A West Gate Western Food and Wine Bar is located in the heart of Johannesburg’s West Gate, a hip, artsy, but mostly working-class neighborhood that is also home to some of the most iconic venues in the city.
A few weeks ago, I drove through the heartland of this hip neighborhood with the bar’s co-owner, Kevin Odey, and chef Daniele Bazzani.
I met Kevin at the bar and asked him about West Gate and its reputation as a hotspot for great cuisine.
Kevin told me that the food was good but it wasn’t Westgate’s strongest point.
It was always better than it was when he started.
“It was in the 80s,” he said, adding that the bar was once one of the top-rated West Gate restaurants.
But since it closed its doors in 2011, the bar has seen a lot of change.
“The food changed from Westgate to Westgate Wine Bar, which has been good for the community, but it hasn’t been a strong spot,” Kevin explained.
Kevin and Danieles Bar in Westgate, South Africa.
As the bars and restaurants have grown, so has the quality of their food.
I asked Kevin about Westgate Bar, where he’s been since opening the Westgate restaurant in 2010.
“I think it was really good, but I would love to be able to bring that quality back,” Kevin said.
Kevin opened Westgate in 2010 after a successful stint at the same bar in the 1980s and 1990s.
The bar was one of Westgate city’s most popular venues and was the venue for the popular, international Westgate Westfest in 1995.
“When we opened West Gate in 2010, it was a really good venue.
The people who came in were really happy, and the food is good, and we’re very happy with the staff,” Kevin recalled.
Kevin and his partner, Daniella Bazzoni, opened WestGate Westfest this year in the same location.
After opening the restaurant in the early 90s, the Bazzini’s opened a number of West Gate bars across the city, including Westgate Village, Westgate Grill, and Westgate Kitchen.
“Westgate is one of those bars that is the epitome of what South Africa is, that is a place where you can come in with a sense of community, where you don’t necessarily have to know a lot about food, and where you want to have a great experience.
You want to be with people who share your values,” Kevin told me.
Westgate Bar is a modern, well-lit bar with a cozy atmosphere that is perfect for a date night.
The ambiance of the restaurant is also modern and relaxed.
The interior of WestGate Bar in South African Westgate.
The restaurant has several tables and an area for eating.
In the middle of the bar is a large outdoor patio that is surrounded by trees.
I asked Kevin if he could share his opinion of the outdoor patio.
Daniella said it was great, but not as much fun as the outdoor space.
As the bar closes, the patio is being transformed into a larger outdoor space with seating.
When I asked what I could eat at the new outdoor patio, Danicella replied that she’d like to try the local food from the West Gate area.
At Westgate Lounge, Danies bar is the only outdoor bar in town, but the bar offers a different kind of dining experience.
The outdoor patio offers a great view of the street.
Inside the bar, Kevin and Dani had a conversation about their plans for the bar.
“We have a lot planned for West Gate.
I’ve been looking at how the bar would look, what I’d like for the space, and I’ve seen a number places that have been in the bar for a long time.
I’m really excited to be opening West Gate,” Kevin joked.
Kevin has been in charge of running the bar since it was opened, but he has no plans to change the menu, which includes some new dishes.
While the WestGate bar was a success for Kevin and the Bizzinis, it has taken some time to build the bar into a successful restaurant.
According to Kevin, the first West Gate Restaurant opened in 2003, but they were very successful, and he has worked on the bar to be a destination.
Before opening Westgate Restaurant, Kevin said he was trying to build a new bar to serve a different type of menu.
“[The bar] is still a Westgate concept, but with a different vibe.
I think it’s been very successful in the last few years, but we’re still looking for a new restaurant, and there are a lot that we need to get done,” Kevin admitted.