Within a few years, there were stores, offices, restaurants — all within walking distance of each other, which makes it ideal for going out, and it’s actually gotten kind of safe. Next door to Kitchener’s is Great Dane (5 De Beer St.; 271-1403-1136), which is hipster central and famous for its hot dogs. A lot of my friends will DJ there. It’s funny how the two crowds are so different. Great Dane is a bit more ‘vanilla.’ Kitchener’s is, I guess, more black folk. Once a month, they host this great disco party called Disco de Moda. I’ll start my night jumping back and forth between the two spots. I also like this tiny new wine bar, Ace + Pearl (357 Jan Smuts Ave.), out in Craighall. It’s an older crowd, and all the wine is from South Africa; I didn’t even realize we made prosecco! If someone suggested taking me on a date here, I’d be like, ‘Okay, cool.’ From Thursday onward, it’s quite vibe-y. For a nice dinner, I’ll head to the North Side for tapas at ­Escondido (30 Rudd Rd.; 271-1268-0058); it’s popular, so make a reservation. On most Friday nights, you can find me back downtown at And (39a Gwi Gwi Mrwebi St.) for the party ToyToy. The music is deep house — it’s a real Berlin kind of club: underground, minimal lighting. You’ll see art people, fashion people, and girls wearing crop tops and hot pants. My friends and I just dance all night and we have the best time.”

Where she’d crash: “The Saxon Hotel (from $398; saxon.co.za) is a modern hotel full of locally handcrafted art and textiles. I go on mother-daughter dates here all the time. My mom and I usually start the day having brunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon at the spa. The high tea is also really lovely.”

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