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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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).
Read the rest of my Favorite Jozi Coffeeshops series.