It is a well-known fact that Kampala is East Africa’s party hub. Kenyans, Rwandese, Tanzanians, and even South Africans can attest to this.
I have personally talked to many people who have traveled to various countries for many years and they all say they have not had fun anywhere else as they have in Kampala.
At Parties and Events, we are all about good times and definitely, partying. That is because, on many occasions, clients for whom we plan weddings are in their youth and love to have a good time: talk about bachelor (ette) parties, during the wedding, and even the after-party.
So it is imperative that we give you a list of some of Kampala’s best nightclubs and bars right now. Whether you are looking for a club to hang out with friends or where to host your wedding Afterparty, this list of Kampala’s best nightclubs and bars is here to give you a head start.
1. Vault Lounge and Restaurant
The list of Uganda’s best nightclubs and bars is topped by this relatively new bar located along the notorious Bandali rise in Bugolobi. As someone who has resided in Bugolobi for over ten years now, it is interesting to see how this uptown area has become a hub for Uganda’s classiest bars or nightclubs. Initially, the most happening towns used to be in Kampala’s suburbs like Kabalagala, Kansanga, and others but over the last 5 years, bars have shifted to the most prestigious residential areas in Kampala. These are basically Bugolobi and Kololo.
Come to think about it: it actually makes a lot of sense: put the business where the best market is. Most of Kampala’s elite working populations with deep pockets reside in these areas. And boy oh boy, do these fellas love partying. So it makes sense to establish the bar and nightclub business right at their doorstep.
What makes Vault bar the best bar/nightclub in Kampala, Uganda?
Many people have reasons why they go to the same club day after, weekend after weekend, and month after month: for me, and many of the bar mongers I have talked to, its the kind of crowds they find at these bars that keeps them going back over and over again.
You see, Vault is one of the most expensive – but busiest – clubs in Kampala, and throughout Uganda in general but somehow, Kampala’s elite still flock it. With local beers going for Ush.9,000 and a regular bottle of whiskey like Jameson at Ush.200,000, it’s clear to see that this isn’t a bar every Tom, Dick, and Harry would simply walk into: which is precisely why the elites prefer it.
On a crowded night, some bars exhibit a bad odor – which is understandable because people are very many and they are dancing and moving around. So what happens? They sweat and the atmosphere ends up having a bad stench. However, that’s not the case with Vault. Surprisingly, no matter how full the club is, you will never smell any sweat-ish odor.
That aside, let’s talk about the crowd that you can expect to find at Vault. It’s the city’s elites; the lawyers, smarties, jaw-dropping gorgeous ladies, and of course, the classiest of the gents in the region.
Favorites Nights at Vault
I can’t say I party every single day but since I reside in Bugolobi, I am forced to pass by these bars every other day just for an after-work throat soothing drink. So if you are wondering which day you would have a good time at Vault, I’d say the weekends are the busiest. Right from Thursday to Sunday although they are open every single day.
Our second-best bar and nightclub in Uganda is Thrones. Now, before Vault came into the picture, Thrones was the king of Kampala. In fact, Thrones was the elites’ bar, and there you were sure to find Kampala’s creme de la creme. Although some have changed positions for their competitors, many still prefer it over Vault and other bars in their category.
Like its rival, Thrones is also located in Bugolobi along the infamous Bandali rise which hosts over 10 bars.
Although its glorious times seem to be behind it (which happens with bars everywhere – except Guvnor), Thrones still pulls in their usual clientele type: corporate class like lawyers, bankers, and established business moguls. This urban type likes a specific type of music that you only find in bars like Vault, Jack & Drew, and itself. It’s also these crowds that have enough money to buy expensive whiskeys by the bottle throughout the night. In fact, in these clubs, filling your table with bottles of beer is rather an embarrassment: the norm is that every table should have a bottle of whiskey, Tequila, scotch, wine, or all of them.
