Whereas Uganda’s amusement heritage was always enormous, when the country opened up to the outside world in the 1900s, perceptions and attitudes were so predisposed to influences – some good, and among them, the socializing aspect.
As change crept in, a certain bit of conservatism was bound to clear off to give way for the new lifestyle, one where social life would cease to be so traditional, ethnic centered and undisclosed to the outside world.
Change [in form of modernity] was clearly at hand – for Uganda was no more an isolated group of black men and women, but a member of the community of nations. This is exactly responsible for why Uganda was inspired to let in trends and gigs from everywhere, and has since warmly welcomed people of all walks of life and giving them homage in Uganda – for we are a social people who simply love to mingle with all kinds of cultures.
Today, the Capital, Kampala is flooded with a multiplicity of these cultures, imported from all over the globe, with most of them being from Africa itself.
This means you can never have shortage of diversity in this city, and what better way to find out about the phenomenon than when you take a stroll around this metropolitan area during the night! That is, in bars and nightclubs.
Different the social centers are attached to certain identities which, as a matter of fact, are like the signature hallmarks of the group of foreigners which hang around there. We attempted to profile some of these peculiar bars, clubs and restaurants around Kampala and how their arrangements are tailor-made to suit their way of life.
It is a leading choice for foreigners looking to enjoy Kampala nightlife. Located in Kololo, Bubbles is a typical Irish pub – it gives you the feeling of ‘an Irish man in Kampala’, as it were. It’s just the spout of the constant flow of Stouts and Beers. It tends to drift into a club on the weekends – which I would understand since it’s very hard to keep the music away, while in Uganda. It is just the way Uganda affects its visitors to dance to its tune. Otherwise, nice cold drinks, decent food, and a happy ambiance is what defines this place. It is open till the early hours of the morning.
JK BAR AKA JUST KICKING
There are famous places to hang-out in Kampala where the crowd is much more appealing and of a certain class. “Just kicking” is one of the few on the other side of town much like the residential, high market, diplomatic place to be. Just kicking is a sports bar no different from the many American styled sports bars with huge screens airing sports. It is undoubtedly Uganda’s leading sports bar, and is located on Cooper Road in Kisementi right next door to Cooper Road, Kololo Hill side.
Four giant screens grace the four corners of the bar sky beams with walls covered in sports memorabilia. The managers are English, so the British theme is apparent in this place. The place gets really busy on Friday nights and getting a drink from the bar is an adventure in itself. There are no waitresses or waiters to serve you so you have to go to the bar to get a drink.
At Just Kicking one is sure of a cold beer, great food including finger foods to full size meals for a reasonable price.
The Dress Code is defined and it should be descent and nice.
This is the one place in Kampala that is considered by the locals as the “forbidden apple”. It is a little difficult to describe Al’s bar because it is not your ordinary bar or pub nor restaurant. The music is very Western but the bar style fits in with the African setting. For those that party there, it is simply wild. The music is mostly Rock and Roll, plus some Pop. The bar gets lively at about 10:00 pm and runs till dawn.
In general Kampala is expensive, so the drinks at Al’s bar are considered averagely priced. Beer and most/ any liquor you want is available and the bartenders are very experienced. Food is readily available until late so if you get hungry and tipsy, filling your belly might be a good idea. For the gentlemen, beware of the ladies in the night, if you are alone you just might have ten women all over you.
A lot of foreigners frequent Al’s bar because it is very much reminiscent of the type of bars in Europe, for example. On the whole, it is an adventurous place to visit among the night life entertainment places.
The Americans are also regular customers of this place.
CAPITAL PUB IN KABALAGALA
Capital Pub is all surrounded by a number of bars and pool tables all over the place. They play loud African and American Hip Hop music. It’s also an infamous hangout for prostitutes. Capital Pub is one of the largest night clubs in Kabalagala. It is run by a Swiss immigrant and due to this, there’s a great inclination to European arrangements and in fact attracts lots of Europeans. It is a multi-racial place.
This one is located in Old Kampala. It is an Indian run bar like a lot of businesses in Old Kampala but the customers here are a real mixed crowd. This is also the place in Kampala where to find some of the very best pool being played.
It is a great bar for chilling if you’ve walked from the centre of town and want to sit in the shade and watch the world go by with an alarmingly cold beer in hand.
A lot of lights mostly known as “disco lights” actually define this place. Some have complained that they are too much for their liking but that’s Deposh, for you. It is a bar located in Kabalagala and mostly crowded with people of the Rwandese origin, Prostitutes especially.
Here, actual fun starts at about 10 O’clock although the night’s party kicks off much earlier as the sun contemplates to set.
Music is loud enough and inside the bar these “working girls” set themselves like succulent fruits, waiting for “customers” as dispatched to them by pimps who are on a spirited hunt, waylaying all the men around the bar. Their job is to give lip service to the idea of a “night in paradise”, with a gorgeous set of boobs all the way from Rwanda. He seals the deal so that no bargaining should go on with the actual prostitute. And this is the story of how the Rwandan girls get laid even without putting in a single of theirs to negotiate.
HIGH TABLE BAR
This one is along Kampala road and it is a typical Ugandan styled bar, except that recently it has been more styled to cater for the international preferences especially for the Sudanese brothers. These flock this pub in multitudes and recently Wednesday has been set apart as “Sudanese Night” to throw attention to the interests of the Dinka Community in the bar.
Music is not too loud and it is mostly Ugandan and Nigerian music although beats of Sudanese tunes are also heard and more music across East Africa.
This is Kisementi based and it is owned by Germans. In this one mostly Europeans end up here for a good drink and European music.
Locals are entertained but not as whites.
BIG MIKE’S BAR & RESTAURANT
Big Mike’s is also a popular Acacia Avenue hotspot for Whites especially Europeans. It consists of an outdoor bar area and a spacious indoor back room complete with mini stage -which hardly ever seems to get used but would make a great spot for themed club nights or live music. They do run a classic rock night though, every Thursday, which has live piano playing.
Their food menu is relatively expensive and Mexican/Spanish/Cuban themed. It actually has one of the most extensive Latino menus in town with dishes from fajitas to beef filet steaks, and food is generally pretty good quality as well as being reasonably priced.
Drinks are pretty standard priced, with beers at around 5,000 UGX and a spirit and mixer [e.g. gin and tonic] at 7,000 UGX. As with the cocktails they offer a large choice of different spirit brands, ranging in price. For the sports fans, Big Mike’s is a good place to watch live sports (especially football) as they often erect a large screen in the main bar and have a number of sofas you can nab if you arrive early enough.
The type of crowd you’ll find here is a bit Ugandan but on the weekends, has a larger ratio of older white gentlemen and young Ugandan women looking to meet them. It definitely has more of a nightclub vibe and music is actually pretty good generally the standard RnB/Hip-Hop.