ABC Place, Westlands
Tel: :+254 (20) 4450364/4451875
How many of you reading this post partied at the famous Kengeles ABC? I didn’t grow up in Nairobi, but even I partied there a couple of times. Loud music blasting, young people spilling over into the parking lot at ABC place, this is what comes to mind when I think of Kengeles ABC. Those were the days (some would say)!
Things have changed, and Kengeles ABC is no more. In its place is a gorgeous, swank bar by the name of Mercury Lounge! Admittedly, Mercury Lounge is not spanking brand new. To the best of my recollection, it first opened its doors a little before summer (think American summer :-)) 2005. Still, its apparition on the Nairobi social scene is relatively new.
Walking into Mercury Lounge feels like you’ve walked onto the set of Sex and The City or some other show of the same kind. After my first visit, I remember telling my friends that being at Mercury Lounge felt like being at a bar in North America or Europe. Mercury Lounge’s decor is outstanding, complete with fabric covered walls and LCDs on the walls, used by the waiters to place orders and keep track of bills (I think!). Mercury Lounge is truly in a league of its own when it comes to decor!
Unfortunately, the decor at Mercury Lounge is the best thing about it (in my experience). On the first night I went there, I remember drinking a chichi, fancy-named martini that contained more juice than anything else (yes, please understand that the martini had no punch!). To add insult to injury, this “martini”, served in a martini glass (you can imagine how small), cost 450 KSh. What an abomination!
Another thing that turned me off, on this first night at the Mercury Lounge, was the ridiculously long line-up to enter the lounge as well as the unnecessary rigidity with which the line-up was handled. I am no stranger to line-ups and completely understand the need to respect an establishment’s capacity limits. However, on that night, a friend of mine was denied entrance to the lounge (until someone exited the lounge first) despite the fact that I’d proven to the bouncer that I had reserved a spare seat for my friend at our table. Can an establishment have more seats than its permitted capacity? I doubt it highly! I was not impressed with what I witnessed at Mercury Lounge that night (except for the fantastic decor) and did not return for another year.
A year and so later, invited by some of my friends for a girls’ night out, I found myself at Mercury Lounge once more. It was still as beautiful as ever and filled with ‘beautiful people’, as a friend of mine likes to say. It was obviously still an ‘in’ spot, though the hype about it had died down a little. This time, I saw no line-up. The drinks were no better, but the one thing I did discover that night was that the food at Mercury Lounge is amazing!
My friends and I ordered cheese sticks and calamari to accompany our drinks that night – the calamari was the best I have ever tasted in my life! The calamari was juicy, moist, and succulent. The cheese sticks tasted as good as my all time favorite cheese sticks – the ones served at Georgetown Cafe in Washington, DC. Granted, these were just snacks. Still, given the nature of the snacks, I think it is not too far-fetched to conclude that Mercury Lounge serves good food. Although I have never been there for a full-fledged dinner, this is definitely on my list of things to do!
Dear reader, this is what I have to tell you about Mercury Lounge: It is a beautiful place to be and see, though the drinks (understand: the cocktails) often leave a lot to be desired. It seems that the food they serve is good, but then again I have not had a full-fledged meal there. I definitely recommend visiting the Mercury Lounge at least once to witness the elegance of the establishment. Whether you feel the service they provide is commensurate to the cost of service will depend highly on what you value most when you go out. I think you will enjoy your experience there, at least the first time.
I’d love to hear what you think when you finally make you way there.
Until the next time,
Photo Credits: www.travelstart.co.ke