Whether it’s half-price pizza Tuesday or live jazz on a Friday night The Radium Beerhall, Johannesburg’s oldest surviving bar and grill, is a lively destination that attracts a diverse crowd for great food and music.
The Radium has a colourful history. First opened in 1929 it was the site of a tearoom owned by the Khalil family. At the time the institutionalised racial segregation enforced by apartheid had yet to take effect, but it was taboo for non-whites to drink openly in bars, so the tearoom sold alcohol to these customers in secret. More than 10 years later, a liquor licence was acquired and The Radium Beer Hall was formed. In 1944, it became a community bar, and over the years attracted its fair share of eccentric customers. Current owner Manny Cabeleira took over the place in 1986 and has become as much of a Joburg legend as the bar itself.
The historic ambience is still part of the establishment with its curved wooden antique bar (said to have been rescued from the old Ferreirastown Hotel). The walls are lined with reminders of The Radium's past, including photographs, newspaper clippings and classic newspaper posters featuring witty headlines.
The varied menu includes pizza, steak, seafood, and traditional Portuguese fare such as sardines and peri-peri chicken livers. The venue has a weekly live music lineup that ranges widely from blues to contemporary rock and jazz.
See the website for specials and the gig line-up.