Feeling the rhythm: Accra’s top 10 spots for a night out

West Africans have music in their blood, so if you’re planning a night out in Accra, you don’t have to decide between conversations over a drink or dancing the night away. As the night grows older, every bar and lounge in the city can turn into a club. From stylish skyscraper rooftops to bustling street scenes, the capital of Ghana has it all.

Chill on chairs and tables created out of wooden pallets at Kona © Elio Stamm / Lonely Plane

Toast over a local tipple at Kona

Kona Cafe & Grill (facebook.com/Kona-Cafe-Grill) is a good place to try local drinks, such as palm wine or asaana, which is made from caramelised corn. The wood pallet furniture is spread out all over the garden area and first floor bar. Kona is a nice place to relax during sunset, but if you stop by later in the night, the bar turns into a vibrant party spot flooded with loud music and energetic young Ghanaians.

Time-travel back to the ’70s at Clear Spice

It’s just a restaurant and office during the week, but come Friday night, Clear Spice (between Presidential Dr and Sunyani Av, behind Flagstaff House) transforms into a disco straight out of the 1970s. It might only be a small dance floor with a disco ball, but this club is one of few places in Accra playing funk and soul music from back in the day.  The crowd, Ghanaians in their 30s and 40s, dances all night in a relaxed trance.

Sweet Cola & Black Soul play on stage at +233 © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Catch a live performance at +233

Hosting live local music under the stars almost every evening (except for a quiet night on Mondays) is the simple but successful idea behind +233 Jazz Bar & Grill. Although open-air stages are common in Accra, not many offer such refined lightning and speaker systems as what’s at +233. Whether the musicians play their own repertoire or covers ranging from R&B to soul and obviously jazz, the crowd is always wowed with a top-quality music experience. The kitchen is open until late, so many enjoy the music while biting into a club sandwich or steak.

Discover a slice of Europe at Plotseven

Its high ceiling is reminiscent of an old factory, but Plotseven (plotseven.com) is one of the newest and most exclusive lounges and nightclubs in Accra. The Italian owners successfully brought some European chic to town, with slick interior design, impressive lighting and a range of fancy drinks, from well-mixed cocktails to sinfully expensive champagnes. Well-dressed Ghanaian youth and expats alike get going to electronic music and local dance hits.

Choose one of three bars at Rockstone’s Office: Django Bar, Grand Papazz or the newly opened AfTaWeRk on the rooftop © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Meet the father of hiplife at Rockstone’s Office

Internationally known rapper Reggie Rockstone, who grew up in Accra, invented a musical style called hiplife, a Ghanaian version of hip hop. Drop by Rockstone’s Office (facebook.com/Rockstones-OfficeGrand-Papazz), his three-in-one space consisting of Django Bar, Grand Papazz Club and the recently opened rooftop lounge AfTaWeRk. White leather sofas create a casual but elegant backdrop for funky tunes, proving that the industrious music legend has a flair for design too. You might even spot the sociable Rockstone himself, as he’s often there offering rounds to his guests.

Take your pick of fun at Champs

Situated inside the Paloma Hotel complex, Champs Sports Bar & Grill is more than the name suggests. You can time your visit to watch a Champions League match on one of the many HD projectors and experience just how loudly and passionately Ghanaians support their team, but if you’re not much of a sports fan, stop by for weekly quiz, pool, karaoke and movie nights in the spacious, air-conditioned interior, as well as regular parties on Saturdays.

Republic has an interesting interior, but you’ll find the action plays outside © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Feel the street vibes at Republic

Republic Bar & Grill is a long-time favourite among expats and young, creative Ghanaians. The small interior, with its red-painted walls full of vintage knick-knacks, is an underused gem because most patrons sit outside on the narrow street. It’s the perfect place to chill out, but potent drinks mixed with local spirits and the beats from live gigs, DJs and karaoke sessions mean you won’t be sitting still for long.

Get cultured at Alliance Française

If you want to see a famous African band in concert, a dance performance or a similar cultural event, check Alliance Française’s programme first. This is the cultural arm of the embassy of La Grande Nation, but the entertainment lineup extends far beyond French-speaking Africa. The events are well attended, and the amphitheatre is far enough away from the restaurant area of the compound to not disturb those eating some of the best pizzas in town.

Drink and dine with a view at SkyBar25 © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Climb to the top of Accra at SkyBar25

The Alto Tower is West Africa’s tallest building, and it stands out in Accra’s skyline thanks to its yellow facade and extravagant shape as much as to its sheer size. The rooftop is home to SkyBar25 (skybar25.com), a restaurant, bar and lounge featuring a blue-lit bar and comfortable seats. The bar is usually members-only and is sometimes closed for private events, but try your luck by calling the number listed on the website for a reservation.

Swing your hips at Afrikiko

More of a complex than a single venue, Afrikiko Leisure Center (at the junction of Liberation Rd and Presidential Dr, opposite Embassy of France) is a spacious park-like zone with several restaurants serving Spanish, Thai and African delicacies, as well as small kebab stalls and a bar. Enjoy Accra’s tropical nights at one of the many outdoor tables. If you have rhythm in your veins, dance the night away twice a week when the big stage turns into a space for salsa and kizomba, a sensual dance that mixes traditional Angolan and Cape Verdean elements.

Source: LonelyPlanet.com