Steampunk Meets Gastro Pub in Fourways

With the craft beer scene in Joburg growing daily, it’s becoming rare to find a pub that doesn’t have a tap or two. With this comes the kind of competition that forces establishments to innovate or be forgotten. A couple of taps and a fusion menu aren’t enough anymore and none make this more evident than Joburg’s latest gastropub, The Steamworks.

Steamworks gets its name from the popular sub-genre of science fiction called ‘steampunk’. Visually, it mixes industrial chic and the complexities of punk (think the new Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downy JR). It’s a stunning aesthetic and one that is very difficult to get right but I think they nailed it. There are brass pipes leading in and out of everything from the lamp shades to the bathroom mirror but the ‘piece de resistance’ has to be the massive clock above the bar which features intricate cogs and hands which actually move. The lighting also needs special mention because each takes the form of pipes with water coming from them. The water pouring from the pipes is made from glass and the bulb is placed somewhere in the middle of all of this. I’ve never seen anything like it and it certainly puts the ‘cherry on top’ to say the very least.

Owned and dreamed up by the same guys that brought you The Loft, The Office, The Griffin and Perron, Steamworks is the latest in a proud tradition of great establishments by this team and they have yet to disappoint. The decor is top notch but that’s not where it ends. The space is laid out in a way that will cater to all forms of diners with a clever outdoor space for those that like a sunny lunch, a sort of bar and cafe area for those looking to just have drinks and snacks, not to mention a full-on restaurant area for those wanting a more relaxed evening.

The menu covers all the basics from snacks to shared platters and mains, but one thing that stood out was the focus on traditional pub fare with a twist. The burger I ordered, for example, had Swiss Gruyere cheese on it which really kicks it up a notch. Another thing that I think is particularly notable is their Sunday lunch offering which sees guests enjoying a typical English style lamb roast with all the extras. Very few people cater to that these days and I’m always looking out for it.

Their beer menu is, as advertised quite unique. You can expect all the usual suspects like Jack Black but with one or two gems sprinkled on top for good measure. Swagga IPA from Alberton was one I hadn’t seen elsewhere while the Aces Brewworx Red Lager from Kyalami was another unexpected but welcomed surprise. All too many places tout themselves as a craft beer spot but don’t deliver on the taps but I’m happy to report that Steamworks lives up to it.

Make sure to stop by if you’re in the Fourways area or if you’re in the mood for lunch or dinner in a completely unique environment. You won’t be disappointed.

by Byron Marais

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