The Marabi Club
The Marabi Club
4.5
Thursday
6:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Friday
6:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Saturday
6:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
About
The Marabi Club is the home of superb food and drink accompanied by fine live jazz performances. Visible from the street only by the discreet black canopy above a small metal door in Doornfontein, downtown Johannesburg, the Marabi Club harks back to a vibrant history. In the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of the Doornfontein slumyards, created in the wake of one of the world’s richest gold rushes, gave rise to an urban culture known as ‘marabi’. As the foundation of this new culture, the music was energetic and improvisational. It was a lifestyle prompted by the need to escape the hardships of the working week – defined by illegal shebeens, where the fierce talk of politics was accompanied by the equally disruptive soundtrack of jazz. Today the Marabi Club, tucked into the basement of Hallmark House, evokes this history through the many careful details of the club’s interior. Add excellent food, a long bar, jauntily dressed waitrons offering friendly and slick service, and live jazz.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles48 reviews
Excellent
33
Very good
9
Average
3
Poor
2
Terrible
1

Marcia
Johannesburg, South Africa23 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
Such a deeply disappointing experience. As an avid jazz (& food!) lover, I was really looking forward to experiencing this place. And was willing to look past it's less-than-ideal location. But the only decent thing about it all, was the jazz band. They were excellent. (They switched to R&B in their third set, which was painful, but....)
The "mains" on the menu were basically tapas, as explained by the waiter when I asked why the portions were so tiny. The actual quality of the food didn't come anywhere near matching the price. The service was awful. My waiter seemed interested for a bit, then literally disappeared. I paid R115 for a bottle of water.
Worst of all: I was told that after pre-paying R100 online, half of that amount would be deducted from my food/ drinks bill. The bill arrived with nothing deducted. The waiter seemed irritated when I inquired. And then again, disappeared to correct it. He'd left his card machine on my table. He was gone for so long, that I eventually did the transaction myself and left.

I don't recommend this spot unless you are willing to overlook all the above, don't order any food and just need to listen to music for an hour.
Written 13 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Navigator
Johannesburg, South Africa89 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019 • Friends
The restaurant is beautifully decorated and boasts a few retro pieces that bring back the feeling of nostalgia.
Be sure to call and book in advance and use the 54 Sivewright Avenue entrance. There’s also valet parking available.
The food is served tapas style and comes in small portions. Quite pricey though. Expect to pay more or less R600 per person. We had 6 dishes altogether to share. My favorite was the crab dish. The live band was amazing....it is a jazz club after all! On the downside, the cocktails weren’t good at all. All in all, a good night out.
Written 29 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thierry K
Toronto, Canada84 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Business
Had a chance to dine at this place, was truly blown away by the food, the portions looked tiny, but very filling, enjoyed the live jazz band in the background, and the best part is that the place isn't that crowded, giving you an atmosphere of an intimate dinner experience. The wine was a bit pricey. But overall great place.
Written 16 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ria M
87 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Couples
This was our third visit to Marabi and thetapas style fusion food is all delicious fresh and beautifully presented. Service is outstanding and the interior warm and quirky. Jazz music is tops (bit loud at times) and the vibe is great. Definitely one of our favorite restaurants
Written 25 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

norfolkngoodkl
Norfolk, England22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
I was invited to my friends 60th birthday party at this venue. She had hired a private room and ordered a meal f rom their set menu. The room was the appropriate size for the 31 people present and could be closed off from the rest of the venue during the meal. The five courses were more or less like tapas and each plate had to be shared by two guests to avoid the table being cluttered with additional plates. The causes were quite small and certainly would have left those with a big appetite wanting. However the selection was interesting and of contrasting flavours and textures..
The four piece band were very competent jazz musicians and played a wide variety of music of cantrasting styles. The female singer was also very good and enunciated her words clearly. With the private room opend up after the meal access to the dance was quite simple despite the fact that the floor was bordered with tables at which guests were eating and drinking. By the end of the evening when everyone ad finished eating and drinking the staff joined in the dancing which was also a nice touch to see all present enjoying the friendly atmosphere..............
Written 29 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mcguirks2017
Mexico City, Mexico8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Couples
My husband and I went here and had such a great time, we brought 14 of our friends here before we all left on Safari. We are from San Francisco, and New York, and it was such a great experience. What a cool place! Totally has the vibe of a speakeasy.
If we lived in Joburg, we would definitely be members ! The manager was incredibly gracious and showed us all around the back rooms of the club, and even on our second visit showed all our friends around! Food was delicious... drinks were wonderful - especially enjoyed the Old Fashion and Smokey Old Fashion.
Written 18 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Owen R
Johannesburg, South Africa9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Friends
This is by far, Johannesburg’s best kept secret. It’s like walking into an enchanted garden. Does not look like much on the outside, but once inside....Amazing food, extraordinary service, great vibe, and the music is of the highest standard. An awesome experience. Can’t wait for our next visit
Written 28 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MG1944
Johannesburg, South Africa477 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Business
Being a first-time visitor, I was uneasy about the parking. Giving your car-keys to a complete stranger in Johannesburg is not normally advisable if you want to see your car again! Therefore better signage at the roadside entrance would be helpful (indicating the cost as well). The next impression on entering the venue is excellent - good decor and a well appointed bar.
However, both the wine list and menu are printed in what must be the smallest font possible, which makes read them in low light very difficult.
The service was very good, efficient and friendly with our waiter giving good advice.
We were a group of 7 and had tapas. Some dishes were of high quality and interesting combinations, whereas others were rather stodgy, tasteless and poor.
The background music was very pleasant. However, when the live music started it became difficult to have a dinner conversation and towards the end of the evening, the music/signing became deafening. The extra charge for this came as a surprise (as did the valet parking costs).
The loos were very clean and interestingly designed.
Sadly the way the final bill was presented resulted in a long discussion with the management - the deposit made at the time of booking (obligatory) was nowhere to be seen on the bill (but somehow had been taken into account). This cannot be acceptable. Finally be aware that gratuity of 12.5% is added automatically, something that is unusual in South Africa.
Written 22 May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

foxyfoxholes
London, UK217 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Couples
We loved the Marabi Club. From the huge bouncers on the vault like door, to the quirky bar with piano keys to the really great jazz, and somewhere to dance the night away.

The food is great, a nod to tapas, which works well. You can snack and graze all night long if you want to dance, or just soak up the jazz. The wine list is fine, but pricey. Up there with London prices, but in terms of an overall experience it’s pretty good value.

Great staff, very professional, just remember you’re in a pretty dodgy part of town, so make sure you book an Uber or have your own driver. Oh, and you’ll have to book way in advance if you want to go on a Saturday or Friday night.

Definitely will be going back.
Written 2 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jan E
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa77 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
A fancy place in a neglected area - but make the effort and go and visit this stunning venue. You would think you're in New Orleans - from the piano bar to the cigar lounge. Beautiful, contemporary interior and design. The crowd is cosmopolitan, the music superb. However, food and drinks are expensive - a main would not be enough if you're hungry. The menu on the website is outdated. Definitely worth a visit though.
Written 29 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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THE MARABI CLUB (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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