Some of the city’s hip joints of modern times that seem to stand the test of time

Saturday, November 16th, 2019 00:00 |

We are gearing into that time of the year when it’s ‘one long weekend’, meaning party time will be at its peak. FAITH KYOUMUKAMA reviewed some the city’s hip joints of modern times that seem to stand the test of time

A dose at the chemist

The Alchemist Bar is not your ordinary kind of club. We can’t even define it as a bar because it has that too cool-for-school and festive vibe to it. Located at The Yard on Parklands Road in Westlands, the place is occasionally converted into an event space, and it has different food trucks such as Mama Rocks. So, while quenching your thirst, you can choose to indulge in those famous Mama’s burgers. 

The spot has a feel-free ambience, complete with a rustic vibe. We are talking chairs (and benches) made of wood pallets, alcohol bottles turned into chandeliers, cans converted into serviette holders – that kind of urbanism. Then there are these friendly dogs that are always mingling with the crowd, which can be a bit bothering if you’re not a lover of pets. Though it’s a nice hangout joint, it has a specific audience; you might go there and end up feeling some type of way, even with the kind of music they play, which is mostly House and Trance.

It’s also a nice place to hold an event. As for the drinks price range, beers are from Sh300 and cocktails from Sh700.

Throwback to 19th Century

1824 Whisky Bar and Lounge on Lang’ata Road may have shot to fame following various controversies, beginning from the time then Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero threatened to shut it down. Here, after a whole night of clubbing, revellers leave when the sun is already up the following morning. 

This club enjoyed its popularity for quite a long time. If you were not at 1824, you experienced complete FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). All for an open space with seats and drums that were always full. Many patrons ended up standing for the entire time there. Before hitting this club, I really didn’t understand the fuss around it, especially because I was loyal to its neighbouring rival, Rafikiz. 

Rafikiz would only enjoy 1824’s overflow, or when there would be heavy downpour, because it lacked a roof or something to cover its overhead space. People would even dance in the rain, for the fun of it or simply, insanity!

Then, it had rude bouncers who would treat customers like thugs. So, just like any other club, it ran its course, and now it’s just a normal club in the city. Not so many people hang around there anymore, save for the most loyal, the peeps who live in Lang’ata.

The club, however, has its good side. It is a great hangout joint for any music head. The drinks are pocket friendly, as beers are from Sh250 and a bottie of whisky ranges from Sh4,000 to Sh9,000 thereabout. While there, remember to keep your valuables secure. There are some pickpockets at times.

Uptown vibe

Kiza Lounge, strategically perched on the eighth floor of Galana Plaza in Kilimani, is one of the city’s most envied uptown entertainment spots. It egoistically shares the building with probably its fiercest rival around, B-Club. When the two spots were still new kids on the block, I got to Kiza before paying its rival a visit, and I had too many expectations that I must say were not bruised.

Before hitting the club, I was given some advice by a friend though, to dress up good. Kiza is not your usual ka-local. Sandals and a dress down is not the way to go. The place has a strict dress code. Personally, I like how spacious this club is, and when it gets packed (which it does), the space is just enough to allow you move to about without necessarily pushing and shoving other revellers. However, people tend to dance at the middle space, where they are always on a collision mission with other patrons walking about, either to the washrooms, exit or just to other sections of the lounge. Whatever happened to dance floor reservations by club owners? Maybe that’s a thing of the past. After all, that’s how a lounge is supposed to be, right? No dance floor.

I also like that it’s a combo of a restaurant and club. It gives the customer an option to dine and wine. Again, I like the silent disco, which they host from time to time. How amazing that you can switch up and listen to something different other than what the deejay is playing. The playlist at the club is simply selected by a mind of a genius. Also, from time and again, Kiza hosts celebrity deejays, adding more flavour into the foray. 

On the downside, the service at Kiza can sometimes lose it. I twice experienced mix-ups with my order. As for the prices, you’re looking at Sh300 on beers, and there’s an everyday happy hour marathon from 4pm to 10pm. During this time, you can buy one beer and get another free. Cocktails range from Sh750 to Sh1,000, which could be termed as affordable when all factors are considered.

For the bad and bourgie

With green potted plants, carefully suspended along the ceiling and high stools mixed in with low benches and low tables, J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen in Westlands has a European beer garden vibe. As expected, their signature is delish tipples in jars and sumptuous burgers. J’s is just like any other club, with themed nights across the week. But that is where the similarity ends; everything here is just a notch enhanced, especially since it caters to the bad and bourgeois.

Not once have I been to J’s and not bumped into a celebrity. On one Thursday Nite Live, I even got to dance with a renowned singer, by that I mean she was standing on the same stage and was dancing to the same music as I was, while another famous photographer held the seat for me. 

You can opt to party at the indoor sitting perched next to the bar, and you’ll be nearer to the loos that are on first floor, or go for the terrace area with freer dancing space.

J’s gets lit on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you are into live bands, go on Thursday. But if you are into dancing to famous deejay mixcrates, go on Friday and/or Saturday. You will be sure to have a swell time alongside said Nairobi’s bad and bourgie.

Beers are moderately priced, ranging from Sh300 to Sh500, a pop depending on whether the beer is local or imported. 

- Njeri Maina

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