Dramatic salsa dancing couple

Salsa Night Nairobi: InterContinental Hotel

Update: The salsa night at the InterContinental Nairobi hotel no longer exists. Thanks, Natt, for the update! 🙂

You can check prices for, or book your stay at, the InterContinental Hotel Nairobi here!

READ ALSO: 5 Places to Stay in Nairobi for $50 or Less a Night

InterContinental Nairobi
City Hall Way
Nairobi

Some things are so commonplace in my life that I forget how noteworthy they are.

Today, I am going to tell you about one such thing.

For the last four years, the majority of my Friday nights have been spent at The Safari Bar, at the Nairobi Intercontinental Hotel, listening to the beat of salsa music, dancing ecstatically away.

Every Friday, The Safari Bar hosts a live band that plays salsa, merengue, and a myriad of other Latin beats.

A Friday evening at The Safari Bar is always a lot of fun no matter how proficient (or not) of a salsa dancer you are.

I remember the first time I went to one of these salsa nights.

At the time, I was interested in taking salsa classes (because I like dancing) but didn’t know where I could find an affordable beginners’ class in Nairobi.

On a Wednesday night (because these nights take place both on Wednesday and Friday nights), I convinced a friend to come along with me to check out the Nairobi salsa scene.

Despite the next day being a work day, we stayed at The Safari Bar well past midnight. Watching the couples doing their thing on the dance floor was enthralling!

We never once dared get up and dance. Still, we had a swell time listening to the music, watching couples dancing, and of course enjoying a drink. 🙂

salsa night nairobi Friday night at the Nairobi Intercontinental

Salsa Classes in Nairobi

That is all it took!

I quickly signed up for classes (at Flex Gym, behind Kenya Re-insurance in Upper Hill). Within a few months, I too had become one of those prolific dancers on the dance floor.

Salsa, although it looks complicated, is not too hard to learn.

If I thought salsa night at the Nairobi Intercontinental was great before I learned to dance, then I don’t know what words to use to describe it from the perspective of a dancer.

Most salseros would agree: very few things beat the thrill of a well-executed salsa dance.

The Intercontinental is generally pricey, though, so I do not recommend going to The Safari Bar if your primary interest is to drink copious amounts of alcohol—there are a lot of other places where you can do that more cost effectively. 🙂

Th Safari Bar, Nairobi Intercontinental
The Safari Bar, InterContinental Nairobi

If on the other hand, what you are interested in is listening to good music, having a good dance, or just doing something out of the ordinary on a Friday night, then I definitely recommend it.

Try it out some time and of course, let me know what you think when you do.

Biche

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Photo Credit: DanceParadeNewYork.wordpress.com; hotels.com, Bars Kenya

23 thoughts on “Salsa Night Nairobi: InterContinental Hotel”

Hi Biche,

I arrived at Nairobi about three weeks ago and just last weekend I thought its time to start exploring town. I came across your website while “google”ing for Salsa clubs in Nairobi. Partying Thursday night seemed like a wild thing to do and I though I should take it slow. So I skipped Pavement and went to the intercontinental on Friday night. I must say I really enjoyed it. The music was good and everyone was having a real good time.

Some people I met there recommended I also check out Serena Hotel Saturday night, and so I did. Just like the intercontinental, there was a live band playing Salsa but there were less people, apparently the band starts around eight and wraps up by midnight to avoid disturbing the hotel’s guests. But it was just as good.

On my way back to Westlands around 1:00 am, I got stuck in the traffic in front of Gypsy’s, there was some good Hip Hop music playing and it seemed like there was a party going on. I also saw a small sign at the gate that says “age limit 20". So what’s the deal? I thought it was a restaurant!

Hahahaha Enas,

Welcome to East Africa where restaurants by day (or week) become clubs by night or on the weekend! 🙂 (Oh, also, welcome to ChickAboutTown!)

Great, I see you’ve already gotten a good taste of the salsa scene in Nairobi. Yep, both Intercon on Friday and Serena on Saturday are pretty good. Since you mention people giving you information about other salsa nights, then I guess you also experienced first hand the friendliness of the Nairobi salseros. Are you a salsa dancer, or do you just like the music?

Now, about Gypsy’s, Gypsy’s is a restaurant/bar that holds open air street hangs on the weekend. They are quite popular and always crowded. I really, really like them myself. I particularly love the music, the hustle and bustle of the crowd, and the airiness of being outside.

