The owners of Jeya’s Jazz Corner Tavern in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, have developed their venue into a great spot where visitors and locals can enjoy each other’s company in an evening of jazz, dance, pool and general carousing.

Did you know?

Jeya’s keeps its prices low to ensure it gets business from visitors and locals alike.

Jeya’s Jazz Corner Tavern in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, is everything a typical neighbourhood pub should be. It’s a drinking spot, a sports bar, a music hall, a pool room and a restaurant all rolled up into one exciting venue. But what gives it that special appeal, especially for visitors from out of town, is its unmistakeably African vibe.

Noxolo Sume and her husband Mawonga, who also goes by his football nickname of 'Jeya', started their business together in 2003. They took over an old township shebeen (informal bar) and gradually began their upgrades.

Working with organisations like the acclaimed Calabash Tours, the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP), Eastern Cape Tourism and South African Tourism, the Sumes learned as much about tourism and hospitality as they could – and applied this knowledge at their venue.

They benefitted from being close to the award-winning Red Location Museum and maximising the potential of big events like the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. Whenever a visiting international sports team arrives in Port Elizabeth, chances are that an after-party at Jeya’s is on the cards.

During major sporting clashes all over the country, Jeya’s is transformed into a typical sports bar, with the focus of attention being the big-screen action on display.

Noxolo and Mawonga also saw the value of involving others in their enterprise, and began arranging for cultural dancers, choirs and music groups to perform for groups of visitors at Jeya’s. Nowadays it’s mostly about top-class jazz shows on weekends.

The inner beast is also well catered for, and that famous Jeya’s menu always features a lot of braai (barbecue) cuts, garnished with Noxolo’s special chakalaka sauce (a spicy local sauce made from tomato, onion and secret spices).

When Noxolo goes off to tourism conventions to market Jeya’s, she also makes a point of marketing the Eastern Cape province as a whole. When tour operators show an interest in bringing a group in to experience Jeya’s, she often sells them on a trip through the entire province. This kind of spirit of sharing has a positive rebound for Jeya’s, which is now regarded as a landmark asset for local hospitality.

Possibly the best feature of Jeya’s, overshadowing the big-screen TV action, the jazz shows, the dancers, the tasty shisanyama (barbecue) and the pool tables, is the fact that the people of New Brighton see this as their neighbourhood bar and love to visit it. And when they sit down with visitors and share a beer, a few stories and a couple of laughs, that’s when the real magic begins…

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Calabash Tours
Tel: +27 (0)41 585 6162

Jeya’s Jazz Corner Tavern
Tel: +27 (0)41 454 2666

How to get here

Ideally, you should be accompanied by an accredited guide from an outfit like Calabash Tours. Jeya’s is at No. 119, Ferguson Road, New Brighton.

Best time to visit

Jeya’s is a year-round destination.

Around the area

A day trip to the Addo Elephant National Park is one of the favourite visitor activities in and around Port Elizabeth. Check the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for tour company options.

Tours to do

Make a stop-over at Jeya’s part of your Calabash Real City Tour.

Get around

Sit back in the people-mover and let Calabash Tours drive you out to New Brighton.

What will it cost

The Calabash Shebeen Tour costs R460 per person, and their Real City Tour costs R420 per person.

Length of stay

Set aside four hours for your visit to Jeya’s.

What to pack

Be sure to pack your camera.

Where to stay

Port Elizabeth has lots of great accommodation options – check with the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for choices.

What to eat

You’re in luck if you like meat – a Jeya’s specialty – but they also serve fresh salads and vegetables as part of the feast.

What's happening

The city of Port Elizabeth stages a number of festivals, sporting events and has a full calendar of shows – see the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for options.

Best buys

Buy a memento from one of the street markets on your Calabash Real City Tour.

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