Kenyans are party animals. Nairobi is literally Las Vegas in East Africa. It has everything you need. Beautiful people, lots of booze and good music; the recipe for disaster. 2019 has especially seen huge growth in the entertainment industry with new joints opening up every day. Business is good and things are good.
The latest hot joint in Nairobi right now is Fuse, on Kiambu road that opened its doors on Saturday. It is a state-of-the-art entertainment hub.
However, as much as Nairobi is the home of hot lounges, once in a while you come across habits that must be avoided at all costs.
The Alchemist Bar in Westlands has had several clients complain of the staff and security there being racist.
In 2016, allegations were posted on Facebook by one Wamathai who claimed that he and his friends were denied entry into the joint on account of being non-Caucasian.
“At around 11pm six of my friends and I made our way to the Alchemist lounge in Westlands. However, at the entrance, the bouncers informed us that we could not get in without giving a solid reason why... What shocked us even more was that while we were standing at the entrance, other ravers who were white were allowed entrance without any question.
A Twitter claim in 2018 by user @Cynthia_Mbuthia had it that two of her friends were told by bouncers that they couldn’t stand in an area of the club that was reserved for “only Indians and ‘wazungus’”.
Interestingly, she even shared a short clip of the incident to substantiate her claims.
The management of the lounge, which is co-owned by Peng Chen and his girlfriend - former TV anchor - Michelle Morgan responded to both of the claims saying that they are against of all sorts of discrimination and urging anyone that has undergone this in their establishment to approach them.
“Why we prefer whites over blacks”
Earlier this year, a Tweet by J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen justifying racism sent social media into a frenzy. This came after a customer named Monique wondered why racist bias exists in the establishment.
“...they attend to Whites and Indians faster than Africans, which is saddening because we are in Kenya and in 2019 - people - this shouldn’t not be an issue...” she posted on Instagram.
J’s Bar, which has branches in Westlands and Karen then responded with a shocking reply.
“This exists all over Kenya, not just J’s. It’s about tip culture and not racism. All restaurant owners know this and it’s important to state the truth.”
The response was then shortly taken down after eliciting strong backlash. Kenyans on Twitter - especially - couldn’t understand how an institution could try justify racism.
They issued a statement emphasising their stance against discrimination.
Rude Bouncers and staff
J’s was again in the limelight last Friday after an allegation of staff and bouncers mishandling clients.
IG user @faysflow posted the whole ordeal - pictures and videos - of what happened that Friday night.
According to @faysflow the waitress was angry when she asked for her change. The altercation gradually got bigger when she and friends demanded to see CCTV footage to confirm they didn’t get their change back.
The security team allegedly held her in a room for hours from her friends, all this while hurling insults and beating her up.
In 2015, bouncers at the famous 1824 Whisky Bar beat up a client to a pulp. The client, a University of Nairobi comrade, was badly injured and hospitalised.
The club responded to the complaints by settling the hospital bill and firing the accused bouncers.
In 2017, Blend Mombasa road was on spot after a bouncer slapped a woman for vomiting while drunk. The management and then manager, Karl Furaha, were quick to condemn such acts terming them barbaric. Despite withdrawal from work, the manager reported the bouncer for indecent conduct at Makadara police post.
Bouncers of terror
A Kenyan bouncer earns about Sh10,000 to Sh25,000 per month. The salary, however, differs according to the hiring joint. Joints in high end places - Westlands, Kilimani in Nairobi and the sorts - generally pay more.
A recent job advertisement by Club Tribeca announcing the post of bouncer jobs broke down the job as follows.
Job purpose; protect guests, employees and property by always maintain a secure environment always.
There has, however, been questions raised on the training of bouncers. Most clubs just take buff people who are intimidating enough and make them bouncers.
They have little or no training on peacefully settling conflict.
Bouncers are trained to remedy situations through verbal communication rather than physical force.
They are not allowed to use force as they see fit. Legally, bouncers can only use force if it is first used against them. These are the same rights as an ordinary citizen; Right to self-defence.
Bouncers are allowed to issue verbal warnings, check for ID, ask you to leave, break up fights, respond with equal force if necessary, call the police and refuse entry if customer is too intoxicated, doesn’t comply with establishment’s policies or engages in aggressive behaviour.
Bouncers aren’t allowed to hit a person, push or physically throw a person out of the establishment, restrain customers in chokeholds or other techniques.
What if a bouncer assaults me?
Make a written report if the incident while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Take note of dates, times and address of where it happened. Describe the incident, circumstances leading up to the assault and anything that happened afterwards.
You should request and keep copies of any police reports made, take down important contact information of the bouncer and any witnesses.