Top 3 Best Bars off the Beaten Path in Addis Ababa

Most people agree that Addis Ababa has some of the best nightlife in Africa, if not the world. When visiting, or living in the country for a short while, the tested, tried and true spots will never disappoint on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. The owners of Addis Ababa’s well-established bars, clubs and lounges like Black Rose, Flirt, Jolly, The Living Room, Illusion, Office Bar and Gas Light make sure that the music is always great, the drinks are always flowing and that the crowd is guaranteed to have a good time.

But what if you’ve lived in the city for years (or your entire life), and want a change of pace say on a Tuesday night? What if you have a very important Friday meeting that you prepared for all week, and just want a happy hour cocktail or a quick nightcap on Thursday night? What if you’re just a curious or adventurous person always on the look out for something new? If you fit the bill, you might want to check out these 3 lesser known about spots in town. Each one has its own unique identity and provides its clientele with something distinct that’s not found anywhere else in the city.

Haile’s Mojito Bar

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Haile, the namesake and owner of the bar, turned his passion for making a perfect mojito into a thriving 2 bar chain serving, in my opinion, Addis Ababa’s best mojito. He is one of the few bartenders in town (and possibly the only bartender/owner) who has a lot of passion and intellectual curiosity about his drinks and it definitely shows in the taste. It doesn’t hurt that his second bar, located across from Shalla Park, has a very beautiful and rustic feel, with lots of wooden furniture, earth toned painted walls, a nice patio and beautiful back bar display. And the best part about visiting is that Haile is there every day and will likely be the one to make your drink of choice.

Effoi Red 2nd floor

The Effoi brand is known all over Addis as a comfortable and cool place to enjoy a great pizza or sandwich with

Effoi-Rednewfriends and family. But what many people don’t realize (myself included until about a year ago) is that several nights a week, Effoi’s Chechnya location’s 2nd floor has a party brewing that might take you into the wee hours of the morning. As the night goes on, the music picks up and the regulars start ordering the Effoi famous aperitif (Ethiopia’s original cocktail made from 5 local spirits, a grapefruit twist and a couple other surprises). The space fits about 30 people comfortably and usually has a good mix of very friendly Ethiopians, diaspora, and ex-pats. If you’re hungry and near Chechnya on any evening, it’s worth taking your pizza up to the second floor. Worst case, you and your friends or date will share a meal in a cool place with a cool ambience. Best case, you stumble into a party where you’ve made 30 new friends by the end of the night.

Homey Bar

Ahhhh Homey Bar….The first thing I have to say about Homey is that it hands down has the best whiskey prices in Addis Ababa. It’s the only place you can get a double shot of Johnnie Walker Double Black for 120 birr (that’s less

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than $6!!!). That said, this is not your average grocery. In fact, it’s not a grocery at all. It’s a whiskey themed speakeasy serving everyone from Addis Ababa’s middle class to it’s aristocracy alike. The concept is very simple: build a clean, cozy traditional venue with extremely affordable drinks and food, provide impeccable service and play Ethiopian tunes from the past and present and you have a packed house every night that is happy to spend a lot of their money. Oh and they do. Homey bar is actually a top seller of high end whiskeys in Ethiopia and being in a space that fits only 25 comfortably, that’s a very impressive feat.

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