Nairobi News


BLOG: A heartfelt eulogy for my watering hole in the city, Tanager

On Friday, one of the longstanding water holes in town closed its doors. I had said this before. Tanager will be no more. There was no fanfare. There was no loud music. There was no big crowd. It just shut it.

You see, Tanager was more than a watering hole to some of us. It was a place to vent out after a long day. It was a place to catch up on the latest gossip and politics. It was a political analysis chamber.

It was a deal making zone. It was an advisory centre full with lawyers economists, insurers, bankers, journalists, and some who we were not very sure what they did. It was a place for cheap beer. It was a sight seeing spot.

The balcony and the passersby…

Sadly, Tanager will now become a place to have tea in the evening after it was reportedly ‘bought’ by our friends who deal in halal products.


But the bigger issue about the closure of tanager is not that it closed. The bigger issue with the closure is that bar business within the CBD is becoming untenable. Bar business anywhere near the CBD is becoming untenable.  High taxes on beer, the inconvenience of alcoblow and what not has made the business not as profitable.

In the CBD, to survive as a bar, you must now have ‘extras’. Extra short skirted waiters, extra smoking zone, extra ventilation, extra cute polite waiters, extra security…extra..

It is no longer a bar stool, a counter, some music in the background and a beer. No. That ended long ago. That is now the preserve of the locals.

Nowadays there has to be some biting, the waiter must greet you the patron as you get in and smile at you like a long lost friend. The ambience must be right. extras. Bars in the CBD have to go the extra mile to attract patrons.


In effect what is happening is a devolved night culture. If it is a Friday evening and you must have one–have one, or two or three in town, then head to the local.

Then from there if you must go out, join in the local crew and head to XS Millionaires, Assylum,Tamasha (yes tamasha is back) or such like joints.

Drinking in the CBD will never be the way we knew it when we were young. It has changed.

Well, for those who do not have memories of Tanager, shame on you. What will you brag to your grandkids about?

I will not disclose my next CBD joint. I bet you know my local. Lets make memories when time lasts… to…..damn! Its too early for a beer.