Last week I was invited to try out a co-working space called Basecamp, which is in Linden.
A co-working space is basically an office for people like me — people who don’t exactly have jobs. I’d been wanting to try one for a while, hoping that working in a quasi-office-like environment would help me to be more productive.
Basecamp is in a quirky shopping centre on 4th Avenue called Linden Place. It’s a centre I visit often because my favorite camera repair shop, Sunray Photography, is also there.
I definitely got more done at Basecamp than I do in my office at home — especially on the day I had a writing deadline. At home I’m constantly getting up from my desk, wandering around the house, doing dishes, listening to podcasts, petting the Melville Cat. At Basecamp I had nothing to do except…work.
But in addition to reminding me what a horrible procrastinator I am and how much more productive I can be under the right circumstances, my time at Basecamp also reminded me how much I like Linden. I like Linden so much, in fact, that I’ve decided to write this blog post about some of my favorite spots there.
I Like Linden
Although slightly further from downtown Joburg than Melville, Linden is centrally located — within easy driving distance of the Jozi CBD, Sandton, and the Randburg CBD. Linden is also one of the most walkable Joburg suburbs and is experiencing a gastronomic and cultural renaissance. I can’t believe how many nice restaurants, shops, and cafés are opening up in Linden these days.
If I didn’t live in Melville, I’d live in Linden for sure.
This list is by no means comprehensive and focuses mainly on restaurants, rather than shops. But here are a few of my top Linden picks. I’ve blogged about a few of them before.
1) The Argentinean
The Argentinean, at the corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Street, is one of the suburb’s oldest coffeeshops and a Linden landmark. The Argentinean is mostly known for its croissants and baked goods, and while I haven’t been totally blown away by the food, it’s worth going for the great atmosphere and people-watching.
2) The Cheese Gourmet
The Cheese Gourmet, at the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue, stocks one of the largest selections (maybe THE largest selection) of locally produced cheeses in South Africa. The shop has an adjoining café with a menu centered around cheese.
The Cheese Gourmet is truly fantastic — one of my favorite places in Joburg. I blogged about it many years ago but it’s high time for a reminder. In addition to the cheeses, check out the Cheese Gourmet’s delicious breads and preserves and the huge selection of olives.
3) Fab Café and Gelato
I visited Fab — on 7th Street just a few steps from the Cheese Gourmet — for the first time this morning. It was 10:00 a.m. and felt too early for gelato, but I’d heard many rave reviews about the place so I had to try something. I went with the lemon sorbet, which felt more breakfast-like than gelato, and it was delicious. I also love Fab’s blue and white decor.
4) Yield Coffee Bar
I blogged about Yield very recently so I won’t repeat myself. But Yield serves the best coffee in Linden and the atmosphere is perfect. I feel like I could sit there all day.
5) Craft Beer Library
UPDATE (December 2018): The Craft Beer Library is closed and I’m devastated.
I confess I have not yet drunk an actual beer at the Craft Beer Library; I’ve only walked past a few times when it’s too early for beer. But what a beautiful space this is, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. The Craft Beer Library is also near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street, just around the corner from Yield.
6) Brian Lara Rum Eatery
Caribbean-themed restaurants seem to be all the rage in Joburg at the moment and I think Brian Lara started that trend. As far as I know, this is the only place in town where you can order a piña colada in an actual pineapple and I highly recommend doing so.
7) Picola Pizza and Pasta
Picola is a bit of a dive, occupying a strange little indoor-outdoor space in the Spar shopping centre at 4th Avenue and 8th Street. Picola won’t win any awards for its atmosphere but it serves the best take-away pizza in Linden. Picola featured in my Jozi Pizza Wars series back in 2015.
Please don’t be upset if I haven’t mentioned your favorite Linden spot in this post. I realize there are literally dozens more. In fact, feel free to mention your own best Linden places in the comments section.
Thanks to Basecamp for hosting me last week and for inspiring this post.