Beats and eats – restaurants that are serious about serving up good tunes in Johannesburg

Hard Rock Café (Nelson Mandela Square)

Sporting a high-energy atmosphere punctuated by its pulsating beats, Hard Rock Café in Nelson Mandela Square is known for its youthful vibe, great music, cool cocktails and comfort food­ – which includes its legendary burgers, ribs, nachos and sharing platters. The restaurant plays a mix of house, amapiano, hip-hop and contemporary South African pop music throughout the week by local DJs. On Wednesdays for ‘Ladies Night’, patrons can enjoy new and old-school hip-hop and amapiano, on Thursdays, patrons can listen to a mix of house music and amapiano, while on the weekends, patrons can groove on the dance floor to house and amapiano beats. Live music events with a focus on South African music talent are a regular feature at the venue, which is also looking to introduce tribute shows and artist face-offs soon. On weekends after 6pm, patrons under 21 years are not permitted. Reservations are recommended on weekends and can be made by calling 011 784 3144. Hard Rock Café Johannesburg is open from Monday to Thursday from 12pm to 12am, on Friday from 12am to 1am, on Saturday from 11am to 1am and on Sunday from 11am to 12am.

Arbour Café & Courtyard (Birdhaven)

Situated in the quiet neighbourhood of Birdhaven, Arbour Café & Courtyard is known for its French-inspired menu, featuring breakfast favourites such as galettes and crepes, eclectic mains that include crispy duck confit with a five-spice cherry sauce, and its bottomless mimosa brunch on weekends. While diners can enjoy charming French street café music through the week to match the restaurant’s relaxing vibe, on First Thursdays, the music goes up several notches. Starting from 6.30pm onwards, First Thursdays in the courtyard have resident and guest DJs playing underground electronic music, creating the perfect mood for patrons to groove under the fairy lights, until the restaurant closes at about 11.30pm. The restaurant also offers a customised First Thursdays menu, centred around tapas-style small plates. While there are no age restrictions during the week, on First Thursdays, patrons under 23 years are not permitted inside the courtyard. Reservations are recommended for larger groups and can be made by calling 010 753 2007. Arbour Café & Courtyard is open from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 3.30pm.

A Streetbar Named Desire (Randburg)

Known as much for its Mediterranean-inspired seafood, meat and vegetarian tapas, bar snacks and cocktails, as for its wide range of entertainment that includes live music, drag shows, quiz nights and comedy nights, A Streetbar Named Desire has something for everyone. Located in the peppy Parkwood district, diners can groove to a mix of deep house, R&B and hip-hop music by DJs from Thursdays to Sundays, from 5pm onwards. Patrons under the age of 23 years are not permitted inside the venue. Reservations can be made online, via email to, or by calling 011 268 6485. A Streetbar Named Desire is open from Monday to Thursday from 4pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 2am and on Sunday from 12pm to 8pm.

Social On Main (Sandton)

Offering a range of craft beers, speciality gins, cocktail jars and local wines to complement its comfort pub food such as tacos, nachos, steaks, burgers, pizzas and salad bowls, Social On Main in Bryanston is also known for its upbeat music. From Monday to Thursday, diners can enjoy a mix of pop music, Afro and classics. On Fridays, the venue plays dance music which gets patrons grooving on the outdoor deck, while on Saturdays, the resident DJ spins hip-hop, rock and classic cover tracks from 8pm to 12am. Patrons aged below 18 years are not permitted inside the venue. Reservations can be made online via the restaurant’s website or by calling 076 284 9786. Social On Main is open from Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 12am and on Sunday from 12pm to 11pm.

Artistry (Sandton)

The brainchild of singer and songwriter J’Something, Artistry in Sandown is known for its relaxed, unpretentious vibe, rooftop views, good food and great music. From Monday to Sunday, patrons can enjoy listening to downtempo, R&B, chilled Afro and deep house music, while tucking into Portuguese-inspired chicken, salads, steaks, seafood, pizzas, burgers and tapas, accompanied by classic cocktails. Artistry has resident DJs playing on weekends, and from April onwards also plans to feature local artists. Patrons under 16 years are not permitted at Artistry. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 060 847 5713. Artistry is open from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 4pm and from Thursday to Sunday from 6pm to 10pm.


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Bailey’s (Bedfordview)

A live entertainment venue in the heart of Bedfordview, Bailey’s restaurant is a popular spot for karaoke and live music, featuring pop, rock, alternative, reggae, folk, acoustic and party music. While listening to their favourite beats, patrons can dig into burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, ribs and grills, accompanied by a variety of beers, ciders, spirit coolers and handcrafted cocktails. On Wednesdays, Bailey’s hosts its karaoke night from 7pm onwards. On Fridays and Saturdays, there are popular local artists performing live on the stage upstairs, while the DJs downstairs spin house, EDM and electronic music tracks. On Sundays, Bailey’s hosts its family-friendly ‘Sunday Social Club’, featuring live acoustic artists. From Tuesday to Sunday the Bailey’s restaurant is open from from 12pm to 10pm but the bar can operate until 2am. Some of Bailey’s events may bear an age restriction, and it’s encouraged for those interested to WhatsApp the establishment for more information. Reservations are recommended on Fridays and Saturdays and can be made online via the restaurant’s website, by sending an email to, or by calling 066 268 2803.

Katzy’s Live (Rosebank)

Situated in the trendy Rosebank neighbourhood, Katzy’s Live is an upbeat nightspot and cocktail bar, known for its live bands, DJ music and karaoke nights, with exciting pub grub to boot. Patrons can feast on The Grillhouse menu featuring flavourful ribs and steaks, among other dishes, while listening to contemporary music and classics from the ’80s. Katzy’s next door offers live entertainment from Wednesday to Saturday, including karaoke nights with a live band on Wednesday and DJs playing pop, R&B and ’80’s rock band covers from Thursday to Saturday. The cover charge for Katzy’s is R200 per head from Thursday to Saturday, which includes access to the dance floor. Once every two months, Katzy’s also offers Latino dance classes. Patrons under 21 years are not permitted at Katzy’s. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 011 880 3945. Katzy’s Live is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm to 1am.

Karaoke Kong (Melville)

One of the newer karaoke bars in Joburg, Karaoke Kong in Melville boasts of offering ‘a modern approach to karaoke’, a vibey atmosphere and Instagrammable interiors, coupled with appetising food and colourful cocktails. From Tuesday to Friday, patrons can enjoy pop, rock, R&B music and karaoke from 4pm onwards, while tucking into pizzas, nachos, chicken wings, ribs and burgers. On Tuesdays, Karaoke Kong hosts its weekly ‘Karaoke PowerPoint’, while on Wednesdays the venue hosts ‘Rapster Karaoke’, which is an open mic rap battle. There is also a karaoke competition held on the last Sunday of each month with audience voting and sponsored prizes for the winners. Apart from karaoke, the restaurant also hosts two events per week featuring a mix of DJs, live bands, drag shows or themed nights, all of which are listed on the restaurant’s Instagram page. Karaoke is free for diners, who can choose their songs from an online catalogue on a tablet that is presented to their table. Patrons under 18 years are not permitted inside Karaoke Kong. Reservations are recommended on weekends and can be made via Dineplan, or through the restaurant’s website, or by calling 087 821 6981. Karaoke Kong is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 4pm to 12am, on Friday and Saturday from 3pm to 2am and on Sunday from 3pm to 12am.


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