Fancy a drink in a historic bank vault? Visit Zwipi Underground Bar in Jozi

From the creative minds behind inner-city tour company JoburgPlaces comes an ambitious new project: Thunder Walker.

It’s located at the historic Somerset House building on Ghandi Square that was built in 1906 and housed the former United Building Society until it closed its doors in 1930.

Now, JoburgPlaces owner Gerald Garner and his team are reinventing this once forgotten location into a “traveller’s destination” that will consist of a restaurant, events venue, bar and hotel.

In doing so, they aren’t refurbishing or renovating Somerset House as much as cleaning it up and making it health and safety compliant. “In essence, we’re trying to preserve the look and feel of Somerset House as we found it, so that it still remains very much as it was when it was first built,” says Gerald.

Beneath the building, in an old bank vault, is the Zwipi Underground Bar. Given this unique venue, it’s fair to say that Joburg bars probably don’t get edgier than this. As Gerald says, “It works perfectly for our storytelling”.

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