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Where to eat and where to play at #NAF2019

Published on 24 June 2019

It’s not just your head and your heart that need filling at Festival time, it’s your belly too! Here are some ideas on where to eat, drink and be merry in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown):

Coffee and restaurants

Major Fraser’s Craft Bar and Eatery: Corner of Somerset and High streets (opposite Drostdy Arch). Vibey atmosphere with gorgeous courtyard surrounded by shops selling clothes and gifts. There’s a beauty salon there too. Open from 11am to 10pm. Delicious pizzas, burgers and salads, with a wide range of craft beers, gins and mocktails. Find it on Facebook.

The Barista. Sisa: In the same ‘Opposite the Arch’ building as Major Fraser’s. Brand new. An ‘authentically African coffee shop’, where barista Sisa ‘aims to showcase the African roots of his coffee in the way that he prepares and presents your daily fix’. Good coffee, great decor, snacks and cakes. Brand new in town. Find it on Facebook.

Hand Made Coffees: Old Gaol building, Somerset Street. Run by Garvey ‘the coffee god’, who also serves his excellent coffee at the Monument. Serving freshly roasted coffee, buttery croissants, savoury quiches, roosterkoek and fresh sandwiches. Good spot for breakfast with fruit smoothies and ‘Hand Made Muesli’ and ‘Hand Made Toast’ (served with ‘Hand Made Plum Jam’ – you get the picture). Find it on Facebook.

Star Cafe: This new cafe is in Tiga’s Garden Nursery on the corner of Allen and African streets. It’s run by well-known local caterer and foodie Sharon Macleod. She also runs the Theatre Café, which is right in the centre of things at the Rhodes Theatre, corner Somerset and Prince Alfred streets. Baked goodies, light meals, including vegan and gluten-free options. Find it on Facebook.

Homeground Coffee Roasters: Serving coffee roasted on the premises since 2007. Order from the takeaway hatch if you’re in a hurry to catch a show. Find it on Facebook.

Provost Cafe: Lucas Avenue (the road up the hill to the Monument). The Old Provost was built in the 1830s as a military prison. It’s been renovated and turned into a charming cafe with an interesting courtyard. Coffee, light meals and snacks – including vegetarian and gluten-free options. Find it on Facebook.

NAF Superfans recommend…

We asked some of our NAF Superfans on Facebook where they like to go during Festival time:
  • Red Café: High Street (above the bookshop). Sharlene Senekal says: ‘Red Cafe is always a hit btw! Love the alternative menu – a really yummy treat! Try their avo milkshakes.’
  • Revelations: Pepper Grove Mall, African Street. Danyela Dimakatso Demir says it’s a good spot ‘for some down time and if one feels like a quiet chat with (newly found) friends…’
  • Brewer Clare Riley of the brand-new Featherstone Brewery Tasting Room and Beer Garden says, ‘Although the Festival Ale (the official beer of the National Arts Festival) can be found throughout Makhanda, the brewery itself is the only place to get other limited edition Featherstone beers… plus the views are beautiful’. Open every day from 12 noon to 7pm. Find it on Facebook.
  • Daniel Kilchenmann says to try the new Out the Box in New Street (outside The FarmBox). ‘Here you’ll find great food by HEAT and Jane Solo Tea&Bagel Bar and (very) good coffees made by On The Brew Mobile Coffee. All in a beautiful urban garden setting.’

Got a recommendation? Share it with us by joining the NAF Superfans group on Facebook. 

Other restaurants to try

  • The Monument Restaurant. On the 1st floor of the Monument. Serves on-the-go snacks, warm meals and breakfasts. Enjoy the incredible views from the Monument’s first floor.
  • Cafe D’Vine:  New Street. Beautiful big garden (in which to consult your programme). Gorgeous cakes, light meals. Find it on Facebook.
  • The Highlander: In the grounds of St Andrews College, just off Worcester Street. Also a venue for shows and art exhibitions. Fantastic pizza. The Lowlander is below, where you’ll find fantastic pizza too.
  • Saint’s Bistro: High Street, in Piet Retief’s former trading store. Large restaurant with inside and outside seating. Burgers, pastas and other mains. Find it on Facebook.
  • Pothole and Donkey: In the Graham Hotel, High Street. A good breakfast buffet (‘babalas breakfast’), kudu burgers. Find it on Facebook.
  • Haricot’s Deli & Bistro: New Street. Good fare, roasts, delicious cakes and a lovely courtyard. Our ‘Grab & Go’ window serves coffees and pastries every morning. WiFi. Find it on Facebook.
  • The Rat and Parrot: A Makhanda institution, very popular with students. Busy bar and restaurant. NAF Superfan Kate Thompson Ferreira recommends their chilli and chips. Find it on Facebook. 

Pop-up restaurants

There are some spots that only operate during the Festival. These include:
  • Namaste Boet, an ‘Indian/Eastern Cape fusion’. Serving curries for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores, made from locally sourced fresh veg, grass-fed beef as well as free-range chicken and lamb. Find it next to the Scout Hall in African Street. Open between 6 and 10pm daily.
  • The Butcher Bird, which has its parent in nearby Bedford. Find the restaurant at The Wyvern on the Kingswood campus. Open for dinner and Sunday lunch.
  • The Long Table. A longtime NAF favourite, frequented til late at night by excited Festival-goers, artists, crews and others. Standard buffet (roast chicken, veg enchilladas, etc). Licenced.


Yes! There are clubs for those late, late nights too.
  • Slipstream: Live music. Pool tables.
  • 37 on New: Techno, with well-known DJs.
  • Prime: Expect some great DJs during Festival.
  • Friar Tuck’s: House, EDM – ‘where people end up when everything else is closed’.

Free WiFi

Thanks to long-time sponsors Standard Bank, there will be FREE WiFi available in the Monument building, at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival at DSG School, the Standard Bank Village Green and at the Standard Bank Jazz & Blues Café at Saint’s Bistro.


For more detailed listings, please see ‘Festival Fare’ in the 2019 Hospitality Brochure.

Photo: Major Fraser’s / Facebook