Lagos is no longer Nigeria’s capital but it remains the country’s nightlife capital as well as one of Africa’s largest and fastest-growing cities. In fact, many workers in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja make regular weekend treks to enjoy the social spirit lacking in their own city. As a visitor to Lagos, you can experience some of this spirit by enjoying live music, dancing until dawn or paying tribute to a local legend at one of the city’s many hot spots.
Several restaurants in Lagos offer late hours and entertainment. Piccolo Mondo (piccolomondorestaurant.com), a restaurant on Victoria Island that serves largely Italian-style dishes along with grilled kebabs, turns into a dance club most nights of the week. Themes vary by night but can include dance music, 80s and 90s pop music and karaoke. If you like your nightlife with a view, you can venture to De Marquee (demarquee.com) on top of Victoria Island’s major shopping mall, Mega Plaza. Food includes standards familiar to the Western palate with some local favorites tossed in, such as peppered snails, and you can shift to a lively bar after dining, open until late most nights of the week.
Nite Shift at the Coliseum (niteshiftcoliseumlagos.com), located in the outer Ikeja area of Lagos, provides one of the larger dance floors in the area and is frequented by both natives and visitors. It regularly hosts live music and DJs as well as special holiday events. If you would like to try your hand at salsa dancing, visit Casa del Habano (no website; Lagoon Plaza, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island). While unassuming on the outside, this hot spot attracts scores of dancers on the weekend and also sells fine brandies and cigars. Nimbus (no website; Maitama Sule Street, Ikoyi) is part of an art gallery and offers a slightly more highbrow nightlife experience. It usually hosts live music on the weekends.
No sampling of Lagos’ nightlife would be complete without a visit to the New Afrika Shrine (no website; 1 Nerdc Road, Agindigbi, Ikeja, Nigeria 23401). The original Afrika Shrine in the 1970s was the heart of Afrobeat pioneer and political activist Fela Kuti. The original Shrine was destroyed in a government attack, and Fela died of AIDS complication in the 1990s, but his son Femi Kuti built the New Shrine to continue his father’s spirit. The large shed regularly hosts live music events, and Femi Kuti himself often performs on weekends when he is in town.
Although Lagos generally is safe compared with some of Nigeria’s more unstable areas, you still should be cautious when exploring its nightlife. Street crime in Lagos, including muggings and car-jackings, is not uncommon after dark, according to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Travelers should not venture out alone or into unknown areas and deserted side streets. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or flashing large amounts of money when out in Lagos. Use your rental car to travel or have your hotel hire you a car to reach your destination, as public transportation can be somewhat dangerous. If you see what looks to be a large political demonstration forming on the streets, head to another area. Gay and lesbian travelers need to be especially careful with public displays of affection, as homosexuality remains illegal in Nigeria.
– Travel Tips