Mandla the barista at Tarantino's

Tarantino’s: Joburg’s Most Secret Coffeeshop

I’ve written a couple of posts before about secret Jozi coffeeshops (see here and here). But the secret-ness of those coffeeshops pales in comparison to the secret-ness of Tarantino’s Coffee Co. in Marshalltown, on the eastern side of the Joburg CBD.

Entrance to Tarantino's Coffee CoThe entrance to Tarantino’s, on Thorpe Street in the CBD. It’s behind the Old Johannesburg Warehouse and around the corner from the big Standard Bank complex.

I discovered Tarantino’s in the most Joburgian way. I was on a reconnaissance mission around the inner city with my friend Meruschka, who said she knew about a hidden coffeeshop nearby. We wandered around looking for the building.

“I think this is it,” Meruschka said, stopping in front of a nondescript doorway with a man sitting on a stool in front. We walked in and the building was a shell inside, with bare concrete walls, exposed bricks, various holes in the walls and floor, and the stray graffiti piece here and there.

Meruschka in abandoned Tarantino's buildingMeruschka inside the building shell.

We wandered through the building, up and down a few staircases, until we finally found our way to the other side and then we were in a funky coffeeshop courtyard.

Tarantino's courtyardThe courtyard at Tarantino’s, with empty space above and beyond.

We continued through the courtyard, into a kind of glassed-in sitting area, and then there was the coffee bar — all industrial-looking with a metal counter and an antique typewriter and Tarantino-inspired artwork on the walls.

Mandla the barista at Tarantino'sThe coffee bar at Tarantino’s, manned by Mandla the barista.

Inside Tarantino'sToo cool.

Guy working at Tarantino'sLooks like a nice place to work.

The coffee at Tarantino’s is good — it’s no Thirdspace or Father Coffee but still perfectly acceptable — and the atmosphere is cool without being pretentious. I’ve been twice and loved it both times. Mandla, the barista, is really friendly and nice. Note that Tarantino’s does not serve food.

I tried to find out some intel of who owns Tarantino’s and what the future of this building is. Mandla did tell me the coffeeshop is owned by the same person who owns the building, but wouldn’t say anything beyond that. This building is definitely worth keeping an eye on though, and I recommend getting to Tarantino’s ASAP before something changes.

How to Find Tarantino’s Coffee Co.

Tarantino’s is at 29 Thorpe Street, Marshalltown. It’s a quiet street and easy to park on; just look for shop’s wood-paneled entryway. The back entrance, which Meruschka and I wandered through, is on Kay Street near the corner of Loveday Street. I’m not sure that entrance is always open and it requires wandering through the abandoned part of the building (which is cool but maybe not for everyone).

Fiver at Tarantino'sFiver enjoys a flat white.

Read the rest of my Favorite Jozi Coffeeshops series.

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9 Comments

  • Reply davidjbristow May 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    I wished I lived (back in) Joburg just to visit Tarantino’s. Well, maybe not really, but should I pass through …

    • Reply 2summers May 4, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      You totally should!

  • Reply Hitekani Mbatsana May 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Awesome, looks like a cool spot! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers May 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      It is! Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll go 🙂

  • Reply autumnashbough May 4, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    It looks much cooler than the man who inspired the name. (Wouldn’t he hard, he’s an ass.)

    • Reply 2summers May 5, 2018 at 9:01 am

      You’re right. I should have addressed that somehow 😂

      • Reply autumnashbough May 5, 2018 at 3:14 pm

        If only the real Tarantino were as hard to find as the coffee shop, and if only the coffee shop were as easy to find as the misogynist filmmaker…

  • Reply Lani May 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I love the aesthetics of the place. Very cool vibe!

  • Reply foxtrotindigo May 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    You always find the most amazing spaces 🙂 Will definitely pop past.

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