Orange Grove is a fascinating area. Formerly opulent and with a recognised, sizable Jewish contingent, the suburb has gone through many major image shifts in recent times. Running through its centre is the infamous Louis Botha Avenue, linking Alexandra Township and Hillbrow. With the subsequent masses of taxis, strange rundown shops and suspicious nocturnal characters, the area is now often given a wide birth by less adventurous Joburg explorers. Less they forget that nestling right in the middle of this volatile urban madness is the famous Radium Beerhall.
The Radium Beerhall cannot die. It has been in operation since 1929 and has, somehow, managed to adapt to each and every shift in its immediate urban context, no matter how extreme. It is one of the oldest pubs and grills in the city and still holds an allure that previous generations recollect with nostalgic happiness.
The pub takes pride of place on a street corner off Louis Botha and comprises the famous pub and restaurant areas- immediately recognisable from the popular Savannah Cider television adverts- and a hidden, upstairs area at the back. The venue’s interior honours its history with pride, with all manner or photos and newspaper clippings from all of its decades of existence stuck to the walls in commemoration.
The Radium is a true embodiment of Joburg. It is a survivor that, although bruised and beaten from time to time, goes on with determination and a smile. With its never-say-die, friendly and unique, pressed-ceiling, old Joburg atmosphere and decades’ worth of live music, great food and drink, this famous pub is still an establishment that demands regular visits.