Cradle of Food and Wine Festival & Green Bar

Cradle of Food and Wine Festival & Green Bar

“Johannesburg is all business, business, business - numbers, numbers, numbers.”

“There’s not much to do in Joburg, I want to move to Cape Town, where the ‘vibe’ is.”

“Joburg is boring unless you have lots of money.”

I could go on, and state a few more quotes that can be heard in conversations between us ‘Joburgers’, and quite regularly I may add. I am one of the people that can be accused of this, I will admit. I tend to make the assumption that there just isn’t anything going on in our city. Everything happens elsewhere. The ‘snazzy’ events, the ‘hip’ shows, the ‘alternative gatherings’, if you will. It all seems to happen in places like Cape Town, or Grahamstown. However, is that really true?

I’ve been getting around lately, performing at different venues and events, to all sorts of different crowds. What has struck me, is that…I may have been wrong. Johannesburg may just have more to offer than I - very naively - initially presumed.

Over this past weekend, I had a chance to put this new found ‘personal revelation’, to the test. My band and I would be performing at two separate venues at opposite ends of the city. We would journey from the Cradle of Humankind itself to the East Rand. (Now that surely has to give me some interesting insight into human evolution.) This way, I would be able to get a taste - even if just a small taste - of what Johannesburg has to offer, without breaking the bank.

Let me be slightly unconventional here, and start with my conclusion. Then, I will tell you why I say this. Joburg is actually quite the ‘hip’ and happening place, and not just for those with deep pockets.

My weekend started off with a short travel out to the Cradle of Humankind. Now some may say, “Well that’s not quite Johannesburg, is it?” Yet, it’s only a 50 kilometres from the city and an hour’s drive. We spend more time in traffic on an average day than that and this drive is actually interesting and relaxing.

It is still so strange that one moment you are driving in the hustle and bustle of the city and the next you are in stunning countryside and bush. You can still see the high-rises of Sandton and Johannesburg city when you look back over the hills. It really is amazing, and you often forget just how close this beauty and serenity is to your doorstep.


The first event - taking place at the Cradle Boutique Hotel - was the ‘Cradle of Food and Wine Festival.’ On offer was a wine tasting, “featuring some of SA’s finest Woman Craft Gin & Wine Makers”, this according to the brochure. Well, that already had me interested. To add to that, you could enjoy an A’la Carte Lunch. Wine and Food? At the Cradle of Humankind? How could you go wrong?

From what I could tell, by all the happy - slightly red from all the wine - faces, it went really well. Trust me, the food was great and the wine and gin were even better! While you were sipping on your wine, you could enjoy the sounds of Sean Hayz, The Motherland, and yours truly, Black Harbour. The event was a treat for all.


So, you’ve just been to one of the most beautiful parts of the country, enjoyed quality food, fine wines and gin, and even had a little entertainment on the side. Weekend done? Satisfied? Well, it very well could be. However, on Sunday, you could be at it again.


For the next event, I was in the East. Benoni, to be exact, and was to perform at ‘The Green Craft Bar.’ This venue has been something rather unique to us ‘Benonians’, however, The Green has been expanding recently to other parts of Johannesburg. I am not surprised really. The Green is my personal favourite venue, and everyone should get the chance to share in its great atmosphere. With a vast selection of quality craft beers, gin and mouth-watering craft foods, mixed in with the friendly and warm atmosphere, your stomach and heart will be smiling.


The Green craft bars are doing their bit to support the local music scene too, and are putting on some great entertainment to add to the already excellent ‘vibe’. Black Harbour performed a 2-hour set to a receptive audience, and an altogether quality afternoon was had in good old Benoni. Plus, there were no fights. Good on you Benoni, good on you.


So there you have it. Just a small taste of what Johannesburg has to offer, and that’s hardly scratching the surface. I’ve had a few weekends like this now while performing, and have discovered new and wonderful venues, and met great people.

Let’s get out there and rediscover our city. There are people and venues providing us with all the food, drink and entertainment we could ask for.

Johannesburg is NOT boring!

Do yourself a favour and look into these two venues. Keep a lookout as they host events each weekend, and on a monthly basis.

Photo credit:

Cradle of Food and Wine - Wayne van Tonder.

The Green Craft Bar - The Green. Craft Bar Facebook. (With permission by management.)


by Wayne van Tonder
A food and wine fest just outta Jozi all the way to Benoni