Drinking & Nightlife
You won’t go thirsty in Addis Ababa. Sip some of the world’s best (and cheapest) coffee, down a healthy juice or simply sway home after swallowing your share of tej.
Addis is currently experiencing a mass spawning of cafes. At the centre of the scene are the Piazza and Bole Rd areas. Many are cookie-cutter rip-offs of Western-style coffee shops, but among the dross are some fine places – some recalling bygone days in small-town Italy, others are cool and hip hangouts for the city’s growing middle class.
Most of Addis Ababa’s cafes serve freshly squeezed juices or slushy blends of everything from strawberries to avocado, but you'll also come across some dedicated juice bars in the city.
Nightlife in Addis has settled into a nice rhythm – the good places are still good and still around, and the bad ones have fallen by the wayside.
While most nightclubs open as early as 9pm, there’s no point in arriving before midnight. Those open during the week close around 2am; things wrap up nearer to 5am on weekends. Cover charges vary between Birr50 and Birr100 at most venues, depending on the day (but are sometimes free). Expect to drop a minimum of Birr50 for a beer and Birr80 for a cocktail.
Pubs & Bars
Addis Ababa’s bar scene is becoming ever more cosmopolitan and diverse, though remember this is still no Nairobi when it comes to the quantity and quality of bars – many are hole-in-the-wall dives where all but the most thick-skinned would feel uneasy. However, a growing middle class and increasing numbers of expats have led to some swanky joints, the majority of which are found in and around Bole Rd.
Small local drinking holes charge Birr30 for a bottle of beer, while established bars can charge up to Birr50. Most places are open until 2am during the week, and 5am on the weekend.
If authentic experiences are what you’re after, there’s no better place than a tej bet to down the famed golden elixir (honey wine). Most are open from 10am to around 10pm, but are busiest in the evening. They’re the traditional haunt of men, so women should keep a low profile. They never have signs, so you’ll have to ask locals to point them out.