Drinking and nightlife in Ethiopia

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Addis Ababa

    Tomoca

    Ahh, if only all cafes were like this! Coffee is serious business at this great high-stooled Italian cafe (around since 1953) in Piazza. The beans are roasted on-site (you can literally smell them from a block away) and Tomoca serves some of the capital’s best coffee. Beans are also sold by the half-kilo and there's an Ethiopian coffee map on the wall.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Addis Ababa

    Topia Tej Bet

    Off Haile Gebreselassie Rd, tucked up an alley behind the Axum Hotel, this is Addis’ top tej bet (honey wine) and the only one to serve pure-honey tej. Signposted only in Amharic (as one local assured us, 'after one glass, foreigners start talking Amharic') but with menus in English, it’s a congenial place with tables surrounding a tiny garden. The smallest serve is 500ml…

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Addis Ababa

    Galani Cafe

    This one's worth taking a taxi across Addis for. A refreshingly cool and contemporary space, Galani serves up Ethiopia's finest barista-poured coffees, from espresso to piccolo and from drip-filter coffee to cold coffees. It's also a fine restaurant and dynamic cultural space with art exhibitions, a shop selling coffee, honey and the like, and coffee tastings or 'cuppings'.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Gonder

    Senait Coffee Shop

    Serving up Gonder's best coffee, Senait is brought to you by the same people who run Four Sisters and it shows. With a small but lovely, character-filled outdoor setting opposite the exit to the Royal Enclosure, it's a nice place to rest during your exploration of the city. The coffee is strong and traditional and of the highest quality.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Aksum

    Kuda Juice

    This cool little juice bar has free wi-fi, a modern feel and terrific juices. Ask for its special of the day – we loved the mango, avocado and guava – or try the shek (juice with milk). It was in the process of expanding into an outdoor area next door, so chances are it's even better by the time you get here.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Aksum

    Yeha Hotel

    The hotel may be past its prime, but the Yeha remains the best place in town for a sundowner. The terrace faces the setting sun and overlooks the Northern Stelae Field, St Mary of Zion Church and surrounding hills.

  • Nightlife in Lalibela

    Torpido Tej House

    Also known as Askalech, Torpido serves tej along with traditional azmari song and dance after 8pm. It gets a lot of tourists, but locals usually outnumber them. And unlike the more earthy tej houses, you are ensured good-quality wine – it comes in three strengths. Everyone is expected to dance – it's all in the shoulders… If you overindulge and can't make it home, there are a few (noisy) guest rooms upstairs.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Black Rose

    Hiding in a modern building above the Boston Day Spa and downstairs from Kuriftu Diplomat Restaurant, this plush bar possesses a cool vibe and a refined clientele. Music ranges from Ethiopian to Western and Indian, and it's a really classy place to spend an evening.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Mokarar

    Another of Piazza's cool old coffee haunts, Mokarar (the sign in Amharic says Harar – it's opposite Hotel Soramba) has stand-up stools and serves nothing but great coffee, all roasted right here. It's as simple and as wonderful as that.

  • Nightlife in Gonder

    Ethiopia Café

    This classic, though subtle, art-deco Italian cafe in the heart of the piazza is a throwback to the days of yesteryear – it's easily the most atmospheric of Gonder's traditional coffeehouses.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Choche Fine Coffee Plc

    In a quiet garden next to Addis' delightfully decaying old train station, Choche does great coffee and is for those who like to enjoy it outdoors. Service could be friendlier.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    La Parisienne

    If you’re staying in the Bole Rd part of town (in fact, even if you’re not), then there’s only one place for breakfast and that’s this megapopular terrace cafe with superb coffee, fair impersonations of croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice. There are several other branches throughout the city but this one is considered the best. If the waitresses could only develop more of a Gallic ‘I can’t be bothered to serve you’ shrug then you’d think you were on the Champs-Élysées.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Cup Cake Delights Cafe

    Red Velvet. Caribbean Breeze. Vanilla Fever. Brunette. The bright-and-bubbly names and flavours of the cupcakes on sale here are highly appropriate for a cafe that is in itself a bright-and-bubbly place full of Addis' hopeful and young. However, if we have one criticism it’s that they’ve gone a little overboard with the amount of icing atop each cake. If you can't face a cupcake, the peanut-butter cookies rock.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Club H2O

    A pulsating nightclub downstairs from Yoly Hotel, Club H2O kicks things off with a more sedate Happy Hour: 7pm to 10pm with live jazz to keep things down tempo. Things get going after that with live bands then DJ-spun tunes until close to dawn. Friday is African night – otherwise, the music is the usual Afro-Western mix.

  • Nightlife in Bahir Dar

    Pelican Wine House

    A chemistry degree from Bahir Dar University led owner Yordanos into a life of wine and she now makes her own honey, date, mango, apple and grape varieties. The place is not quite what it was, but is still worth a look. It’s signed only in Amharic, 500m south from the university gate on your left.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Memo Club

    About 200m west of Bole Rd (Africa Ave), this is another of Addis Ababa’s hot spots. Cosy seats, red lights and the odd full-length mirror surround the circular dance floor, which usually reverberates with African and Western tunes. Sadly, it’s also popular with expats shopping for prostitutes.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Beer Garden

    If your tipple is beer then at the German-flavoured Beer Garden you can sit on a long bench and get 3L of the golden liquid for Birr181 or a 1L for Birr63. They also do German bar snacks like bratwurst. Parents will appreciate the (slightly overgrown) children’s play park out front.

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Club Platinum & Lounge

    Packed every weekend with teenagers and 20-somethings, this place plays the usual mix of hip-hop, reggae, African and other music. Beers are a hefty Birr100. It’s close to the Edna Mall (where the Matti Multiplex is).

  • Nightlife in Addis Ababa

    Club Illusion

    This is Addis Ababa’s most raucous club and you need to be pretty thick skinned to survive! It’s in the basement of the Ambassador Cinema. There’s occasional live music. Beer costs an outrageous Birr100.

  • Nightlife in Harar

    Negeyo Cafe

    Overlooking Feres Megala, Negeyo's agreeable terrace is a good place to catch local vibes and enjoy plenty of local colour. It has an appetising selection of cakes and pastries and concocts superb fruit juices. Oh, and it serves delectable coffee.