The rumour around Nairobi is that Gypsy’s is a gay club/hang, but I have never had conclusive evidence of this. The crowd can be quite sleazy though with a lot of prostitutes and shady characters – in my opinion, not disturbingly so.

I had no idea that Gypsy’s had an age restriction. Either it’s always had it (and I just never caught a wind of it), or it could be something new probably targeted at young Universtiy students back in Nairobi for the summer. I’ve seen a number of those at Gypsy’s before. Thanks for sharing that info. If you didn’t stop the last time you passed by Gypsy’s, it’s an interesting place to check out. As you noticed from the street, the music is really good!

Thanks for your comment. I wish you a great time discovering more of the Nairobi social scene! 🙂

Biche

They were friendly indeed, I expected it to be posh and a little over the top (as salsa clubs are in Cairo) but everyone seemed cool and enjoying their time. I love salsa music and dancing, I’m not a great dancer, but I’m getting there!

I was talking to a male friend last night and I mentioned Gypsy’s. I’m afraid he confirmed the rumors. Apparently he was once “molested" there and vowed never to return! Hahaha

But what the heck, gay bars are the best place for a girl to enjoy her time without having some guy hit on her! I think I will make a stop there next Saturday. Will let you know.

Cheers!

What are salsa clubs in Cairo like? What do you mean they are over the top? Nope, none of that in Nairobi. The salsa hangs are so laid back – they really are just about the dancing.

Wow! I wonder what your friend considers being molested. You know how heterosexual men can have hyperactive imaginations at the slightest mention of anthing gay.

Well, I hope you enjoy Gypsy’s when you go next weekend. Let me know what you think.

Biche

Hi Anyango,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

Luckily, I can tell you a bit about Flex Gym, since I was a member there a couple of years ago (assuming things haven’t changed too much). For starters, it’s located directly behind the Kenya Re-insurance building in Upper Hill. I remember paying close to 5000 KSh for a monthly membership at the time (though I think it was slightly less). I hate to tell you but I really disliked gymming there. There were few machines, which were complicated to operate. The trainers were unprofessional and inappropriate with their female clients (in my opinion, and I am not a prude). I, too, used to work in Upper Hill, but my gym of choice was Body & Soul. Now, there’s a gym I can recommend, though it can be a little pricey. Check both out and compare!

I hope you find this information useful.

Biche

Hi Ambani,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! Thanks for your comment.

What salsa activity takes place at Norwich House? (Where exactly is Norwich House? I am so horrible with building names. :-))

Yes, Nairobi is quite the salsa hotspot. Now if only Dar es Salaam could become one too. I’d be thrilled! 😉

Biche

Hi Onchoka, Welcome to ChickAboutTown. I haven’t been to this salsa night in a long time but when I did go regularly, it began around 7-8 p.m. and would end after midnight. Perhaps you could call the Intercontinental Hotel for more reliable information. Their telephone number is at the top of this post.
Biche

Good afternoon Godfrey. In March of 2016, I went to Intercontinental Hotel and was duly informed that Salsa was disbanded ages ago. It was kind of disappointing. Natt

Hi Natt,

Welcome to Chick About Town, and thanks a lot for the update! That’s sad to hear: this used to be the best salsa night in Nairobi at some point. I’ll be sure to update my post accordingly.

Biche

P.S. So did you ever find a good salsa night after that?

Hi. Long time. Thanks a lot. I do visit Kenya twice a year. Last September I went to The Meridian Hotel as well as Art Cafe in Westlands. I enjoyed the atmosphere are Art Cafe.

Thanks for the update, Natt. I’ve heard about the salsa event at The Meridian Hotel but had never heard of the one at Artcaffe. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

HI Biche: In fact the two Art Cafes (Hub – Saturday – and at the Oval on Fridays) used to have Salsa events. Now its only Art Cafe Oval that still has the event – usually with live bands – on Friday evening. I have also heard a lot about the Brew Bistro Lounge. I will check it out in April when I visit.

Hi Natt,

Thanks for the update. My brother just came back from Nairobi two weeks ago and was telling me about the new Brew Bistro Lounge in Westlands. Do you mean that one or the one on Ngong Road?

Biche

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