It started as a convenient spot for lake users whose ships docked in Kisumu, decades ago.
Today, the Lake View Hotel maintains a rich history with uniqueness that has made it stand out among the social meeting points in the lakeside town.
Its close proximity to the port which is a few meters from the railway station made it convenient for the sailors to converge and make merry all night, often recollecting the successes of their voyage and their next expedition.
Today, the outlet off Oginga Odinga Street is still popular.
Only that it has turned into a home of stimulating academic conversations with debates ranging from politics, education, Luo tradition to global issues.
Prof Francis Owino Rew described Lake View Hotel simply as a ‘senior common room’ for the dons in Kisumu.
The professor of linguistics said a visit to the hotel gives one an opportunity to share experiences with peers.
“When you are here, you get all the joys in the world and meet who is who in the region and compare notes,” Prof Rew said.
While most joints in the lakeside city are frequented by revellers from mixed generations, the crowd in the renowned bar and hotel is distinctive.
Prof Rew terms it the biggest convergence of the intellectuals who wind down in the evening with fellow academicians.
The party-goers are doctors, engineers and professors, both bearded and smooth-chinned academics, who tutor in the universities across Nyanza and Western such as Maseno, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, the University of Nairobi (Kisumu Campus) and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, among other known institutions of higher learning.
Mr Kenneth Ogosia, a frequent patron, said previously the club was owned by Europeans and no African could be admitted there.
Mr Ogosia said the spirit of discrimination against Africans died after ownership exchanged hands with the former Kisumu Rural MP Wycliffe Onyango Ayoki taking over.
FRIENDS IN NEED
In 2000, Mr Maganda Oriewo, an engineer and the elder brother of the current manager, Mr Paul Onyango, took over as the owner of the joint that has historically enjoyed some ambience and rare breed of patronage even as it changed proprietorship.
Most scholars who went to school together have since identified it as a good place to converge and the relationship being extended to supporting one another in times of need.
“It runs the best compassionate club welfare to regular patrons when sick or bereaved locally and friends in the diaspora. If you look at our black book for collection, you would find many people who we have contributed for,” Mr Ogosia said.
“People who do not have high levels of education could naturally feel out of place following the type of banter we engage in. The status quo remains and it should not be misconstrued to mean discrimination,” he went on.
Occasionally, young men come visit it to watch football matches, but they restrict themselves to the general area where there are sofa sets and some good seats.
Mr Onyango said its affordable meals and accommodation within the Kisumu CBD is an added advantage and has made many patrons love Lake View more.