The Kenyan capital has long been one of Africa’s most exciting nightlife hubs, a place which produces more DJ’s, nightclubs, and bars than almost anywhere else on the continent. As tourists flock to the city in record numbers, Nairobi’s always-buzzing nightlife has taken on a new flavour, incorporating more international elements as well as retaining a quintessentially Kenyan vibe and energy. Whether you’re a long-time local or just stopping by for an adventurous weekend, here’s the very best of Nairobi’s nightlife in 2019.
While Nairobi has plenty of international venues, this is a city that truly revels in its incredibly rich musical heritage. That means that there’s no shortage of friendly local bars where you can sip on an ice-cold bottle of Tusker beer.
For open-air vibes and Kenyan benga beats, start your night off right at the legendary Simmers bar over in the Westlands district. Here you can party with both locals and expats in a lively setting, all while being served copious portions of nyama choma (grilled meat) to line your stomach with.
For something a little more refined, you can’t do much better than the Alchemist, a sprawling outdoor complex that would look right at home in Berlin or London. Here you can enjoy a solid line-up of Kenyan and international DJs, as well as food trucks and some of the best mojitos in the world.
Once you’re feeling sufficiently buzzed it’s time to move on. Before hitting the sweaty dance floors, do as the well-heeled locals do and stop off at one of Nairobi’s legendary casinos beforehand.
One of the hot favourites of the moment is the Finix Casino in Hurlingham, an upscale place where beautiful hostesses will serve you fresh fruit platters while you hit up the blackjack tables. Kenya is quite famously a nation of gamblers, betting more than any other nation in Africa. The attendees here play to win and are likely to spend plenty of time improving their poker and blackjack skills beforehand. Like in many other places, casino games are hugely popular in Kenya, as evidenced by the millions of people who regularly play casino games on their smartphones on a daily basis. Across the world smartphone casino apps are proving that these kinds of games are extremely popular. For example, the Mr Green app offers over 300 casino games. Demand clearly dictates supply.
Once you’ve had your fill of blackjack, it’s time to get shaking. Nairobi’s nightlife is notoriously untamed, so prepare yourself for a pretty wild night. A solid spot to start would be Klub House, also known simply as K1, a giant wooden mansion in the city centre which hosts some of the best reggae nights outside of the Caribbean.
Another local favourite is the Cuban-themed dive known as Havana, a longtime institution wherein you’ll find millionaires, students, prostitutes, and politicians all dancing together, fuelled up on alarmingly cheap rum. This place closes when the last person drops, so prepare for a long one.
If you’re looking for something more polished, then you should probably hit up the Mercury Lounge just off Waiyaki Way. Prices are pretty high here and it’s mostly populated with European expats, but the cocktails and second-to-none and the sprawling booths make a great place to kick back and bop to some minimal house beats.
The Kenyan capital is a great place to party, so make sure to experience as much of it as you possibly can.