RAS AMBA HOTEL BALCONY: THE BEST VIEWS OF ADDIS!
If you would like to go for a nice cold beer and a panoramic view of Addis – this is the place. The bar staff are quick and friendly and they have a good bar/hot snack menu. The Balcony is sometimes used for wedding receptions, but you can still go out for some pictures and a look. They also have CNN on the TV in the bar just inside. Despite all this – do not eat at their restaurant downstairs! It’s the 2nd worst restaurant in Ethiopia! Really really bad!
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Club Illusion: Club Illusion - Total Washout!
This place should be renamed "Club Delusion", or "delusione", it was a total disappointment. I picked out from "reviews" online that said the place was heaving on a weekend. We arrived quite early at 11pm on a Saturday night (first Saturday of the month, when people normally should have more cash), paid the 50birr entrance each, and found the place empty. We ordered two St George beers which were an outrageous 80 birr each, more than 4 times what you pay in a 3star hotel, the justification being that "this is the best club in Addis!", and we asked when everyone arrived. The answer was that at midnight there would be 600 or 700 people there. By 12.30 there were 8 other people. Another overpriced beer, and we were told everyone arrives at 1am... By 1.30 about 6 other people had arrived, but 2 of the first lot had left... so that made it... oh about 10 people - "yes everyone arrives at 2am"... by almost 2am we realized that basically no-one goes to club illusion on a Saturday, there was no queue forming outside of people clammering to get in, in fact the streets around were dead, apart from 3 or so taxis which then of course rip you off for the fare home as you are stuck there and have no other option but to pay. I wonder if there is any nightlife in Addis, if there is, it certainly doesn't happen at this place, who have obviously priced themselves out of the local market.
Summary of an Saturday evening out at club delusion, sorry, illusion - you basically pay a total of 600 birr to get a taxi across town to drink two beers in an empty room listening to slow boring music. Take my advice... don't bother.
Dress Code: not enough people inside to judge...
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Habesha Cultural Restaurant: musical cultural show with dinner buffet
The 2000 habesha cultural restaurant is opened with aim of entertaining its beloved guests and promoting Ethiopian culture. The interior decoration is nothing, but Ethiopian historical background and life style, Situated in one of the new quarters of Addis Ababa, bole medhanialem, near Atlas hotel adjacent to Bilo’s pastry. 2000 habesha cultural restaurant its adored guests by serving an extensive range of culture cuisine and presenting a variety of tribal songs and dances from different nations and nationalities of the country.
Dress Code: casual..... its good show for local people and also for tourists interested in Ethiopian music and dance...good show
food and drinks are not cheap for Ethiopian relations..but good quality..including the buffet..in good taste for Western and for Ethiopian tastes
rich choice for drinks and food
sometimes can be a bit crowded
Club Illusion: Beware of some nightclubs
My friend and I have been going to different clubs in Addis for these past few weeks. Most of them are pretty good; some have good dancing floors, great sound systems, and spacious seating places. I would nonetheless like to talk about one club in particular.
We went to Club Illusion because of our friend's recommendation. After dancing for a while, we sat on the two seats near the bar. In just 5 seconds an Ethiopian guy and his friends surrounded us and constantly touched us, even after we told them to not do so. The Ethiopian guy then pushed me from my seat, threw me to the floor, shoved my friend to my direction, and threw a glass of alcohol on our faces.
What is worse was that the security did nothing. We talked to a nearby bouncer about this incident. At one point, he told us to not create a ruckus and kicked us out of the club, although he witnessed the whole incident. We too tried talking to the security outside. When the guy walked out and we pointed at his direction, the security people laughed and let him go.
I have never been humiliated and discriminated against in my life. Coming to Addis, I get to understand that faranji-calling is a usual affair that you have to withstand daily. Yet only after I experienced this do I realize that it's a whole lot more than that. The security flat out refused to help us; they constantly stated that they did not speak English and they did not witness this affair, even though it was obvious that the Ethiopian guy tried to hit us once again when he walked out of the club.
Bottom-line: It is recommended that foreigners, especially female foreigners, do not go to clubs and bars alone. While some security are reliable and would immediately react should they sense disturbance, some just stand there to be there.
