A Night Out on 7th Street

Another look at 7th Street. This time, at night…

Feel like dinner, drinks, dancing? All three? Not sure which of the three? Maybe best to go somewhere to start and then see where the evening leads? OK, where? While Joburg offers a wealth of options for the aspiring socialite, your best bet for a combination of fun night time activities probably remains 7th Street in Melville, which has been a leading social strip in the city for a great many years.

7th street isn’t just about socializing (as we elaborated in a previous post), but it is predominantly known as a social artery, and for good reason.  The sheer variety of cuisines, cocktails and sounds on offer means that only the loyal need to experience the same kind of night out there more than once.
But it is the variety of people to be found on 7th street that generates its unique buzz, and that elevates it above its competition, in Joburg and abroad.  While, by day, it mostly reflects the demographics of suburban Melville, come night-time 7th street is one of the most racially diverse areas in the world, nevermind the country, where its apparently seamless integration serves as posterchild for a ‘new’ Joburg and South Africa, a beacon for the normalisation of our city and society after so many years of brutal segregation.  Somewhere were, after only one or two drinks, one can see societal transformation manifest physically, if you just sit in the same spot for long enough.
Better still, the diversity of 7th street’s clientele extends beyond race.  It is one of few social arteries where people of all ages and walks of life can be found, from young hipsters to older hippies and yuppies of indeterminable ages in between.  It is one of few Joburg streets where women walk without male chaperones.   It is one of Joburg’s gay-friendliest strips, indeed, somewhere where sexual fluidity becomes just as observable as transformation, albeit after a few more drinks…
Of course, none of these statements hold unequivocally true for everyone, and 7th street has, over the years, certainly seen its share of conflict, harassment and other problems associated with such streets everywhere in the world (noise, rubbish, violence, petty crime and, …um… a recent murder outside one of its more shady establishments).  But even so, we dare readers to suggest a more inclusive and diverse night-spot in the city and, when they find it, to please take us there.
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