A piece of Berlin in Jo’burg

I spent last night with a great bunch of people  at 44 Stanley Avenue. Whenever I’m at 44 Stanley Ave I get reminded of how eclectic Jo’burg actually is and to give the non-Jo’burgers a hint of this city’s vibe, I decided to post something about Jo’burg’s best kept secret. I was introduced to 44 Stanley Ave more than 4 years ago when I first moved to Jozi and fell in love with this hidden away piece of city straight away.

What was once a refinery and a series of industrial buildings is now a relaxed “Hinterhof-Culure” with boutiques, restaurants and design studios. Looking at it from the outside it does not reveal what’s hidden behind its walls: artistic flair, a meeting point for Jo’burg’s intellectuals, a trendscout’s paradise. Sitting under olive trees and sipping your coffee or a  freshly-squeezed ginger-apple-carrot juice (my favourite at Salvation Café) makes you wonder if you are actually still in Jo’burg. For me, being a German, it reminds me a lot of Berlin, for a Dutch it could well be Amsterdam, and then there are two lanes to play Boule, lined with beautiful rose bushes and lavender, that makes you feel ike you are somewhere in France.

At 44 Stanley you can find a complete different vibe compared to those in Sandton, Melrose or Rosebank (Jo’burg’s other suburbs I usually find myself at). Some might call it more alternative, some others more intellectual, others say it reminds them a bit of the laid-back Cape Townian look and feel – whatever it is, it attracts more and more visitors and I fear that sooner or later it won’t be a secret spot anymore… which again makes me wonder if  it is a good thing to post this post??? (I guess if you read this, I couldn’t hold back..) But then again, I made it my mission to show non South Africans that Jo’burg is a much nicer place than what the media portrays..

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