Chris Coutroulis

Sandton Bids Farewell To ‘King Of Clubs’ Chris Coutroulis

Family, fans, friends, colleagues, and socialites alike have taken to social media to mourn the passing of Taboo Group owner, Chris Coutroulis, this week, after a prolonged illness.


  • Tributes have poured in for the 52-year old businessman and entertainment mogul.
  • The Taboo Group is home to nightclubs including Taboo, Onyx, and BOA in Sandton.
  • Coutroulis was a well-known and much-loved personality in the nightlife and hospitality industry.
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Whilst Taboo Group and the Coutroulis family are yet to release a statement, sources confirmed that the businessman died after an extended hospital stay. There are few who can lay claim to Sandton’s high-octane nightlife quite like Chris Coutroulis, the man behind the nightclub business synonymous with Sandton: the Taboo Group.


The dancefloors and bar counters have been quiet for many months as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic lockdown regulations, but this week, they stand empty and silent for a different reason. The Taboo Club iconic red door remains closed as mourners come to pay their respects amongst a throng of flowers.


As if the South African entertainment and hospitality industry could not be weakened any further, the news of Coutroulis’ passing, has sent shock waves across social media and the nightlife entertainment industry. From long-standing friends to business associates and many who had started their careers, friendships, and relationships through one of Coutroulis’ clubs – all expressed their sadness and disbelief. A man who had once provided nights of joy and entertainment is no more.


Chris Coutroulis
Surrounded by glitz, glamour, and sparkling candles – a night out at one of Coutroulis’ many clubs never disappointed. Image: The Taboo Group

You, Sir, were a legend and trailblazer. You made upmarket clubbing the standard.

// DJ Fresh (via Instagram)


Husband to former Miss South Africa Vanessa Carreira and a young family, Coutroulis could be seen almost every week, working late nights at his clubs, well into the early hours of the morning – the nightlife was evidently in his blood. With a friendly smile and warm persona, Coutroulis remained approachable, charming yet reserved throughout his success, sporting a sage beard of late. It is no surprise that tributes have started pouring in from virtually everyone who had enjoyed a memorable night out at one of Coutroulis’ many establishments, along with words of comfort and condolences for his family.


Chris Coutroulis
Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis with husband Chris Coutroulis at BOA nightclub in Sandton. Image: The Taboo Group

Not a day will pass that I will not miss you Chris. You were one of my best friends, a mentor, and a brother. You were good and generous to all those around you.

// Owner of TANG Restaurant, Nicky van der Walt (via Instagram)


Coutroulis brought a different flavour of nightlife to the northern Johannesburg scene, be it the supercars parked outside his clubs, big brand bottle service in VIP areas, and appearances by major celebrities and world-class DJs. His entertainment empire reached far beyond the borders of Sandton, with prime-nightlife destinations in Durban and Cape Town too. For close to two decades, Coutroulis opened one mega-club after another, bringing a professional and international flair to the local market, setting up party destinations that would see local and international visitors flock to, week-in and week-out. If Sandton is the richest square mile in Africa, Coutroulis certainly brought the glamour.


Yet it is Coutroulis’ own words, that best summarise his passion, belief, and business journey – captured on the Taboo Group website.


Chris Coutroulis
Flowers arrive outside the big red entrance door to Taboo in Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

Having started the business when I was 19, and being determined to leave a legacy of nightlife entertainment, I immediately knew from the onset that it would be achievable. Having seen the industry evolve over 14 years, and making sure we are ahead of trends, the vision would have never been able to be realized without the support from staff, family, and patrons alike. Building the Taboo Group SA empire has been a journey of hard work and eye-opening lessons, a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

// Owner of Taboo Group, Chris Coutroulis


Coutroulis managed to do all of this and more – a nightlife giant has left us.


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