Casablanca (Nairobi) Entrance

Casablanca, Nairobi: One of Nairobi’s Best Nightlife Spots?

Casablanca. If you are up and about on the Nairobi social scene, then you probably already have an opinion about Casablanca. What is your opinion? Is it positive or negative? I can’t quite decide myself, which is why I resort to asking you first. In this post, I will do my best to tell you what I can about Casablanca, then you’ll have to judge for yourself.

What and Where is Casablanca (Nairobi)?

Casablanca is a lounge bar/nightclub (do you think that is an apt description?), located in Kilimani on Chaka Road, off its intersection with Lenana Road. Located in the same complex as my favorite Italian restaurant in Nairobi, Osteria del Chianti, Casablanca was all the rage when it first opened its doors about a decade ago.

Booking.com

At the time, it was a member’s only (or so I was told) up-market establishment known for its great decor, swanky crowd, and interesting—though expensive—cocktails. I first heard about Casablanca from a friend who lives in that neighborhood. She was totally blown away with its beauty and all of a sudden seemed to frequent nowhere else.

My friend’s description and enthusiasm about Casablanca sparked mine too, though I was a bit weary of the establishment because it seemed to me as place that was more interested in creating an air of exclusivity than focused on offering an excellent service. Although, I resisted it at first, I eventually found myself at Casablanca to celebrate this same friend’s birthday the following year.

Dancer at Casablanca Nairobi

The Decor at Casablanca

I was immediately wowed by the decor at Casablanca! The proprietors of the establishment have done everything in their power to truly make Casablanca feel like an Arabian hideout located somewhere very far from Nairobi. Everything from the chairs to the white washed walls and hookah pipes serve to set the mood at Casablanca.

Not only did I find the decor amazing, but so too were the drinks. Casablanca makes the best Margaritas I have had outside North America. I had already heard at this point that cocktails at Casablanca cost 500 Ksh a glass. I wasn’t sure that they could pull off cocktails worth that price. I was completely wrong! The cocktails at Casablanca are some of the best that I have had in Nairobi. Though they are still expensive, they do offer some sort of value for money.

Cocktail at Casablanca, Nairobi

I visited Casablanca a number of times after this first visit, but never became a frequent visitor. Maybe this was because I felt it was generally expensive, or that it had too much of a see-and-be-seen quality. Perhaps it had something to do with the nature of the activities that took place at Casablanca. Through the grapevine, I quickly figured out that Casablanca was a place where women took men to “spend their money” or where married men took out young, single, trendy women in order to impress them. It wasn’t glaringly obvious, but it’s something that I always caught a hint of and that I was a little uncomfortable with.

Fast forward about a year. One Saturday, after a pleasant evening spent dancing salsa at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, a friend suggested we go to Casablanca to meet another friend who happened to be there. Since I was still in the mood for socializing, I decided to tag along with him and have “one drink for the road”.

Casablanca Ignited

Casablanca, this time, was like I had never seen it before! The establishment was teeming with people and music played so loud that I could hear it outside the gate.  As we entered the premises, there was a large bonfire burning outside and the ground was covered with sand. Casablanca, it seemed, had turned into a nightclub.

One drink for the road, at close to 1 a.m., became a night of dancing and socializing that did not end until 5:30 a.m. A DJ played outstanding music (with a heavy bias towards techno) all through the night. That’s what Saturdays are like at Casablanca nowadays—full of excitement, great music, and a lot of fun.

This commentary would not be complete if I did not take some time to discuss the kind of crowd that can be found at Casablanca on the weekends. For starters, it’s a crowd that is racially diverse. So if that’s something that you are interested in, Casablanca might be a place you want to check out.

Casablanca (Nairobi) at Dusk

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what tickles your fancy), within this racial diversity, you find a lot of black African women who frequent Casablanca with the hope of bagging Caucasian partners for financial gain. Sometimes, this is exhibited clearly in the form of prostitution, but it also takes on subtler forms. This phenomenon creates a somewhat sleazy and shady feel to Casablanca.

Over the years, Casablanca has gone from having no cover charge, to having a cover charge, to again not having one. When they did charge an entrance fee, the fee was 300 Ksh (if I remember correctly). Today, I am not sure whether or not Casablanca charges a cover charge on the weekends. (Might any of you, my readers, know?)

That’s what I have to say about Casablanca. In this post, I’ve told you both good things and not-so-good things about the establishment. If you’ve never been, check it out and tell me what you think.  If you have been before, I’m keen to hear what you have to say about Casablanca.

Whatever the case, if you do make it out there, I wish you a lot of fun and enjoyment.

Until the next time,
Biche

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Photo Credits: glaydensworldtour.blogspot.com; presstigeprinting.com; osteriadelchianti.com; thetouristattractions.blogspot.com

19 thoughts on “Casablanca, Nairobi: One of Nairobi’s Best Nightlife Spots?”

hello my name is dj deshal !! and we were the
residence djs at casablanca i it was amazing
to play for a very mixed crowd not like other
clubs where you would find only one race
cheers !!!!!!!

hello !! we were playin there for one and a half years from 2006 and after we started is when the cover charge was introduced , we then left and were called back in by the managment . !! currently we just play at private functions cause clubs dont pay fairly for the services you provide !! cheers Dj deshal soul sounds entertainment nairobi

Thanks for sharing. That means the chances are high that you were playing on a night when I was at Casablanca. Allow me to say, then, that your music rocks! I don’t think I’ve ever been to Casablanca and found the music less than great. Thanks for getting back to me.

Hi DJ Deshal,

When did you use to DJ at Casablanca? If I partied there on a night when you were DJ-ing, than thanks a mill for the great music! 🙂 How does DJ-ing for a racially diverse crowd differ from DJ-ing for a crowd made up of mostly one race (just out of curiosity)?

You say you were the resident DJ at Casablanca. Is there a place where you DJ now where we can come hear you play? What kind of music do you play?

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

Biche

Hi,

I love your blog! I’ve been living here for awhile and tend to share your opinions. Casablanca indeed has a shady feel. On the other hand it also has some of the best music, a crowded dance floor and a very mixed crowd. Unfortunately when I was there in December it also had a cover charge again.

Hi Em,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! I am glad you like my blog.

Casablanca, has a cover charge again? Thanks for sharing. How much was it the last time you went?

Biche

Lol, are you one of those people who thinks of all outing expenses in terms of the cost of beer? (My father does that often too.) So, basically they simply reinstated the cover charge at the same price it had always been. Thanks for sharing the info! 🙂

Biche

Dear Biche, this is very well written and describes Casablanca very well. I live on the Karen side of town, which means I wouldn’t go there often, nor would my daughters age 20 – 17, but have been a couple of times and per your point the Maliahs were a bit much for me! The decor is beautiful.But we can get that at the Talisman. Most of the White Older Kenyans prefer good old Rock and Roll. Techno is just a bit too much, hence we prefer to go to Karen Country Lodge these days on a Thursday night as they mix it up. Take Care and keep having fun where ever you are in Kenya!

Hi Tana,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! I am pleased to know that you found my review accurate.

Talisman, ooohhhh! I love that place. It’s simply gorgeous. I used to live in Karen and know how it takes a lot to take one out of Karen, especially with all the beautiful places to socialize that exist there. I’ve never been to Karen Country Lodge though. Is that new? I’d love to hear more about it.

I look forward to seeing more of you around here.

Cheers,
Biche

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