For being the Muslim area of town, Nyamirambo certainly does ok for bars and debauchery. The area close to the Green Mosque is pretty Muslim-y but push further into the neighbourhood and the mosques give way to what seems like the highest concentration of bars and pubs in one area of the city. The streets are usually pretty lively and bars here stay open late every night of the week.
Spotting good pub crawl conditions, a couple of friends and I organised what we expected would be a small pub crawl from Sun City Hotel up the hill down to Spectra. But making a Facebook event open to everyone is a magical thing and suddenly we had about 50 people roaming the streets of Nyamirambo. It turned into a really fun night and I thought I’d share a bit about the experience and give some info just in case you want to do something a little different with your weekend.
What follows is a list of bars in the area, a map with the route we took, and some suggestions about how to make it a great night. Nyamirambo is my favourite part of Kigali and any of these places can make for a fun night out, pub crawl or no pub crawl.
Sun City Hotel
Phone: 0782 374 515
Logically wanting to crawl down hill, we started our night at Sun City, a hotel and bar perched high above the city on the way up to Mount Kigali. The bar itself is on the third floor of a tower, giving it a fantastic view back over the rest of Nyamirambo and across to town. The place is pretty low key and I’ve never seen more than a couple of tables of people at any given time, which is good since they seem to only have a couple of tables available. The staff are friendly and the food comes in the usual 1 hour time frame. Beers here are a bit more expensive than other places in the area with a large Mutzig costing Rwf 1,200 and beef brochettes are Rwf 1,000. The food is good and the view really can’t be beat.
Finding it can be slightly tricky if you’ve never been to Nyamirambo before. Basically… just keep heading into the neighbourhood on the main road, all the way in without turning. Eventually the road will fork up to the right and the hotel will be a few hundred metres after this on the left. If you’re stumped, just as a moto driver in Nyamirambo to point you in the right direction.
Beer Garden Bar
This Primus pub is located right next to Sun City and if you’re planning on a serious pub crawl, you might choose to include it in your route. We skipped it but it’s a small and weirdly cute bar with a nice little open-air area and worth a look if your group isn’t too big.
This big bar has a huge courtyard and a bunch of smaller rooms that are on the second floor. If you manage to get one of the rooms, you can cram in a bunch of friends and feel like you’re the only people in the place which taking in a great view. For a local place, the menu here is pretty extensive with fish , goat, and beef brochettes all on offer as well as whole chickens. A large Mutzig costs around Rwf 1,000 which is about as good a price as you’ll get. My favourite thing about this place is the welcome chef who is holding the roof up with his head. This place has a few TV screens and is a good place to watch football if that’s your thing.
Panorama Ten to Two
Hours: 11am – Late
Phone: 0788 831 878
Panorama Ten to Two is favourite in Kigali for their whole fish (Rwf 10,000) and it was also a fine stop for the crawl. They have a lot of booze and food options and plenty of seating. This would be my recommended stop for a meal but they can be really slow with their food so if you plan on eating here make sure you call ahead, especially if you’re a big group. Even with a pre-order, the food can take an hour! At the very least, if you want fish, make sure to call ahead to see if they have it that night.
Hours: 9am – 1am
Phone: 0784 499 595
I discovered this place more recently while taking a stroll through Nyamirambo so I’m not sure what it’s like at night but the setup seems pretty cool and the owner is friendly. There are a whole bunch of small rooms surrounding an open courtyard and there’s a bar at one end complete with bar stools. The bar looked fairly well-stocked and they serve grilled whole chicken and brochettes. Most importantly, it’s located about halfway down the cobblestone road which makes it a logical place for a crawl stop. Plus there’s a saloon next door in case you need a haircut along the way. Better yet, get someone really drunk by this point and convince them to shave their head. Cruel, but fair.
