Kenya’s capital is known regionally for its fabulous and elongated nightlife, not shy of swanky interior design, bold yet unique layouts and a cacophony of talented mixologists. The eclectic mix of upmarket entertainment escapes make the reveler spoilt for choice, from some globally competitive establishments. Below, I’ve compiled a list of undiscovered spots in Nairobi, so be quick about checking them out for yourself, before popularity entrances them deep into the exclusivity they already enjoy.
Btzek Lounge may be difficult to pronounce, but it’s rather easy to spot, from the top floor of the riverfront of the largest shopping complex in East Africa, Two Rivers Mall. With panoramic views overlooking the lush rolling hills of Rosslyn, Runda and Ruaka, there are indoor and outdoor options to meet the taste of the discerning patron. You can choose to sit at the boat-shaped cocktail bar at the center of the premises, but I recommend the tastefully furnished interior if your plan is for dinner and drinks, all served by modern sounds from a well-positioned DJ. There’s even half of an ancient Volkswagen at the heart of the dinning area, just to keep things interesting.
Staying in the Westlands area, the Baobox Cafe is a serious contender when it comes to a great chill out spot in the chief entertainment district of Nairobi. Tucked away on the eighth floor of Pramukh Towers, plenty of dark wood, chunky crated tables and an airy interior make for the perfect ambiance to get down to its core business – games. The Baobox boasts a wide array of board games which patrons enjoy, from Scrabble and Chess to over 100 more options which will make you spoilt for choice. The establishment manages being family-friendly quite nicely and its the perfect place to go and bond with your mates, your date or whoever else you’d like to get to know a bit better, and to get competitive with.
Humidor Cigar Bar & Lounge
It really is business unusual at the Humidor Cigar Bar and Lounge. The elegant and posh surroundings are perfect for a quiet drink with friends, or the persuasive environment you need to seal that after-hours deal that requires whiskey, cigars or cocktails. The self-styled sophisticated lobby bar may overlook the pool lounge and the lobby, but ingenious Chinese walls, glass compartments and hardwood shelves ensure no compromise with your privacy and comfort. There’s a wide selection of premium wines, whiskeys, vodkas, and rum: the service is as 5-star as the hotel it sits in.
This has to be one of the most chic and classy places in Nairobi, to keep it classy and enjoy a glass of champagne. The Wet Lounge is an amalgamation of awe, beauty and impeccable design, with angular and colourful corners and crevices surrounded by glitter, gleam and beautifully detailed floors and walls. It’s quiet confidence comes to life in the night time when the abundance of cool and warm colours intertwine to create a magical ambiance.
La Tasca the Spanish Connection
From the panoramic view atop the building to the basement, the location of La Tasca is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The ‘new’ of the Lavington Mall seamlessly blends with the ‘old’ of the Spanish corner, transporting you to an authentic woody rustique setting that’s honest as it is rich in its array of wines and expatriates. Try something new, from the food to the experience, and you won’t be disappointed.
Any visit to Nairobi’s upmarket Westgate Mall may be marked incomplete without making a beeline to one of the petite tables in a corner of the Tapas Ceviche Bar that’s just by the main entrance, ensconced in the shade and seclusion of young shrubs and parasols. You can commandeer a table on the balcony and choose from a generous selection of cocktails, spirits, wines and champagnes, alongside Spanish cuisine that tickles the taste buds. If you choose to sit around the island bar, you can enjoy watching the mixologists and chefs whip up excellent concoctions to suit your palette.
Karel T Lounge
The newest recommendation on the list is made up of calvados and cognac, fresh lemon juice, Brunello di Montalcina and Merlot IGT red wine, Champagne MUMM, Ferrari and Berlucci. A tastefully yet minimally furnished interior offers a homely and subtly elegant ambiance which overlooks the new wing of the Diplomatic District’s retail pride and joy, the Village Market shopping center. The centerpiece of Karel-T is its very English (it’s not) and sophisticated brunches and its wide array of Mediterranean culinary experiences, served on unconventional black plaques – after all plates happen to be to mainstream these days!