Kenya Lounge bars: Where revelers roll, spending averagely Sh10,000 a night

Recall the 2007 Nonini and Nameless party jam Furahiday? Watching the new Jua Cali video for his Karibu Nairobi single that was released about a week ago, the same party theme that dictates Friday nights in the city comes alive with the genge singer exalting the club scene in the second stanza of the song:

Hakuna watoto warembo ka wa huku
Shiko, Anyango, Mumbi na Lulu
Mchangawa-anyiko maalum
Mtoto hatari ka sumu
Kudunda ya huku ata usiulize
Kukunywa ya huku ata usipime
Club zote ajab kuruka
Kila siku ya wiki raha kuruka
Shida zako we tupilia mbali
Tulia we ponda mali”

He raps as flashy images of some of the entertainment hotspots flicker in the background. The specific segment of the video is a classic example of the modern day Nairobi party life.

And so, as we walk into Club Galileos in Westlands on Friday at around 11pm, the joint is kicking, and the Karibu Nairobi track is on spin as party people take the cue, celebrating the night away.

The general area is packed to capacity. We decide to check out one of the five VIP lounges. Two are free but the burly framed bouncer manning the highly protected place tells us that it is reserved.

In fact, on the tables are pricey drinks; from Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich, Black Label and wine, a classy display inside illuminated ice-cube glass containers. Within another minute, five neatly dressed guys accompanied by beautiful ladies walk in and are ushered into the lounge. Among them is a friend of ours, a popular celeb, and we join in.

Basically, the first drinks’ bill comes to approximately Sh100,000. Here, they only offer bottle service. The cheapest goes for Sh7,000. The night is still young.

Forget the days when one would just get into a T-shirt and go into a city club, order for two beers, a single shot of Sambuca and sweat the night out on the dance floor like a college ‘ratchet’.

“A whisky bottle costs about Sh5,000 and this is a figure the average reveller is willing to spend. So instead of having a cover charge to keep ‘idlers’ away, we insist on the bottle-service. That way, you keep the right patrons in the club,” he adds.

Skylux Lounge and Bar, one of the leading lounge bars in Nai
robi also insists on bottle-service in its VIP lounge. The club insists on decent dressing of patrons and a mature crowd. And in return, they enjoy the luxury of personalised service; from security, waitresses, guaranteed privacy and good ambiance.

The VIP area at Millionaires XS even goes ahead to provide dancers for patrons and one has the luxury to bond with popular celebs and socialites who are paid to make appearances and even host events on given nights.

Club Hypnotica at Krishna Centre in Westlands, whose initial investment cost stands at about Sh20 million has the most modern VIP lounge for customers who opt for special service.

The lounge that can host about fifteen people is sound proof, has a DJ corner, customised lighting system, a small dance floor and an exit that lets clients leave the joint without anyone else noticing they were even there.

“The middle class and Nairobi’s uptown party clients are our target market and it is this kind of setting that they are looking for. A place they are guaranteed good service, a level of privacy and maximum security,” says Mirza Rashid, the proprietor of the club that is celebrating one year.

“We have even gone ahead to bring in four international DJs who are now our resident DJs and some of our waitresses are not even from the country. That is how serious we are with this business,” he remarks.

Amazingly, the prices of drinks at Club Hypnotica are low compared to those at most other clubs of its calibre.

“It is true that the Nairobi club culture has embraced the bottle culture where a group orders for a number of bottles. People even call to get tables reserved, a phenomenon witnessed in clubs in big party cities and this is a good sign. That is why the level of service should also match that and that is what makes us special,” he says.

And sharing the same building with Club Hypnotica is Aqua Blu Club and Lounge Bar, yet another classy joint enjoying the current cool-Nairobi-clubs windfall. Ebony Lounge, another classy club around Museum Hill also shares in the glory thanks to its great ambiance and themed upscale events.
Away from the Nairobi CBD area where the lower classes seem to have been left behind, most uptown spots are coming up with themed events that only target Pulsers who are ready to invest good money on a night out.

Not that there is a shortage of party joints around the CBD. In fact, some of the most popular clubs in Nairobi are situated in the heart of the city.

The Nairobi party scene has changed as entertainment spots introduce bottle-service-only lounges where middle-class revellers are no longer afraid to burn the bucks, balling the night away.

On average, Pulsers spend Sh10,000 on a night out (that would be a bottle of Jameson, mixers, a snack and say, cab fare). With the spending power of Pulsers going up, doing a beer in a club is no longer being seen as trendy, neither is ordering shots of hard liquor. The new age of whiskey bottle service is here with us.

Millionaires XS club on Baricho Road for example only offers bottle service over the weekend. The VIP is a bottles-service only zone, on any given day.

“People can afford it. The class of people we target are the 25 to 45 year olds who have the spending power,” Ahamed, one of the events coordinators at the club told Pulse.

Starting from Tribeka, Mojos, 1-Club, Gravity, Tanager and Rumours, many college-age Pulsers prefer to party at these joints as they are more pocket-friendly and easy to navigate especially for party lovers who depend on matatus for transport. Natives along Thika Road, Tamasha in Hurlingham, Bacchus Lounge, Vineyard and Platinum Bistro in Rongai are also very popular with the young crowd.

However, most of these joints are not exclusive.

Best Western Premier in Hurlingham has a bi-monthly pool party event that only targets well-to-do party lovers. Cover charges are usually Sh1, 000 or Sh2, 000 per head and it is at these parties where you will meet the who’s who in the glamour industry.

The events are usually sponsored by big liquor brands like Ciroc Vodka and most of the patrons usually go for bottle service.

Brew Bistro and Lounge on Ngong’ Road as well as Club Legends in Karen also fall in this category.





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