Hours: 9am – 1am
Phone: 0788 752 721
If you want to start your night off with some great local food and want to shorten the crawl either in aid of not getting too ridiculously drunk or so it’s not so rushed, then Green Corner is a good choice for a starting point. Then you can travel either up the hill towards Sun City Hotel for a short, civilised crawl ending with a beautiful view, or back in towards the centre of Nyamirambo to the clubby bars and debauchery. If you’re not planning on starting here, maybe skip it as you’d have to walk a little in the wrong direction and backtracking just isn’t cool in the case of a pub crawl.
East Africano Bar
Hours: 10am – 12am
Phone: 0782 773 889
This is a small but lively place with a decent amount of outside seating, a bar, and a pool table. This was a fun stop with some people taking turns playing the local guys at pool and the rest of us hanging out on th bar side or outside. The bar was busy and people were understandably curious at the arrival of 50-ish foreign invaders. it made for some friendly conversations and the manager even bought a few of us beers.
New Tundra Resto-Bar
Phone: 0788 521 358
This place is super cute! I didn’t notice it when we went on our Nyamirambo pub crawl back in the day, but the owner tells me it’s been around for years. It’s a sort of small place but I love the flags and there’s a nice mix of seating between the small rooms, tables in the main area, and the bar stools. I love me some bar stools. The owner was friendly, it has a nice atmosphere, and is certainly worth a look.
This place is right across the road from New Tundra ans wasn’t open when I went past. It was 11am and there were a bunch of guys hanging out there but the chairs were stacked and the bar was closed. There’s a pool table and plenty of space on a raised up patio area and it looks like a good place to grab a beer. So keep an eye out for it as you crawl past.
Never been! But it’s on the corner just before turning onto the main road and could make a good stop for people on longer, more boozy crawls.
Also never been… across the road from Cafe-Resto Damoiselle and it seems to have a nice outdoor area.
You guessed it… never been here either but, as with the other two places, this bar would make a decent addition of you want more stops. But keep in mind that more stops means more difficulty moving people on from bar to bar, especially if you accidentally amass a giant group of people.
This place was called ‘ERP Bar’ when we did our crawl a couple of years ago. This was the point in the crawl that separated the men from the boys, with much of the crawl crowd bowing out after this stop. This is largely due to the fact that this bar sells banana wine and the fact that we bought it in large quantities. The bar is small and most people were hanging around out front drinking beer and passing around the bottles of the wicked stuff. There’s a bit of a gap here until the next stop (maybe a 10+ minute drunken, zigzag walk) so if you’re going to go the banana wine route, make sure to keep an eye on your flock and steer them in the right direction. There’s only one direction… but apparently banana wine confuses things.
Hunterz Sports Bar
This is one of the most bizarre bars in Kigali and every time I go here I have a good time. Some nights are more bizarre than others with strange stage shows including the usual half-naked lip-synching girls and the more unusual guys in white-face lip-synching to cat meows and dog barks while attempting to thrust his ass out in time with fart noises. No, I did not make this up. I’ve seen it four times in my life: twice here, once down the road at Mount Kigali Hotel, and once in Mbale, Uganda as part of a huge show with thousands of people watching. It makes an interesting study on what sorts of things different cultures find funny… I can safely say, I don’t understand the humour. Anyway. Hunterz is always a good time and if you want something a little less clubby than Spectra, it’s a good alternative for an ending spot. There’s also a bar downstairs and a somewhat secret bar beyond that with a pool table. If you’re able to see straight at this point.
Hours: Open 24 Hours, Every Day
Phone: 0788 837 207
The smelliest bar in Kigali. I don’t know how they do it because there are doors and windows along two whole walls of the place. Maybe the dudes here dance with an extra amount of vigor. Because of this issue, I tend to spend most of my time here chatting outside on the wraparound balcony. Spectra has a dance floor and a pool table, too, and is a more dancey/clubby place than Hunterz. It makes a good finishing spot for dancer types or have a drink here and roll on to Sundowner or KBC if you’re in for a truly debaucherous finish!
Good luck and God speed.