Inside Nairobi’s First Bar Show: A Glimpse Into Kenya’s Growing Bar Scene

The Nairobi event scene has been at a peak and November has not disappointed at all. The first-ever Nairobi Bar Show was a perfect two-day experience offering the best of the beverage culture to those who attended. The Sunday crowd which is when we attended had a fair amount of the bartenders from spots across Nairobi as well as cocktail lovers.

The venue: The Pool House at 19 Kibagare way in Loresho, was full of life with guests tasting the different brands at the temporary bars or sitting down to savour the cocktails that were available(all for only 500kshs throughout the afternoon) over music and conversation.

The sampling stations included Diageo brands; Ketel One, Tanqueray, Singleton and Don Julio, plus newer drinks like Ish gin, Ron de Jeremy Spiced rum, Veuve Ambal and Vedrenne. Also participating were other relevant names in the scene such as New York based, currently in Nairobi, pop up bar Mulberry project and  Le Decanter wine distributors.

Behind the scenes: there were several more engaging and interactive tastings, immersions and talks. More and more booze enthusiasts in Kenya are eager to learn more about their favourite brands and these sessions were a hit. Tickets for a day pass were also just 500kshs, which seemed a small fee for all we got!

As mentioned, the event was a bartenders and mixologists affair, having been organized by Brian Owango of Aqueous Mobile Bar- one of Kenya’s pioneer bartenders. Some sessions were particularly curated for the bartenders. The Magic of Mulberry led by Sergio, Black Women in Mixology with Samia were among them. Heavy topics such as theft in the industry were also addressed. Lastly, the afternoon event that went on into the night ended with the launch of the World Class journey video; where we watched the competitors tell their stories through the competition narrated by Diageo’s East Africa National Advocacy Manager Douglas. Watch: World Class Kenya 2018 and 2019.

At the end of the night, it is easy to feel and appreciate the direction and growth of the bartending scene in Kenya.

The bar show was a worthwhile way to spend a Sunday and we will be on the lookout for the next one.


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