Ah Jo’burg. That iconic city of dust and concrete you can always rely on to be simultaneously frantic and bland as all hell. The truth is, Jozi’s real character lies with the people that populate it. I’ve come to know a great deal about the various creatures and characters of the city, largely through frequenting its pubs and clubs. Here then, are a few of Jozi’s popular nightlife venues, and what your attendance of them says about you.
Disclaimer: Yes, these are gross stereotypes and no, we didn’t forget your favourite venue, we just didn’t have time to add it in, soz.
You’re young, wild and free! You’re an artist with about eight creative side-hustles, and what better way to express yourself than on the dancefloor of this fine Braam establishment, right? Not right. Rather, you’re young, broke and sad as hell, but you still manage to scrape together enough cash to grab a few flat beers and scuff up that new pair of sneakers you copped off Superbalist on discount. You only come here because the music is good and the dancefloors are dark and cramped enough to lose yourself in as you attempt to shake off the existential dread and howling horrors that characterise so much of your millennial existence. Wait, that sounds fucking awful. Why do you even come here? Where is your life even headed? You need to get out of Braam for a while, just to get some clarity. Wait, what’s that? Felix Laband, DJ Lag and Card on Spokes on the same line up? Okay you’ll check that one out, but that’ll be the last time.
Tattoos! Beards! Testosterone! Honey scented whiskey! Fuck yeah, you’re frikken’ hardcore, man. You don’t care about anything. Well, I mean you do care about some things. It’s just that you’re not really the kinda person who likes to show that you care, you know? You weren’t that popular in school and you got teased a lot, so now you hide it all away behind booze, metalcore and gratuitous displays of masculinity. You’re actually quite sensitive once people get to know you. Rebecca really knew you. That was a long time ago though. You miss Rebecca. You’re lonely. Oh god you’re so, so lonely. Woah, reign it in dude, what would Shaun and Brett say if they heard you talking like this? Time for another whiskey. Make it a double. No ice. Yeah…
You are so damn clued up on things. You know all of the things and everyone needs to be aware of the fact. Sometimes, when you’re having dinner with the friends you’re studying Psychology and English with, you’ll just casually drop some knowledge. Your friend will be mid-bite into their pizza slice and you’ll just be all like “Do you know how many homeless people in Jo’burg can’t even afford a pizza, Jane?”. You were never really into all that feminism and anti-racist stuff, but then Emma Watson said this one thing in this Buzzfeed article and you just got soooo mad. That’s why as soon as you finish your degree you’re gonna do some serious game changing stuff. Well, that’s if you get to finish your degree this year… You read online that ‘the protesters’ are planning on disrupting exams this year. You feel very torn about this. It’s not that you’re against the whole ‘revolution thing’, you just think it could be done without all of this violence. Like what about a peaceful protest, you know? Make some colourful signs at home or something. Yeah! You could invite Jane and Samantha and make a whole day of it! Oh gosh, look at the time, you better head home. You’ve gotta be up early for that Hot Yoga class tomorrow anyway. PS. Isn’t that sensitive guy across the road at Hell’s Kitchen just so cute?
The Living Room
You’re heading towards 30 and your partying days are behind you. You used to tear it up back then though, wow you really knew how to have a good time my dude. You tell everyone at your table exactly how much of a good time you used to have. You wear expensive shirts and chinos, but round it off with some window display Nikes, because you’re still hip right? After a few drinks, you like to lean on the windowsill near the plants and contemplatively look out at the city. You so badly wish you lived in Cape Town.
You’re a young, hip designer and Jo’burg is your canvas. You either grew up here and miss ‘the old Greenside’ or you’re new to the city and now you hang out with your designer friends who miss the old Greenside. The Artisan’s a cool spot and all, but you really only come here for the Drink ‘n Draw sessions, which are just so rad. You’re stuck working in a creatively stifling corporate job and Drink ‘n Draw lets you flex those artistic muscles in a room full of other designers and a select few who are just there to doodle. You will make fun of the doodlers. The events are all themed, but you keep drawing variations of the same characters you’ve been drawing for the past five years. You’re thinking of starting a zine soon. You’ll call it Amazonian Joe and all your friends from Drink ‘n Draw will contribute. You will never get around to actually printing any copies.
The Jolly Roger
You’re not cheap, you just don’t concern yourself with any of those flashy things that other people seem to care about like a working car or designer clothes or soap. You’re not really into the club scene either. You prefer a round of pool after work and a stiff drink or seven. And to watch the game, of course. You think Jolly’s is lank underrated. Ja it may look a little kak from the outside, but those happy hour specials? Where else can you get a deal like that? You’re really quite content hey. All you need is a box of Rothmans, good conversation and maybe a lift back home. Only if Mike’s going the same way though. He is? Ah Mike’s an absolute legend. Petrol money? Shit, you were hoping to grab just one more beer though. You’ll get him next time for sure.
Ah the Bo! You’re here every weekend, man. You drink only Black Label and chainsmoke Marlboro Reds, because you’re hard like that. Your mom doesn’t understand you. You’ll say you miss the golden age of the old Bo, but you’re 16 and you’ve only been coming here for a month. You can’t wait for high school to be over so you can focus fulltime on your band and carry on writing for that obscure music blog on the side. You think it’s fucking criminal how local musos are underpaid and underappreciated. You avoid paying entrance every weekend by carrying your friend’s drum kit in with the rest of the band.
You’re on a gap year and you wanted to experience the ‘real world’. You’re thinking of dating a local, someone you wouldn’t normally date. Just for the summer though, just for the summer. You get very loud and obnoxious when you drink. You literally do not even go here.
You’re over 30 and you work in advertising, but you freelance as a trends consultant. You’re very well connected. And’s a good club because they don’t let any of the riff raff in so whoever’s there always means business. And business of course, means name dropping and talking industry jargon for a good hour before disappearing into the bathroom and coming out with So.Much.Energy! You haven’t partied like this since you were studying copywriting at Vega! You black out. You will wake up alone in your bed the next morning with a number of friend requests and little recollection of the previous night.
Illustrations by Jonny Smith.