The Union Bar comes back to the city

By Lungz Mathupha

There’s a common IsiZulu saying that goes: Into emnandi iyaphindwa, meaning when it’s good, it deserves to be enjoyed a second time. That was my immediate reaction when news of the re-opening of eclectic pop up bar, The Union Bar, came my way.

The exclusive launch night, held on the corner of Oxford and Chaplin Street in Illovo (inside the Norman Goodfellows Warehouse), was everything imagined – and then some. When tongues weren’t wagging about the eccentric decor, the massive cocktail menu had their full attention.

Sponsored by Hendricks Gin, the bar is overflowing with enticing drinks from the Victorian era inspired cocktail menu – perfect conversation-starters and selfie accessories, by the way. Five of the country’s top mixologists and a specialist bartender from Hong Kong designed the crowd-pleasing menu to perfection.

Guests sashay across the room as upbeat tendrils of music heighten the ambience, and it feels like the doors have never been closed. As if we’d all just picked up from where we left off – another great night out at The Union.

Despite the air of something new and peculiar upon arrival, there’s also a sense of familiarity that welcomes each guest. From the quirky, but heart-warming conversation I had with the bartender/mixologist, to the casual flow of people as they mill about the space, it’s easy to feel right at home.

The bar will be open for a limited time – from 24 April till 11 July. And like a summer fling gone way too soon, many Joburgers will be left either with amazing memories or deep regret. Ward off FOMO and actually missing out. Set a date to check out this eclectic bar for yourself.

* All pics courtesy of The Union Bar’s Facebook page.


About the author, Lungile Mathupha: A wordsmith in the making and cupcake advocate who is passionate, adventurous – except camping (meh), always a student and one day hopes to live off love, cooking, laughter, good books and writing – bliss.


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