World Whisky Capitals: Johannesburg

08-09-2017 By World Whisky Day

World Whisky Day works their way around the globe dropping in on well known whisky waypoints and new frontiers alike.

Where are the best places to have a whisky in Johannesburg?

Joburg loves its whisky and its bars attest to this love affair. One can walk into any bar and be sure to find a good selection of whiskies. There are obviously ones that stand out. The Maxim Lounge at the Da Vinci is an excellent lounge to enjoy whiskies. It offers whisky lovers private whisky keeps with lock and key to store their favourite bottles – ask for Terry at the bar. Churchills Bar with its Victorian interior also hosts popular #WhiskyThursdays for after-work drams with friends. Bottega in Parkhurst has over 500 single malts is a firm favourite among local whisky lovers of Joburg. Meli’s Lounge is another upmarket lounge with a strong whisky focus in the historical township of Soweto. Other noteworthy whisky lounges and bars include Southern Sun Hyde Park whisky and Cigar Lounge overlooking Joburg’s northern suburbs, The Terrace @Hyatt, Bar Hemingways in Kyalami as well as Robby’s and Just Badela in Soweto.

Where would you enjoy a whisky cocktail?

The Landmark Cocktail Bar is the place to go for whisky cocktails. Over 100 cocktails including the traditional and the popular like the Whisky Sour and Whisky Smash. Be sure to ask for their ice-covered Georgia Mint Julep. Churchills Bar offers their ultimate whisky cocktail – the Amarena Old Fashioned.

Maxim Lounge whisky keeps

The Maxim Lounge Whisky Keeps

Where would you go to dram and dine?

Embark on an international dram and dine journey at Bar Hemingway's with drams from all over the world, perfectly paired with complementary dishes chosen by Khamo, their head chef. The Maxim Lounge also hosts monthly whisky and food pairings to be enjoyed with other whisky lovers.

How about distilleries to visit?

South Africa’s only commercial distillery is the James Sedgwick distillery in the Western Cape Province (which produces Three Ships and Bain's). Joburg does not have its own distillery but we remain hopeful.

Where would you shop for whisky?

Joburg’s many retailers stock a good selection of whiskies. Norman Goodfellows, popularly known as NGF, has an extensive selection of whiskies – start there. Whisky Brother is a whisky speciality shop in the upmarket Hyde Park neighbourhood with some exclusive bottlings.

Where would you find a whisky hidden gem?

Workshop 55 bar with a curated whisky selection is Joburg’s whisky hidden gem with an excellent selection of Japanese whiskies.

Churchills Bar Interior

(Source: Churchill's Bar. Image by Unknown)

And if you’ve only got 24 hours in the city?

Start with breakfast and coffee at Joburg’s trendy Tasha’s in Morningside. Drive to the historic Soweto township and enjoy a traditional South African Shisanyama (Barbeque) with a dram at Just Badela’s. On your way out of Soweto, make sure to stop by Vilakazi Street where the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu still stand. Moyo’s is the perfect place to have afternoon light urban cuisine in the upmarket Melrose Arch. Whilst you’re there, enjoy lazy afternoon drams at the Terrace Bar @Hyatt. Watch the sun set over Joburg with a cocktail at the Southern Sun Whisky Lounge in Hyde Park. Enjoy a fine-dining-style dinner at Workshop 55 and a Japanese whisky from their curated bar. Finish off your evening at Signature Bar Lounge in Sandton with your favourite tipple at hand while enjoying live music. If you’re in town in November, make sure you end your night at Whisky Live Festival - the largest whisky festival in the world.

(Main Photo Source: World Whisky Day. Image by World Whisky Day)