Nicest Places to enjoy a Guinness in Johannesburg, Irish Pubs
As a lover of the black stuff, I am always on the lookout for an establishment that serves my favourite beverage, as shocking as it may sound to some of you out there; Guinness is not really all that popular in South Africa.
This is partly due to the monopoly of South African Breweries (SAB) on the local beer market, SAB up until about ten years ago actively blocked the importation of beer it did not produce, and the fact that a dark heavy beer is best suited to cold climes.
One must not forget that up on the Highveld, winter temperatures regularly drop below zero degrees Celsius, and then the conditions are perfect for a Black and Tan.
Here is my guide to my favourite places for a pint of Guinness in Johannesburg!
Irish Club, Linen, Johannesburg
The Irish Club is located at the old Linden Tennis Club, corner 5th Ave and 4th Street, Linden
The club itself is a relatively low-key affair with a very 70’s clubhouse that could do with some DIY. The club’s covered deck is set above the tennis courts and looks out over the western part of Johannesburg and is highly recommended for those interested in sundowners after work.
The menu is a mixture of Indian and Irish pub grub with the highlights being either the Irish stew or the mixed savoury basket.
Although various social events, from darts to role-play games, are planned for each night of the week it is important to remember that Monday nights is drinking practice night. And this is the real reason for going to the Irish Club; their Guinness is by far the best in Johannesburg. Due to the high turnover the ‘Devils Buttermilk’ the keg contents never have a chance to become old, displaying the telltale brownish head. At R17 a pint it is also amongst the cheapest places to buy your daily fix.
The Brazen Head, Edenvale, Johannesburg
Like its Irish counterpart this pub serves up cold Guinness and warm food. The Head, as it is affectionately known by regulars, has one of the most authentic Irish pub menus I have seen in South Africa, offering Coddle, Boxty (a traditional Irish pancake) and Guinness pie.
They have an authentic pub atmosphere with wood panelled interiors, booths and bar area. In addition to Guinness they have Kilkenny and the usual range of local draft and bottled beers.
There is an outside area, perfect for the hot days, and a warm fire inside for the cold nights, the service is fast and friendly.
Grand Slam Sports Bar, Dowerglen
Grand Slam is a great place to meet up with friends to watch sports, they have televisions on every service broadcasting every sporting event going on in the world at that time.
They menu is a pub and grab type of affair, be sure to try my favorite, a Manny's Special. Burgers are also very good here and the portions are generous.
The clincher is the wonderful deck area, the sun sets behind a hill right in front of you, a beautiful red color in summer, and with a pint of cold Guinness I can think of no better sun-downer!