Dar es Salaam Nightlife

Dar es Salaam’s nightlife scene isn’t huge, but it has a friendly, raw energy that makes it well worth exploring. The scene is more down-to-earth than sophisticated with big screen sports common even in upscale bars. Men should be warned that the attention they receive from single women might not be entirely un-mercenary. Still, Dar by night can be a lot of fun, particularly if you head to the one of the venues playing Taarab, a fast-paced Swahili music style that blends Tanzania’s tribal music with Arab influences. While crime isn’t particularly high in the city, it’s best to travel by taxi at night.

Bars in Dar es Salaam

Garden Bistro

As the name suggests, Garden Bistro is also a restaurant, which comes in handy as the drinks tend to flow until late. But it is a nightclub too, with drinkers kept going by the odd skewer of mishkaki or slabs of barbecued meat. Although door policy means men must be wearing more than shorts to enter, the bistro is an otherwise unstuffy and pleasant place to lose an evening, down the far end of the Msasani Peninsula.

Haile Selasie, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Level 8

On the eighth floor of the Hyatt Regency Kilimanjaro Hotel, this roof terrace bar is arguably Dar es Salaam’s most elegant. With excellent views across central Dar and the harbour, Level 8 also has live music on most nights. An eclectic crowd of well-heeled locals and expats from all over the world gather here, drinking seabreezes and cold beer as the sun goes down.

Kivukoni Street, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone: (0764) 701 234.
The Slipway

The Slipway is perhaps the best place in Dar to watch the sun go down. Its location on Msasani’s western coast means it’s one of the few places where the sun sets over the water. A small shopping complex on the quayside by day, it has an attractive cluster of bars and restaurants that make it equally popular in the evening. The Waterfront is also a popular spot for dusk drinks, as is the Slipway Pub nearby. Altogether, the area is one of the calmer, easier places to spend the sundown in the city.

Yacht Club Road, Msasani Peninsula, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone: (022) 260 0893.

Clubs in Dar es Salaam

Club Bilicanas

Still Dar es Salaam’s most popular nightclub, Club Bilicanas is packed Thursday to Saturday and busy on most other nights too. The music policy is charmingly eclectic (expect anything from Congolese dance music to the latest in Euro cheese), with live music on some nights. Many locals dress up to the nines to hit the glass panelled dancefloor, but Bilicanas is brash, unpretentious and fun.

Indira Gandhi Street, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Live Music in Dar es Salaam

Mango Garden

Those after a Saturday night shake can do much worse than Dar’s Mango Garden with bands covering a wide variety of the city’s most popular musical styles. Key sounds to look out for are Bongo Flava, a local spin on current US R&B, and Mchiriku, an extremely fast-paced but tuneful street style that’s slightly more raw and down-to-earth.

Mafeke Street, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Travertine Hotel

The Travertine’s Sunday night shows are one of the best places to hear live music in Dar es Salaam. With bands playing Taarab music (a heady mix of frenetic percussion and elaborate, tuneful vocals), the place gets packed with a largely local crowd. Patrons here take their music seriously enough, but also come to dance until they drop.

Mpiji Street, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Opera and Theatre in Dar es Salaam

The Little Theatre

The Little Theatre is actually Dar es Salaam's only playhouse and its actors are part of a dedicated amateur company that has performed in English since 1947. The theatre, located in Oyster Bay towards Coco Beach, stages regular monthly productions.

Haile Selassie Road, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone: 0748 277 388.
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