Leano Restaurant & Live Music Closes its Doors
By Lindelwa Masuku
Leano Restaurant & Live Music, a beloved entertainment spot in the downtown area of Joburg, Braamfontein has announced that it has closed its doors permanently.
Leano, which has been a staple in the community since 2021, has cited load-shedding and financial challenges as the reason for the closure. Despite consistent high reviews and a loyal customer base, it was after an event on the 18th of December 2022 that it became clear that the business was not sustainable.
"We wish to extend our gratitude to all our patrons and creatives for their unwavering support over the past year," said owner Keitumetse Molatlhegi in a statement they released on their social media.
“This closure also affects the creatives that we partnered with and gave a platform to share their craft with our audience. Finally, it impacts the patrons through various relationships and stakeholders within the community.”
The restaurant, which was known for its delicious food and live music performances, had become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Many regular customers expressed their sadness at the news of the closure and shared their fond memories of the restaurant on social media.
The closure of such establishments has a negative impact not only on the hospitality industry, but on the art and culture space as well, we have seen a pattern in the last few years of these establishments being forced to close due to lack of public and private funding, and load-shedding.
Here are some of the other gems that had the privilege to grace downtown Joburg, and had an impact on the culture, but had to be closed down due to similar circumstances.
The Orbit Jazz Club & Bistro
In 2019, the owners of The Orbit released a statement saying; “It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of The Orbit Live Music and Bistro. We have unfortunately not been able to overcome the financial constraints that we have found with running a live music venue like The Orbit”
The Orbit started in March 2014 as a concept that would lead the way in offering the best possible creative expression platform for jazz musicians in Johannesburg.
It became a space where musicians and music lovers alike came together to produce the most original and inspiring music.
The JHB Hive
Located in the heart of Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The J&B Hive was not only a space for experiencing art, but also played a significant role in the development and success of many well-known artists, and was a catalyst for creative entrepreneurs in Braamfontein. It was a space for art, music, and lifestyle, it was known as Jozi’s creative hub, and it introduced us to artists such as Lelowhatsgood, Gyre, and J-Molly.
In a statement they released on July 28, they said;
“from our launch in 2015, our organisation has supported over 70 startups and micro-enterprises, housed a creative hub that hosted hundreds of events ranging from markets and art exhibitions, to entertainment showcases, social conversations, and business development seminars; touching the lives of millions of people searching for knowledge, networking, assistance or one of those magical nights out in Braam.”
They announced that they are closing down through a tweet that said;
“After a year navigating the highs and lows, hopes and fears, we have decided to close our organisation."
Mangrove Joburg Cafe & Restaurant
After influencing the Joburg culture for 2 years, Mangrove also shut its doors in October 2022.
The popular & trendy spot was known for its music, guest artists, events, and locally influenced food.
They released a statement on their social media on October 17th, that said;
“Many factors influenced this decision, including COVID-19, load shedding, and the economic environment. Despite our best efforts over the last few months, it was impossible to continue our business under these challenges.”
The closing of these establishments is always a sad loss for the community, and seeing a pattern makes people question whether the government is doing enough to fund such spaces, and what they are willing to do to ensure that the spaces are not affected negatively by the constant power cuts.
The closure of Leano Restaurant & Live Music is a sad loss for the community, but the memories and experiences shared there will be cherished forever.