“You can take away Kitchener’s and you’re literally taking away Braam,” said DJ, Billy Meliodas of the bar’s closure.  

Shockwaves have been sent throughout the street life culture this week, as Kitchener’s Carvery Bar announced their closure due to ‘economic circumstances’.  

Kitchener’s Carvery Bar in Braamfontein. Photo: Siyanda Mthethwa.

The pub has been situated in the heart of Braamfontein since the early 1900s and more recently has been an iconic cornerstone of the creative hub of the city. The blue exterior with white pillars draws people in visually, but the music and electric energy are what lure people in and make them loyal patrons. Wits Vuvuzela student journalist, Ruby Delahunt, describes the venue as a “welcoming environment” that “allowed a lot of new DJs to test the waters and start out”. 

Kitchener’s truly stands out because of its authenticity and its pursuit of keeping its unique identity. Eddie, a bartender at Kitchener’s said, “Nights where there’s just two customers here, we never said ‘Oh no, maybe we should change our music, maybe we should change business. We never compromised as so many trends came and went’”. He further went on to explain that “it’s always been a huge part of street culture in Braamfontein” and that it’s “given a platform to so many people” including creatives and musicians who were able to express themselves without shame. 

Local DJ, Billy Meliodas, went into depth about the impact that Kitchener’s had on his life and Braamfontein as a whole. “The owner of Kitchener’s [Andrew Clement] took me from the street, and he looked after me. Everyone in Kitchener’s is happy…it’s not a place where you can come and find conflict”. He continued, “They’re closing the true heart of Braam…this place is a home to everybody.” 

Kitchener’s is one of the last remaining authentic pubs which prioritizes community as Billy and the staffers explained, people could go to the bar on their own with a guarantee that they would walk out having made a friend or two. A final hoorah will be held this long weekend.   

Thank you, Kitchener’s for being a home to many. Thank you, Kitchener’s for being a safe space and encouraging people to chase their dreams and just have fun. After March 31, 2024, it will no longer be open, but it will forever be in our minds and hearts. We hope that the energy and symbol that it represented stays with us and the future of Braamfontein. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Siyanda Mthethwa Photo: File