If you are in the Free State, stop in at the legendary Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein, a favourite South African pub. Here you can grab a beer, shoot a few rounds of pool and listen to some of the best South Africa’s alternative bands.

Did you know?

Despite Bloemfontein's conservative reputation, venues like the Mystic Boer have transformed it into a hotbed of alternative South African culture and music.

When the Mystic Boer in Bloemfontein, also known as ‘Mystic’ or ‘Die Boer’ opened its doors in 1997, the city leapt to its feet. Here was a Free State pub where progressive, live, alternative South African music and hot DJs could rock the city’s citizens to the forefront of cool.

Taking its name from the title of a song, Die Mystic Boer, by renowned alternative South African band, Valiant Swart, the pub has been packed since day one. Musicians, farmers, professionals, students, hippies, young, old and every culture and creed have made Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein, their cultural home.

The décor intrigues all who pass through its doors with its combination of effortlessness – candles jammed into old wine bottles - and attention to pop art, with floor-to-ceiling mounted photos of Boer soldiers whose traditional khaki outfits have been recoloured purple, lime-green and electric orange. Slogans and health warnings of a counter culture nature populate the place, with signs and posters stating ‘Anger Causes Heart Diseases’ and ‘Don’t Smoke Children’.

Here you can hang out and listen to the best alternative Afrikaans bands in the country, as well as anything from hip hop to indie rock, while eating pizza with delicious fillings sold by the slice. A favourite is the Mystic Pizza packed with bacon, feta and avocado.

Manager Theunis Pelser has been here since it opened and never sleeps. 'We get a lot of international visitors, and since the 2010 World Cup we have hosted even more. We are situated in Westdene, which is the centre of Bloemfontein’s social and nightlife district – it’s Bloemfontein’s answer to Cape Town’s Long Street, with plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants,' he explains.

The beauty of Mystic Boer is that it only closes when the last customer leaves – often after 4am. 'If you are visiting South Africa and passing our way, you have to come and party with us,' Pelser says. 'We’ll show you what true South African culture and hospitality is all about.'

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Die Mystic Boer
Tel: +27 (0)51 430 2206
Email: tomateesza@gmail.com

How to get here

Once you are in Bloemfontein - fly there or drive there - head for Westdene, near the World Cup Stadium and the Waterfront. Most people in Bloemfontein will be able to direct you here. Then head for 84 Kellner Street, Westdene, where you will find the Mystic Boer.

Best time to visit

All year round. Be prepared for a long evening!

Get around

Reliable taxi companies - ask your hotel or guest house - or drive yourself.

Where to stay

Bloemfontein has a choice of guest houses, B&Bs and hotels.

What to eat

A slice of pizza or a whole pizza to yourself from Mystic Boer. Their pizzas are renowned.

What's happening

Live, alternative South African bands and top DJs regularly perform at Mystic Boer. Phone ahead and find out when they are hosting a live performance.