“Thank God it’s Friday” is a common phrase you will often hear in Kampala, Uganda because it kicks off weekend partying in Kampala Nightlife! To many, Kampala, the vibrant capital of Uganda, has often been equated to New York City where people never sleep. “We will sleep in our shoes” is the rallying cry, with people partying all night long; drinking at pubs and clubs stay open throughout the night.
Almost every step you take, there is a local hangout, pubs full of expatriates, pubs in parking lots, and ladies dressed in micro mini dresses ready to take on the night. In Kampala, regardless of the venue, music is top-notch. There is always a mix of everything to suit every kind of crowd. From international pop to Nigerian music, their own local songs, South African, every reveler is catered for. Let’s jump into unknown Kampala Nightlife.
Ugandans party every day. Often you will hear them say ‟Any day is party time,” and true to that, in Kampala, alcohol is available at any time of the day. Pubs are open as early as 8:00 AM in the morning to cater to those on vacation. Drinking flows in their blood. It is part of their culture. You are almost never out of sight of a place to buy alcohol.
Locals actually confirm that many people come to Kampala not to visit the Nile River or Lake Victoria but to experience Kampala Nightlife. With many pubs to choose from, depending on where you are, Kampala offers such an unforgettable night experience ever. Let us explore a few hangout places you might like to check out once you are in the pearl of Africa.
Nightclubs in Kampala
Acacia Avenue happens to be one of the gleaming streets in Kampala, home to some of the higher-end hotels, apartments, and Acacia Mall. This area is littered with nightclubs and bars. For instance, the Irish pub Bubbles O’Leary and the adjacent Big Mike’s are all found here. Being a perfect spot for football lovers, with their exquisite cuisines, these pubs attract a healthy crowd of expatriates and a few locals too.
Further along the avenue are other bars such as Riders, The Wink, Casablanca, Iguana, Sky Lounge, which attract more of the local crowd than expats. This makes them a little more intimidating for our expatriates. But not to worry, Uganda is believed to have the most accommodating and friendly people you will ever meet around, who will welcome foreigners with open arms. So, if you happen to be around Acacia Mall, do not hesitate to check out these bars; you will have an experience of a lifetime.
Cayenne is found in the Bukoto area, about 20 minutes’ drive depending on what time it is (considering traffic in Kampala) from Acacia Avenue. This club has two sections, one at the poolside and the bar with a dance floor. If you are an expat, I would recommend it; they have an extensive international menu, and this place is a great hangout, especially if you want to have an early dinner.
Local cuisines are also catered for, and I would recommend you try out their tikka masala or any curry. You will thank me later. Near Cayenne are also other great hotels and pubs such as Kabira Country Club, Coco Bar, which is found in Ntinda, a few minutes’ walk from Cayenne.
On the other side of town, depending on where you are staying is another ‟Las Vegas” of Kampala called Kabalagala, usually referred to as ‟the sin city” or ‟where the devil lives.” This street has all sorts of nationalities from whites, Congolese, Nigerians, Chinese, and locals. People do not sleep here, and businesses never close. Capital Pub is one club notorious for having freelancers, De Posh too. You will be lost for choice if you want to have fun here, as pubs are in plenty.
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Fusion Auto Spa
A few kilometers away from Kabalagala there is Auto Spa. This pub, which doubles as a washing bay during the day, is found in the uptown area of Munyonyo overlooking Lake Victoria. Here you can get your car washed as you enjoy Ugandan beers such as the Nile, Bell Lager, or Eagle Extra. For the football fanatics, this one pub you should check out. With two bars adjacent to each other, this place is spacious enough for those who would like to pull some dance moves.
Depending on where you go and what time you arrive, some pubs will charge a cover. This can include a drink or not. The cost is not high, just a few dollars. Prices for drinks too are reasonable, roughly 2 or 3 dollars. One tricky thing about Kampala Nightlife is how to get from one place to another.
Regular taxis are readily available throughout the night and should cost you between UGX 20,000 – 40,000 (USD $5.32–$10.64). Motorcycle taxis (Bodabodas) will cost between about UGX 5,000 (USD $1.50). Prices might shoot high or go low depending on where you are going.
Instead of Bodabodas, I would rather recommend you pay extra for a taxi in case you are new in town. This is because motorcycles are not safe at night, and if it is your first time, you might not feel comfortable sitting on it. Also, as a foreigner, you might have a tricky time bargaining. Prices here depend on where you come from. As such, having a few local friends will be ideal.
Kampala is no doubt one of the safest places in East Africa. Nightlife is safe due to the heavy presence of security guards, and people walk freely at night. Security is very tight in almost every avenue. You will find metal detectors in most of the Kampala nightclubs, pub doors, bag checks, and frisking.
In some streets, you might also meet armed officers patrolling. This should not alarm you as it is the standard procedure, and it is for everyone’s safety. Bouncers too in most clubs and pubs are friendly, and you can always run to them in case of anything. Enjoy Kampala Nightlife and let us know below your comments.