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Eating Out in Johannesburg

Jo’ burg does not boast a cuisine unique to the city. However, one can easily find a variety of world cuisines –French, Italian and Portuguese restaurants are particularly popular. Jo’burg restaurants are not known for their service, but complaining can help matters somewhat. American-style steak house chains are also popular haunts with locals. Vegetarians may have a problem finding adequate taste and variety in their dining.

Due to its long history of mining and the culture associated with it, drinking has always played a major part in Johannesburg's social life, often substituting all else. Bars tend to be male-dominated and regulars-only establishments, but things are changing in areas like Yeoville, where a recent influx of middle-class blacks has helped to make relaxed racial mingling possible. There are also plenty of bars in the African-dominated districts of Hillbrow, Berea and Troyeville, while in the northern suburbs they exist within shopping centers.

Johannesburg’s nightlife is nothing short of legendary, and news coverage about city crime has not dampened the enthusiasm of sophisticated local audiences or of visitors looking for a taste of this entertainment scene. Jo’burgers love to have a good time and party well into the wee hours of the morning. Hillbrow and Yeoville are the most likely sites of clubbing where an eclectic but heady mix of disco, soul, hip-hop, mbaqanga, kwaito and Zairean soukous awaits you. In the predominantly white northern suburbs, rock and indie sounds predominate and mostly whites-only all-night raves take place every weekend in weird and funky venues.

Despite the lack of good venues, Jo’burg dominates the country’s contemporary music/jazz scene and concerts can be found at the Standard Bank Arena in Ellis Park or the FNB Stadium mid-way to Soweto. Medium-sized acts generally play in the Newtown Cultural Precinct including the Megamusic Warehouse. Newtown is also the place to find jazz, while kwaito and kwela bands abound in Hillbrow and Yeoville. Apart from the usual array of nightclubs, bars and pubs that dot areas like Market Theatre and Yeoville, there are numerous venues offering the best of classical music, opera and theatre in the country. South Africa's National Symphony Orchestra performs at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown.

The Civic Theatre in Braamfontein is Johannesburg's premier venue for theatre and opera productions, but there are several other good venues, including the Johannesburg Youth Theatre. The Dance Academy and the Dance Factory in the Newtown Cultural Precinct are reviving Johannesburg dance.

The city FM radio stations and newspapers/magazines contain listings, but the former are usually better bets. The Johannesburg Publicity Association also publishes a magazine called Johannesburg Alive.

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