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Travelling for Business in Nairobi? Top 3 Watering Holes for your Downtime

The expansion of business tourism in Kenya has seen Nairobi become an attractive destination for new hotels, with 2,666 rooms expected to be added in the next two years. As much as the expansion is there, you need some downtime on your trip. This is Citizen Femme’s three best hotel bars in Nairobi that warrants your time and patronage.

The Exchange Bar, Sarova Stanley Hotel

Set in the iconic Sarova Stanley hotel in the central business district, The Exchange bar is one of the few bars in the country with such a rich history. It is the site of Nairobi’s first Stock Exchange from 1954- 1991 and was the first bar to take delivery from Kenya Breweries – maker of the legendry Tusker and Pilsner beers in 1922. It’s carpeted and leather décor with wooden fans providing the air conditioning give it an old world feel. And for a Citizen Femme who isn’t afraid to kick back and try a new menu, it has an expansive whiskey and cigar menu worth going through.

Zing Bar, Dusit Hotel

I am a firm believer that a name, a brand and its association sets the tone of the vibe of the place. Zing bar is true to its name. There is a zing to the air when you walk into it from the lobby of the hotel.  If you’re looking for something contemporary, this is the place to be.  Strategically located near the lobby to recharge yourself whilst you check in to the Dusit Hotel, or just to hang out with your friends. As bars should be, the bar top covers a good surface area so enjoying a drink “at the bar”  quite literally is a choice that’s available which I feel is a bonus as such few bars have that option. The pièce de résistance is the hundreds of aluminum tubes that hang at the centre of the bar and at night make a spectacular light piece.  The bar has a terrace with oil lit fires to warm up the icy Nairobi nights, and blankets are provided on request. As far as bar menus in a hotel go this is the best one I’ve seen yet.

The Bar, Hemingways Hotel

One of the best hotel bars in the capital city goes by the oddly uninspiring name of “The Bar”. Obviously the result of their creative juices running out after setting up the classical space.  This colonial-styled bar with its beautiful white marble fireplace and marble floor is offset with dark chocolate coloured leather sofas to provide some warmth to an otherwise very white bar courtesy of the marble.  The bar itself is leather padded and the bar man, Keith was one of the most knowledgeable I have come across. The beauty of this bar is really the mint coloured terrace opening up direct views of the Ngong Hills. That is where you want to enjoy the sunset and your aperitif. It also has of Nairobi’s best wine cellars boasting a large selection of South African, South American, European and Californian vintages.

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