Dress Code: As long as you can pay the entrance fee, you are good to go.
Red curtains hanging outside the door: Addis Ababa
Loud music is heard from a shanty area between Haile Gebreselassie road, Bole road and Meskel Square. Most of the houses are dilapidated with flat corrugated roof. You don't expect to find bars here. Maybe you walk by without take notice of this place. But there are some small clubs there. Some tourist are invited (or fooled) into this area by local guys to see "traditional dance". They want you to sit down and drink beers and see the girls. Those bars may have a red curtain hanging outside the door.
- Beer Tasting
Memo Club, Silver Bullet, My bar, Concorde: Bars and nightclubs in Addis
The nightlife in Addis Ababa is good in the weekends. Many places are found along Bole road (also called Africa road). There are clubs, bars, habesha shows (traditional dances), conserts. They play loud, so just follow the music.
Other bars and clubs in Addis are scattered around the city like Memo Club, Silver Bullet bar, My bar, Concorde, Dome Club, Illusion, Divine, Temtation, Indigo, Utopia, the Cave and Karamara. Some places are disreputable red light places, so it's best to ask a taxi driver first. A taxi costs between 30-50 birr within the Bole road to the centre of the city.
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Christmas-Light Bars: Tiny Shops Called Bars
Mostly can be found in poor areas like Meskel Flower Road and off Debre Zeit. These are small ‘kiosks’ or shops turned into bars. Each of these bars wont take more than 5 customers. The door is always shut, so if anybody smokes there, you need to go out every minute because there is no window or any kind of ventilation. Inside the bar, there is the owner, and one or two waitresses. You can buy a drink for the waitress and she will stay with you, but these bars are often visited by the locals who know the waitresses. The cost of a beer is only 10 bir (1$). One thing more, the music here is too high and only the locals can cope with it.
Dress Code: No dress code at all.
The Dome Nightclub: It's Worth a Visit
The Dome nightclub is attached to Concorde hotel. Residents of the hotel are allowed free of charge but you must mention it to the security guy. It starts at 9.30 with the traditional dance. It’s the same band which performs every night but it’s very good. From 9.30 to almost 11 o’clock, where the traditional dance takes place, most of the locals come with their foreign guests and families. It’s after 11 o’clock that the stage is filled with butterflies. Their target is foreign businessmen and tourists. They charge 100$ and more. A bottle of St. George is 20 bir (2$). Sometimes, they allow taking photos but video is prohibited. The traditional dance is very good and it’s worth a visit.
Dress Code: There are no special dress requirements here. I saw some of the foreigners wearing Jeans.
Habesha restaurant: Traditional music and dancing
Mira Band with dancers play traditional music - Habesha cultural show. I don't know the name of the place or the street. But I remember it on the map. To find it, start Google Earth and enter the coordinates: 8°59'41.13"N 38°46'41.84"E.
Look at one of the video's to see more...
- Arts and Culture
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Satelitte Cafe: Live Music in a Plane
On Bole Road, by the airport, you will see a plane emerging from the building into the street. Inside is a food place (see other tip), but a small bar is inside that hosts weekend live music. It was not the best (local violin and sax), but may be of interest to you.
Lots of nice local people willing to chat with travelling folk.
Mask Bar: Theme bar in Addis
Small bar off Bole Road.
Decent Western music. Gets very busy on Friday and Saturday, less so the rest of the week. The theme is 'masks' ranging from tribal wooden masks, to comedy Eddie Murphy rubber heads.
Bailamos: Salsa Dancing in Addis
This is a fun and lively salsa club. I was not expecting much from a salsa club in Ethiopia, but the decor was nice and the music was great. The dance floor was dominated by a few patrons, but the place is authentic and good for people watching.
Dress Code: It wasn't clear, but most people were at least a little dressy
If you like local noisy music or the US "Rapy" (rapid??) music Piaza - street by Taitu Hotel buzzes with life and noise. It is great place to people-watch and meet ladies and dance in the many bars. This goes on late into the night. It is the place to go if local festival days etc..
Certainly it is more genuine and not contrived and expensive as in Bole Road area.
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