The Union Bar with Black Bottle – a black & gold kinda nightlife

By Lungi Mathupha

Black and gold. A winning combination judging by Aussie singer/songwriter and hitmaker Sam Spurro, leading global gold producer, Anglo Gold Ashanti – and now masters of here-today-gone-tomorrow entertainment, The Union Bar.

With a striking black and gold theme, the pop up bar recently launched their latest collaboration with Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky. Set to entertain and enthral in Illovo, Johannesburg, the newly renovated venue is on the corner of Chaplin and Oxford roads.

From walk-gliding through a green lit, mirrored passage to access the interior, you are welcomed by sparkling burlesque dancers, throne-like armchairs and extravagantly arranged food and cocktails. Not to mention the bar’s furry wall (I’ll leave you to go discover it in person). Besides the upbeat offerings from the DJ, the crowd was also exposed to thrilling electronic violinist, Caitlin de Ville, performing hit after hit.

In comparison to their last pop-up bar in Illovo, the atmosphere this time is of a smoky, mysterious and mischievous nature. There’s a sense of opportunity in the air – to meet someone new, take your best selfie or hear your current fave song and just dance with a complete stranger– the opportunities are endless.

From the cocktails and teasingly tangy canapés to the rush of sweetness from the black macaroons, we had a taste of it all – and loved it.


The doors will open weekly to the public from Thursday to Saturday. Here, you can expect South Africa’s finest musical talent, comedy, disco and other themed nights, cabaret, fashion shows, tattoo evenings and (naturally) whisky pairing. Expect something new on the drinks menu every week.

“This isn’t just any pop-up,” says Joshua Shifren, who conceived The Union Bar brand with Justin Kramer some years ago. “Expect sophistication and style, speciality cocktails served in unconventional vessels, fresh artisanal food, all presented in black and gold. The stage is set for an extraordinary experience.”

We certainly felt the vibe while sipping on a chilled Little Black Dress cocktail, and look forward to more late nights in the coolest just-passing-through Jozi hang out. Don’t miss it.



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