Strap in, folks – we’re about to delve into the wild world of Mombasa after dark. In order to set the right tone, allow us to state at the outset that this city’s nightlife will almost certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea. Unless you opt for the mild niceties of a resort bar that closes around 11 pm, your night on the town will likely mean unfamiliar territory and a few run-ins with any number of Mombasa’s cornucopia of sex trade workers. But look on the bright side; you’ve got a healthy variety of drinking and dancing options available, along with all the ingredients necessary for a few crazy stories when you get back home. Just remember to keep your wits (and your valuables) about you, and we’ll point the way to some of the city’s most frequented entertainment haunts.
We’ll start in the heart of the city center, where Mombasa’s iconic Moi Ave tusks usher visitors along one of its more entertaining thoroughfares. Casablanca is undoubtedly the most recognizable name here, though visitors should be advised that its two levels are frequented by a strong contingent of working girls. There are also a handful of hotel/resturant bars around this area that provide great atmospheres for early drinks and the occasional live band (Bella Vista, Fontanella, etc.), as well as the ever popular Florida Club situated on the coast about 3 km to the southeast. As you depart the main island heading north on Nyali Rd (B8), you’ll have access to a few more choice options, the most notable of these being Bob’s Bar (chill, live music, large outdoor drinking area), its neighboring City Mall and the tourist-friendly Pirate’s Beach Bar a couple kilometers up the road. These establishments are all hit-and-miss on weekdays, but come the weekend they can consistently be relied upon for some good old fashioned frenetic fun.
Now if you’re one of those travelers who values high intensity nightlife over, say, health code regulations (a slight exaggeration), just keep following the B8 north towards Mtwapa. Sometimes referred to as Kenya’s “Sin City,” since the close of the infamous Tembo Disco this developing town of expats and Kenyans has taken over as Mombasa’s late night go-to. You won’t have to stray far from the main road to find popular clubs like Casaurina and Lambada, though you’ll likely encounter plenty of questionable “bars” and strip clubs along the way. Still, for the entertainment value, it’s worth the 17 km jaunt, and adds a fitting exclamation point to Mombasa’s sometimes seedy, sometimes raucous, but unmistakably memorable nightlife resume.