Keyes Art Mile Is Very Fancy Indeed

Keyes Art Mile Is Very Fancy Indeed

Last night I visited the Keyes Art Mile for First Thursdays and upon exiting the Über was taken aback. The street was lined on one side by food trucks (and a cheeky Absolute Onyx vodka truck which I later came to learn was courtesy of Union Bar), and shops on the other.

Adorning the street hung big lights, and the overall scene begged one to walk in and explore. My first stop was the Milk Bar. Between their vibrant and haphazard décor and the space jam-packed with plants, which I’m an absolute sucker for, it’s a spot I’d love to visit at a quieter time.


By quieter time I mean one in which there aren’t hordes of people not-so-subtly death staring the lucky few who’d found seating, then leaping at chance to sit down once said people have fought that internal war that’s tormented us all at bustling events. “Do I leave my table? I waited for about an hour for it. It’s wasteful if I leave, but I can’t spend my entire evening rooted to the spot for fear of losing it.” Ah, yes. The joys of these market-styled evenings we find ourselves flocking to a few times a month. Too lazy to stand, too plagued by FOMO to sit still.

As I stood sipping my gin and strawberry and cucumber and rosemary cocktail from Milk Bar, I thought to myself, “Self, this cocktail is indeed very up-its-own-ass with its fancy rosemary and cucumber.” However, four sips in I gave in to its deliciousness and decided that some evenings call for one to be unapologetically pompous. And so powered by gin and a sister, I went with it. I began exploring the galleries and stores and live entertainment.


The live music alternated between a brilliant jazz band playing outdoors whose sporadic yelps during their set made them mesmerising, and a guy playing covers of songs that don’t even touch sides in their original form.

I perused the stores, falling heartbreakingly in love with handbags at Missibaba that perhaps I’ll afford one day when I can rationalise spending about 9k on something to keep my cents in. I peeped into Shelflife, which was swamped with people losing their damn minds, and then I popped into BGR, ordered a cheeseburger with the works and waited 25 minutes to find out what the hype was about. It was indeed a tasty burger, and one that I suspect will prompt overly-specific drunken cravings in evenings to come.


To be honest, my exploration of the galleries was brought to life by my need to pee throughout the evening (very shnazzy cucumber and strawberry and rosemary pee), which led me upstairs into the gallery space where the bathrooms were situated. The thing is, I’m not really one for traipsing through galleries. And the reason I feel comfortable saying as much (while reviewing a location designed with art in mind) is because I suspect there are very many people just like me who dive into evenings such as the one I had last night. Many of us know fokall, but we pretend to.

I imagine that people who genuinely have a love for art must have enjoyed last night, and will enjoy Art Mile for a while yet. I, on the other hand, am happily waiting for the buzz to die to down to experience what this street will bring to Joburg on any other Saturday afternoon, as opposed to evenings dressed up in frills by designer First Thursdays.

by Christy Chilimigras
The Keyes Art Mile is here and my first exploration has me waiting for the buzz to die down.


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