Favorite nights at Thrones
Weekdays are really lazy at Thrones but it’s always a full house on weekends. That is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Although weekdays don’t have huge crowds at Thrones, some themed weekdays like Wednesday and Thursday are always a blast since they are hosted by influencers. For example; Wednesday hosted by Celine and Sharon Julie along DJ Kassbaby and other DJs is dubbed “Teq Wednesday” whereas Thursday hosted by DJ Alza & Fem DJ among others is dubbed “Above 18 Thursdays.”
3. Drew & Jacs Bar And Restaurant
It is during the COVID-19 national total lockdown that saw many businesses close and die out that Drew & Jacs bloomed. It had always pulled crowds but this was exceptional. They pulled in more and more crowds and become more popular. Yes, Thrones, Vault, and a few other bars with “connections” stayed open but once in a while, the police raids were so ruthless that these well “connected” bars had to close except for one: Drew & Jacs.
There was a lot of speculation as to why Drew & Jacs was never “raided” by police with some speculating it belongs to the First son. With such rumors swirling around, many people who couldn’t stay home despite the total lockdown found Drew & Jacs to be their safe haven.
Drew & Jacs is situated in Forest mall, in Lugogo, along the Kampala – Jinja highway.
Drew and Jacs mostly “happens” on weekends with Sunday being one of the busiest days of the week. However, they are open every single day since the place doubles as a restaurant and pastry shop during the day.
Drew & Jacs crowd is mostly a mixed crowd and not specific like the one at Vault.
Illusion is specifically and dance and nightclub located at Acacia mall, Kampala. The club boasts of offering Kampala’s most exclusive nightlife experience.
And how exclusive are they? first, they charge an entrance fee of USh.25,000, and their drinks are priced more expensively than any other nightclub on this list.
Because Illusion is specifically a nightclub, they are open for only two days a week: Friday and Saturday.
4. The Alchemist
Situated on Bandali rise, in Bugolobi, Alchemist pulls a crowd that has proven to be loyal over the years. Despite the competition from the best nightclub/bar in Kampala, Vault, and its contender Thrones, Alchemist still manages to gather a decent crowd of urban elites all throughout the weekend. Obviously, they no longer get big crowds (which is a good thing for people who prefer exclusivity over crowds) as they used to during their golden days but they do get good numbers.
It is also worth mentioning that before Vault and Thrones came into existence, Alchemist was already serving and to date, they have managed to maintain their glow and elegance, which is adorable.
The crowd that goes to Vault and Thrones is the same kind of crowd that goes to Alchemist.
The Alchemist’s best night (and day) is Sunday dubbed “Ciroc Brunch ” (begins at 10 am) and it brings in the most exclusive and uptown gents and ladies around Kampala. Since Alchemist brands itself as a Kitchen and bar, they put a lot of effort into preparing succulent meals that I’m certain will leave your taste glands tingling.
5. La Paroni’s
Situated at Garden city rooftop, La Paroni’s is one of those bars you should visit and experience yourself. Initially, La Paroni’s was situated at Parliamentary avenue but after the terrorist-associated explosions happened opposite the bar, they shifted to Garden city’s rooftop. Since then, La Paroni’s seems to be unstoppable.
La Paroni’s is most famous for their Sunday-themed “Chop Life Sundays” that is hosted by Kampala socialite Sheila Gashumba as well as Friday nights dubbed Best Of Kampala.
A few days ago, La Paroni’s hosted the famous South African DJs, Major League DJz. They definitely lit the place and left the overcrowded audience raving.
6. Cask Lounge & restaurant
Cask Lounge is located in Kololo along John Babiiha Avenue. If you have been partying for some time, you definitely know that Kololo, especially John Babiiha avenue is the party central of Kampala. For over 10 years now, this stretch has housed more bars than any other street in Kampala: Fame, Casablanca, H20, Atmosphere, Bubbles O’Learys, Kush lounge, Rider’s lounge, and about 10 more bars are lined along this one stretch. However, other streets also have many bars as Kololo is the epicenter of bar business establishment. But of late, Bugolobi seems to be taking the lead.
Cask’s most sought-after night is Tuesday which they named “Tequila Tuesday” where tequila bottles are sold at a discount hence attracting a crowd of ladies and hence men. However, their weekends are also busy and the place is fun to hang around as well.