A Nairobian’s free-time is usually occupied with booze and food… and with the huge influx of bars and restaurants, Nairobi isn’t short of places to go wining and dining if you’re up for lining your stomach that night! Follow our guide to the best cocktail bars in Nairobi .
Despite the number of cocktail menus in Nairobi there are only a couple that you’d go back to specifically for a cocktail… and let’s face it, once in a while all you need is to feel a bit “Carry Bradshaw-esque” with a pair of heels, a couple of friends and a good gossip over a great cocktail that you will mmm and ahh over until you’re tispy and giggly.
Cin Cin Wine Bar
A traditional cocktail bar with classic furniture, a colonial feel and a gentleman’s club aura, Cin Cin at Fairmont The Norfolk hotel is great for the classics – and cocktail-ing in this traditional setting almost makes you want to stick to the classics – cosmos, whiskey sours, traditional martinis and so on. Being in the Central Business District of Nairobi, it’s a great way to get some downtime, talk business or if you’re a Nairobian and sick of the spots close to home, it’s great to just do something different.
The Capital Club
Next on our guide to the best cocktail bars in Nairobi is this members club that recently hired an artist of a mixologist. Having a drink at the 7th floor lounge bar suddenly became more exciting. The cocktails take a while to arrive but are worth every minute of the wait. As someone who prefers a glass of wine or a vodka-soda, I thought I’d give this new mixologist a shot and asked him to make me something vodka-based but not too sweet. Ten minutes later, what looked like a dessert on a wooden platter appeared in front of me; a beautiful martini glass with vodka, chilli, lime & a splash of ginger-beer; beside the martini glass lay a cinnamon bark with dark chocolate chips, cranberries and dusted sugar to compliment the cocktail. A must-try especially on a Thursday night when the incredible jazz band makes it even more worth-while.
The Juniper Social
Famous for their laid-back back yard set-up and their brunch review in the New York Times, the Juniper Social is not your usual city cocktail bar by any means. It’s a rustic, inclusive and fun spot in Nairobi with decent food and great cocktails and probably the ideal place to meet other Nairobians with its casual vibe. With the clue in the name Juniper is famous for it’s gin-based cocktails, namely the Ginbasil fizz that is served to you in a fashionably rustic mason jar. Sit on hay stacks, chairs made of old doors or on cushions on the grass and feel like you’re hanging out amongst friends at this unique restaurant-come-bar that is really like spending the afternoon in your friend’s back-yard with a funky cocktail in hand.
If you are a Nairobian or are visiting Nairobi you’ll be sure to come across an Art Caffé – Nairobi’s answer to a bakery, coffee-spot, meeting point, quick-bite hang-out and in this case a boozy Saturday afternoon or an after-work drink spot. Their sangrias are probably the best I have ever tried. Order them by the jug and I guarantee you won’t stop at one. The red-wine sangria is spicy, tangy and gets its sweetness from the chunky orange pieces. But my personal favourite is the white wine sangria infused with cinnamon and poached pears, it works like a match made in heaven. Other great cocktails to try are their coconut mojito and Kenya’s classic cocktail with a spicy twist, the ginger dawa.