Membership not needed: now anyone can dine at Jozi's exclusive Rand Club
The City of Gold's iconic member's club now features a public bistro boasting a fuss-free à la carte menu
Founded in 1887 in Joburg’s heady gold rush days, the Rand Club is one of the city’s most enduring social institutions – and one of its most beautiful heritage buildings from the Edwardian era.
Up until just a few months ago, the club was open to members only, retaining an air of exclusivity that has endured over the past 100-odd years. Non-members lucky enough to visit during a private tour would get a glimpse of the grand interior with its sweeping wooden staircase, plush carpets, rich antiques and artworks.
After realising the club needed another strategy to remain sustainable – especially after a fire in 2005 damaged much of the top floor – events management company Masiwela Management began renting out parts of the club for weddings and private events a few years ago.
The latest development to this is a restaurant that opened to the public at the beginning of March, in partnership with French Corner Catering.
Located in the downstairs main bar, the elegant space is framed by large stained-glass windows and a sweeping wooden bar – which still holds the accolade of the longest bar in Africa.
Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s bistro menu offers light meals – from wraps and salads to more substantial dishes like pork skewers, line fish, burgers and good old bangers and mash.
“The focus is on an easy, uncomplicated à la carte menu that’s accessible to the general public but still appeals to existing members,” says Brandon Clifford, the club’s business development director.
Once the restaurant is more established, there are plans for a seasonal menu and smaller snack menus to accompany after-work drinks in the cigar lounge and ladies lounge.
As has been the case since it was first built, the Rand Club is the perfect location for business meetings, which makes it perfect for surrounding banks and corporates – whether they use it for client lunches or business meetings over drinks after the working day is over.
While the main bar and other downstairs rooms are open to the public, upstairs venues such as the ballroom, library and the billiards room are still strictly reserved for members only.
“This is an iconic building that we hope will attract people wanting a really authentic experience,” says Brandon.
Perhaps no other venue in Joburg better epitomises the glamour of the city’s early gold rush days, and now with its wider accessibility, even more Joburg residents can enjoy it.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za