For anyone who hasn’t visited the city, an often overlooked aspect of life in the Kenyan capital is its surprisingly robust nightlife. By international standards, even by African standards, Nairobi is by no means a titan of urban residency (at around 3 million inhabitants, it ranks just 14th on the list of most populated cities on the continent). But because it’s the largest city in the country, and because Kenyans are by and large an upbeat people all too happy to share in life’s revelries, what you’ve got is a town where those looking to mix it up after hours can entertain themselves pretty much every night of the week. Daytime bars, thumping clubs, chic lounges, live music joints; with a little help looking, you’ll find there’s no need to pass a boring night here.
While much of the most touted nightlife exists in suburban areas outside the city center, you won’t need to leave Central Nairobi to enjoy a night out with a few friends and a few more cold Tuskers. Start in the business district, where more than a few work lunches have been known to stretch well into the wee hours of the morning. From the northern Banda Street (Tribeka Pub), you can head south towards places like Simmer’s (Mbingu St.) and the Jockey Pub (Hilton Nairobi) before ending up at the notorious Florida Club on Moi Ave. Many of these establishments tend to be short on fellow travelers, but don’t let that bother you. There are plenty of dining options here as well if all that socializing has you feeling peckish. Further south, where Langata Road hits the A-104 Highway, little Baricho Road is home to a few early and mid-week hotspots including Choices Pub and Monday night’s reggae powerhouse Click.
Ready for the heavy hitters? Well, you could always opt for the Simba Saloon which is part of the overall Carnivore Restaurant complex off Langata Road. Thursdays through the weekend this southwesterly club packs the house with plenty of live music and entertainment, though you might find the whole atmosphere a bit contrived. A better bet would be the Westlands neighborhood in northern Nairobi. This is far and away the nightlife capital of the city, where a slew of venues like Havana, Gypsy Bar, K1 Klubhouse Aqua Blu and plenty of others specialize in satiating Nairobi’s rowdiest late night crowds. This should be enough to get you started in the right direction, but when in doubt you’ll find that most cabbies in the city are a wealth of information on the subject as well. Now get out there and see what Kenya’s finest have to offer.