In Summary
  • If you like sweetness, the Passion Caipiroska is probably up your alley – it doesn't pack too much of a punch.
  • The runner up to the sweet drinks would be their Berry Cosmopolitan – just by the name alone, you know what you're getting into.
  • If you like a little bit more sharpness, the Bacardi Mojito could work well for you, or the Chin Chin.
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I'm always complaining that there are not a whole lot of places to get a good cocktail in Nairobi. I am not sure why this is, but I do have a couple of theories on it.

I don't think Nairobians necessarily care to have the palate for a cocktail. Most people think cocktails are dangerous, and that they sneak up on you, or don't have enough alcohol in them.


Two, maybe Nairobians drink more wine nowadays than they do cocktails – even though I don't think that has always been the case. Our wine culture has developed much further within the last decade, I think, that it ever did before then, in terms of availability, knowledge and pricing. The proof is in the pudding, what with all of the wine shops popping up all over the place. It wouldn't be a reach to say that now.

Happy Hour bitings.

Happy Hour bitings - homefries and chicken wings - at Artcaffe. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

Another reason might be that Kenyans prefer to drink 'purer' liquors – straight up spirits, whiskies and beers – as opposed to diluted sweetness that if imbalanced just tastes like juice, or something a lot less appealing with a lot more bite. It's easier to go to a counter and ask for a beer, which is dependent on the mixing qualities at a brewery, and is almost an exact science, than order something that entirely depends on the skill of the man shaking the mixes behind the bar. As we know, that varies.

Therefore, my Happy Hour go-to tends to be Artcaffe, any branch, really, but mostly the ones in Westlands – at The Oval and Westgate. I like the ambience there, and it's relatively close to where I normally operate. Of course, the parking fees irk me – I did once pay more than my drink in parking at the Oval – because I don't think you should pay for parking when you're going into somewhere to spend more money. I admit, I used to deliberately avoid malls that charge parking. Unfortunately, now it is inevitable that you will have to – even T-Mall has fallen to the parking scourge.

But I digress. Artcaffe has a nice range of drinks, and they listen to complaints, if you have them, concerning the alcohol level. And I have faith in their bartending.

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