Explore | Cool District
ndeed, by the 1980s, Braamfontein was home to some of Joburg’s leading see-and-be-seen-in restaurants, including Pot Luck, Linger Longer and Fat Frank’s Southern Diner. A lively theatre, nightclub and dinner scene was underscored by a heady counter-cultural scene, driven by the presence of Wits University, known by conservative suburbanites as ‘Kremlin On The Hill’. Fast forward to 1997, and increased decentralisation saw many corporates in lower Braamfontein beat a hasty retreat to the leafy suburbs, with support services and restaurants rapidly following suit. Fortunately, the district’s largest corporates – Liberty, Sappi, JD Group and South African Breweries – stayed on, perched on the ridge, albeit mentally focused northwards towards the suburbs. The millennium was not kind to Braamfontein, which had begun to develop a reputation as a no-go zone. By the early 2000s, forward thinking property developers like South Point and Adam Levy’s Play Braamfontein began snapping up underutilised and abandoned buildings, with eyes firmly on the future. The location of Wits University in the neighbourhood, the new Gautrain station at Park Station and the critical mass of remaining blue-chip corporates – when combined – promised a strong base from which to reimagine and rebuild the district. And rebuild they did – many of the projects coming to life just in time for the World Cup, with South Point launching a new hotel and Randlords and Play Braamfontein launching 70 Juta and the Neighbourgoods Market in 2011. The district has since evolved, best known for its diverse mix of visitors, residents and office workers, and as the headline grabbing poster child for Joburg’s urban renewal.
70 | www.joburgstyle.co.za
Once celebrated as one of Joburg’s premiere dining destinations, Braamfontein’s food scene has been reinvigorated with a new generation of nosh spots. The Grove, a little public piazza on lower Melle Street, offers a trilogy of eateries including Velo (café style food) and 86 Public Clockwise from top Neighbourgood’s Market, street art, Father Coffee, paella at Neighbourgood’s Market, Daleahs
The September – November 2017 Issue