The ol' pits turned into a hip place

Victoria Yard in Joburg is home to different types of artifacts.
Victoria Yard in Joburg is home to different types of artifacts.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

If you're looking to be inspired by old buildings, art and good, healthy food - make a turn to Victoria Yards in Lorentzville, east of Joburg.

Brian Green, a property developer renowned for bringing buildings destined for demolition back to life, has turned the former derelict industrial area into a marvel of beauty.

Green is also responsible for restoring the popular 44 Stanley in Auckland Park that houses vibey restaurants and fashion and art shops.

The facebrick buildings of Victoria Yards have been around since 1913.

Green maintained the raw walls, adding to its artistic flair and lined the pathways with fresh fruit and vegetable patches.

The smell of mouth-watering fish and chips fills the air.
The smell of mouth-watering fish and chips fills the air.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Although it's open every day of the week, the first Sunday of each month is when it buzzes with activity.

It's ideal for those who want their soulful seven-colour meal, as food vendors offer an array of fresh food, spices and veggies at their open market.

Most of the vegetables are grown on the property through urban farming.

Good old-fashioned fried fish and chips is hard to find in Jozi. But the Fish and Chip Shop situated at the entrance serves the best kind. A large portion of hake and chips fried with the potato skin still intact is enough for two. The battered calamari is even better.

Some of the artistically handmade crafts inside Victoria Yards.
Some of the artistically handmade crafts inside Victoria Yards.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

To wash it down, Impi Brewing Company's award-winning Homestead Lager is ideal.

The brewery is housed in a triple-volume building with a 50,000l water tank suspended on old steel beams just opposite the fish eatery.

It has more than 15 handcrafted beers on offer. There's also a gin distillery as well as a coffee roastery.

First Sundays are also for performers who come out to dazzle and artists have their crafts on display.

Currently, they have the No More Blah Blah exhibition by Dutch pop artist Bram Reijnders on display at the Daville Baillie Gallery, his first solo exhibition in South Africa. It will be on show until April 27.

Other acclaimed artists who have studios in the precinct include Blessing Ngobeni, Roger Ballen and Ayanda Mabulu.

Tshepo The Jean Maker is popular with visitors as well.

Victoria Yards also offers four wedding venues, to make that big day very special.

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