Located in 102 Florence Nzama Street (formerly named Prince Alfred Street), the Beer Hall was established in the first part of the 20th century as a means of the Municipality of Durban to monopolize the brewing and selling of beer. This came as a result of the enactment of the Native Beer Act (No 23) of 1908 which allowed the town councils of Natal to be the sole brewers and sellers of sorghum beer. Beer sales and profits were used to finance the establishment of the municipal Affairs Department in 1916 and the system of African control, which became known as the Durban System. The Rivertown Beer Hall served this function until 1968, after which it was rented out to various commercial firms.
The Rivertown Beer Hall Gallery is a key part of the eThekwini Municipality’s on-going inner city regeneration programme. The site was recently activated as a social hub 100 years after its initial opening, as part of XXV International Union of Architects World Congress which took place in August 2014.