A CAPETONIANS GUIDE TO JOLLING IN JOBURG
There’s no beach in Johannesburg/Joburg and the closest hike is 40 minutes away from where I stay. So, what do you do when there’s no Camps Bay beach or Table Mountain? You jol and you suip. Joburg is littered with clubs and the nightlife is impeccable. Since making the pilgrimage here, I’ve tried and tested a few jol spots and I’ve made a list of my Top 5 places you should try. Some of the places I just happened to end up at and others I went to because of the reputation the establishment had, as in the place was known for being crazy or dodgy.
Billy The Bums (Fourways)
I’ll never forget the first time I heard about Billy’s. I was having my farewell jol at Van Hunks on Kloof and someone told me that I’d end up at Billy’s when I arrived in Joburg. At first, I was like, “what the fuck is a Billy the Bums?” and he replied, “don’t worry, you’ll soon find out.” Lo and behold, on my first night out in Joburg, that’s exactly where I ended up, and where I’d go every weekend for the first four months.
I won’t lie, some of the best nights I’ve had in Joburg have been at Billy’s. It has still, to this day, never disappointed. The majority of the time the music is banging, the vibe (vaaaaaab if you’re from Joburg) is always great and the crowd is quite diverse. There are white people, black people, Indian people and even a couple of Lady Boys if that’s your flavour.
The drinks are the average price of your common waterhole and they usually have drink specials. But don’t take any of my advice when it comes to this as I actually can’t remember any of the prices because I’m usually quite inebriated upon arrival. One thing you’ll notice when you mention to people that you’ve had a little dabble at Billy’s is the negative reaction. The ironic part is that all the people who hate on Billy’s all end up jolling there. It’s perceived as a middle/lower class establishment with a punch-up bound to happen, but I’ve yet to see one fight at Billy’s.
If I had to compare it to a club in Cape Town it would be just like Tiger Tiger in Claremont, but situated in Table View. All I can say is that you haven’t lived in Joburg until you’ve experienced at least one 4:00 a.m. bender at Billy the Bums.
If you end up partying in Illovo, just know that no matter where you are, all roads lead to Babylon. It’s a gay club situated between 86 Public and Hogshead. Basically what happens is that everyone gets lit at all the surrounding bars and when they end up closing, everyone heads to Babylon to carry on the debauchery till the early hours of the morning. After paying a transvestite our entrance fee, we entered the club, and for as far as I could see, there was a sea of dudes (obviously).
But if you’re straight and don’t ‘bat for the same team’, don’t worry, there are females. I was already a few drinks deep from 86 Public and Hogshead and I immediately proceeded to the dance floor, as I naturally do. They have a great dance floor with mirrors on the surrounding walls with a DJ booth. The bar is also by the dancefloor and its countertop is usually occupied by two or three guys gyrating their hips like a washing machine. Every time I go to Babylon, I end up making new friends. The gay community at Babylon are friendly and a fucking jol to be around.
Besides getting my hol squeezed occasionally on the dance floor (because I got them heat dance moves) it’s a jol and a half. You’ll experience a good dose of live house music, some fist pumping and occasionally, dudes twerking. If you’re looking for a great time and you’re not a homophobic poes, Babylon is definitely a must.
So this club has quite a reputation and that’s exactly why I had to go check it out. Every person who I spoke to about Truth would elaborate about how it’s full of drugs and how dodgy it was. So I ended up spontaneously grabbing an Uber with a mate one night and off we went. As we arrived, the club was already in full swing and I was quite excited and intrigued to see what was in store for us. One of the first things I learned about the club was that is used to be a reptile park, so the club is pretty big and has a few water features. There are four dancefloors, one of them being an underground dungeon.
After paying R100 entrance we the bar for some drinks before exploring the epic venue. My main tip for you is to pre-drink before heading to Truth. The drinks are so expensive I started to think it was a tactical move by the club to get people to rather take drugs than drink. After settling in with a few drinks and taking in the atmosphere, I started to notice all the little druggies with their pupils so dilated you would think they were cartoon characters. It was pretty funny. The crowd was quite young but it didn’t bother me. I was in my own zone as the music was great and the sound quality was incredible.
As I closed my eyes I could feel the bass vibrating through my body and the dance floor was more than big enough for me to rock some flaming footwork. The dance floor where I filmed the video below seemed to be some sort of warehouse and really gave the feeling that I was at a rave party somewhere in Europe. I would say the closest club we had similar to this back in Cape Town was ERA (which is now closed down), but Truth is way bigger.
If you’re keen for a lekka dirty Techno/Rave and you don’t mind being around people who are rushing their tits off on MDMA, I highly recommend Truth.
The Living Room (Maboneng)
If you’re looking to have a Sunday Funday, this is the place. If you’re staying in the North of Johannesburg, it’s a bit of a trek but it’s totally worth it. It’s a rooftop cafe in the city with a vibe that will diminish any of your Sunday blues. I can’t remember how much the entrance fee was but it’s not going to break the bank, maybe R100. It was a perfect summer day with warm temperatures and a heat wave of live bangers. The DJ was rocking some of the juiciest 90’s hip-hop beats and the crowd was loving every second of it. What made it even better was sipping on some ice-cold gin and tonics while overlooking views of the concrete jungle.
What I dig most about jolling in Maboneng is the diverse crowd of stylish, multi-racial humans. Everyone is styled up, getting lit and having a mooi time. They also serve food which looked pretty good, but I don’t eat while jolling because ‘eating is cheating’. Something to note is that The Living Room is closed for the majority of the week, so you can go on a Saturday, but I definitely recommend rather going on a Sunday.
The Colony Arms (Craighall Park)
So we ended up at this place one night after partying at 86 public. The Colony Arms, also known as ‘The Colon’ (you can figure that one out) was one hell of a night. When we arrived, the place was completely packed. There was an international cricket game on that day and I think everyone came to drink in celebration or drown their sorrows. But regardless of the outcome of the cricket, the place was overflowing with comatose individuals. After moshing through the crowds to make it to the bar, I soon realised what the drink of choice was for the night; introducing… ‘The John Deere’. They take a 2 litre bottle of Creme Soda, slice off the top, and pour in a heroic amount of cane.
When you slam down one of those bad boys, you’re on your way to Lit City. Not only is the Colony known for this sweet, green delicacy, it’s also the home to some of the finest karaoke stars in the city. A John Deere plus someone who watches pop idols religiously, makes for some interesting entertainment, even though your ears might be crying a river of blood. Nonetheless, we sipped on those delicious bottles of green nectar and squeaked some takkie to those karaoke hits on the dance floor (even though we were squashed in like a tin of sardines). Overall, the place is great and if you’re looking to let hair your hair down and not worry about whether you took a bath or not, then this is the jol for you.
Katy’s Palace (On a Wednesday)
BeerHouse (Silent Disco – Last Thursday of every month)