Drinking and nightlife in West Africa

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dakar

    Phare des Mamelles

    On the hilltop in front of Dakar's iconic lighthouse, this open-air bar draws a dance-loving crowd on Friday nights, when it hosts live music jams. On Saturday nights DJs rule the roost (the cover for either night is CFA5000). At the moment, the Phare is one of the best places to be on a weekend night. You can also book a table for the high-end Sunday brunch, served buffet-style to mesmerizing views (CFA14,500 per person).

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Lagos

    Bogobiri II/Nimbus

    Part of Bogobiri House, this is a lovely place for a drink (and eat) – mellow in the day and happening at night. There's an attached art gallery with works from local artists, and at weekends there's live music. At the open mic night on a Thursday you'll hear some astonishing young musicians.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in São Tomé

    Pico Mocambo

    This delightful rum bar is spread across the grounds of a historic plantation house – STP needs more of this! The bar itself is nestled in the top floor, and strikes just the right note with its plantation shutters and bamboo furniture, not to mention cocktails. Picks up after 9pm.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Sierra Leone

    Quincy's Bar & Nightclub

    A Freetown institution, Quincy's claims that it shuts 'when the last person leaves', and in their case, it's true. Come the weekend, an exuberant crowd of local posers, government ministers and expats parties well past dawn.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Cotonou

    Le Livingstone

    One of the most atmospheric spots for a drink is the terrace of this pub in Haie Vive, which serves as one of the biggest expat hangouts in town.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Rockstone's Office

    Owned by hiplife legend Reggie Rockstone. There's a lounge bar decked out with white leather sofas, an outdoor terrace and regular live music. At the weekend an energetic crowd parties till dawn to hiplife (a highlife/hip-hop hybrid) and hip-hop. It's near the police headquarters, behind the Japanese embassy.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    JamesTown Cafe

    This stylish architect-owned cafe, bar and music venue sits in a beautifully restored building right in the heart of old Accra, just across from the sea. There's local and international food, great cocktails and live music daily. Once a week, the party spills outside. The cafe also owns the ArchiAfrika gallery opposite, which showcases African architecture and design, and has plans to open a B&B in the same spot.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Republic Bar & Grill

    With its bright red walls, black-and-white photos, vintage postcards and outdoor wooden deck, this fab bar wouldn't look out of place in Brooklyn. Here, it delights happening young Ghanaians and expats in equal measure, and is renowned for its innovative cocktails made from local booze such as palm wine. Live music is also fantastic here, with many a highlife giant having turned up to play to exuberant crowds.

  • Nightlife in Dakar


    Head upstairs to this stylish, open-sided drinking den near the beach for well-made cocktails, delicious sharing plates (including a tangy red tuna ceviche) and breezy views over the shore. There's also a blackboard menu of well-executed dishes like grilled octopus. It draws a mostly expat crowd. Occasional nights of DJs and live jazz.

  • Nightlife in Malabo

    Aviator Pub & Café

    The Aviator is a stylish new pub, all dark green walls and some outside seating. There are sports screens, very popular karaoke on Thursdays and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. There's food to soak up the beer: the English owner offers a full English breakfast (CFA4000) and fish and chips (CFA7000). Takeaways are available, too.

  • Nightlife in Mindelo


    Gallery space downstairs and a chilled wine bar upstairs, with lots of contemporary artwork, dark ambient lighting and cool music. A good place for a low-key night out, over wine and tapas-style snacks. It has live music and other events (like film screenings) from time to time. Stop in to see what's on.

  • Nightlife in Malabo

    L'Atelier Cabaret Lounge

    Featuring rococo chairs, silver gilt and chandeliers, this 'cabaret lounge' is a great place to sip a cocktail and enjoy live music on weekends. There's no entry fee.

  • Nightlife in Malabo

    Bahia Sound Lounge

    There's a great bar here and an open-air dance floor overlooking the sea. It's always popular though entrance and drinks prices are high.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Badu Lounge

    This lounge in Labone turns into a veritable nightlife highlight on weekend nights, giving local and highly talented voices a stage to perform. The vibe here is so rich that even the eponymous soul legend Erkia Badu would be proud. Badu's food and drinks, served in its modern, clean setting, are worth the visit during the week (day or evening).

  • Nightlife in Accra


    This rooftop bar sits at the summit of Alto Tower, West Africa’s tallest building. Unsurprisingly, the uncovered area outside the sleek blue-lit bar offers the vest views in Accra. It's occasionally closed for private events or member functions, but try your luck by calling or making a reservation in the dining section on the website.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Clear Spice

    It’s just a restaurant and office during the week, but come Friday night this venue behind Flagstaff House transforms into a disco straight out of the 1970s. A disco ball turns over the small dance floor as crowds of Ghanaians in their 30s and 40s dance all night in a relaxed trance to funk and soul music.

  • Nightlife in Accra


    A little slice of England in Accra, this dingy pub is the place to stop if you want an evening of playing billiards or watching live sports on the flat screen. Start the night off with a pick from the wide selection of draft beers and a plate of British pub food.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Smoke ‘n’ Barrel

    This bar is all about its outside space. Wooden seating and planks behind a long bar create a homey atmosphere – join expats and locals to sip on beers and drinks. There is also a quiz night every Tuesday. The grilled food is average.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Kona Cafe and Grill

    This popular new hangout is the epitome of rustic chic, with pallet furniture and faux street food. It has a rooftop deck overlooking Osu and is a good place to sample local spirits.

  • Nightlife in Accra

    Epo's Bar & Night Club

    This lively bar and club keeps on going to the small hours, pumping out loud dance and hip hop. It's also a popular spot to watch premier league football.