#IloveJozi – Juta Street
One of the things that surprised me most after moving to Pretoria was how so many people that live less than 45 minutes from one of the greatest cities in the world had no idea what Joburg has to offer. Despite living so close, many Pretorians hadn’t explored the streets of Braamies, the cafés of Greenside, the great eateries of Sandton or the hidden gems of Parkhurst. No one that I met knew about 44 Stanley.
Over the past few years I have loved taking some friends to some of my favourite places in Joburg – but there is still so much to see! So, as time allows, I will share some of my experiences of Joburg, mainly for those who don’t know where to go or what to do. It must be noted that 90% of what I will share involves good food and great coffee. So if a morning exploring the streets of Jozi with the purpose of looking, eating and drinking doesn’t excite you – move right along.
For my first post in this series – I loaded my family and new Canon G7x into the car and headed to Juta street – easily reaches from the M1. Simply take the M1 South, take a left at Smit Street offramp, head under the famed Nelson Mandela Bridge, and you’ll stumble upon Juta street.
It won’t take you long (2 blocks, in fact) to find a building loaded with delicious food, amazing coffee and a vibe one would expect to find in New York.
Juta Street & Surrounds
The block between Juta, De Beer, De Kotze and Melle Street in Braamfontein is home to some of the most well-known coffee shops in Joburg, including Father Coffee, Double Shot and Motherland. After finding a parking spot, paying your R30 parking fee (!) and stepping onto the pavement, you’ll notice the beauty of inner-city Joburg. High rise buildings letting just enough light in, Big Screen TV’s on the odd corner, Mandela watching over the community, artwork scattered around and an overall sense that ‘this is Joburg’ will put a smile on your face.
Your first stop in this area should be the Neighbourhoods Market – for a number of reasons. Firstly, you are guaranteed to find something amazing to eat, from seafood to burgers; cakes to pastas and a few great drinks at the same time. This particular visit, we got there earlier than ever before (just after 9:30) and managed to get there before the crowds. This was a good choice, as previous times the crowds have been a bit overwhelming. Your first impression of Neighbourhoods will be the quaint decor outside, and most likely a musician entertaining the crowds outside. Once you enter the old parking lot building, the smells of great food, the sounds of chatting and the colours of the Joburgs cosmopolitan crowd will most likely impress. Just a warning – this is certainly not a place for those subject to claustrophobia, homophobia or hipsterphobia. Skinny jeans, man buns, thick rim glasses and craft beer are the order of the day at Joburg’s most loved market.
While browsing for something delicious to sit down and enjoy, you’ll also be able to find a few treats to take home with you, including freshly baked breads, a range of cheese’s and a week’s worth of juices for your juice detox. Or not? It’s worth noting that most of the food stalls at Neighbourgoods are Snapscan friendly.
Right around the corner from the Neighbourgoods entrance is Father Coffee – a small coffee shop with one of the best tasting coffees in Joburg, if not SA. Another hipster joint, this small glass and wood shop is primarily a take-away venture. While three or four small tables line the one wall, their purpose is mainly for you to relax while waiting for the delicious brew to be served. At only R18 a cappuccino, Father is evidence that sometimes great things come at great prices.
Another well-known coffee drinkers favourite is Doubleshot, on the opposite corner to Father Coffee. Doubleshot has a very different feel and a very different, though delicious, tasting brew. Here you are more likely to sit down, order your drink of choice and watch the foot traffic. While the decor isn’t my favourite, I can see how lovers of darker wood, exposed steel and cluttered counter tops would name Doubleshot as their coffee shop of choice.
I have visited Motherlands Dunkeld coffee shop, and was fairly underwhelmed. My opinion was that an over priced, pretentious, noisy coffee shop should at least serve great coffee. Unfortunately the Braamies branch was closed for business (or at least, so it seemed) so I was unable to have my opinion changed. It must be said though, that this must be one of the best designed concepts. Motherland Braamfontein is actually located inside the Virgin Mobile store, and comes complete with a red Mini, a British telephone booth converted to a couch, and a cell phone accessories stand. All in all – a very cool spot to spend some time on a Saturday morning.
All of these great spots in just one block makes for a great Saturday morning enjoying some of what Braamfontein has to offer, especially if the weather is great and you manage to get there early to get a good parking spot and a table at the ‘goods market.
Have anything to add about these great places? Feel free to leave your comments below, or even your suggestions of where I should go next.