Where to go for cocktails in Accra
TIme Out's guide to the best bars, clubs and hotel bars slinging cocktails in the Ghanaian capital
A great cocktail can (finally) be found in Accra at a new generation of bars spending serious time training the next great mixologist...
The cocktail resurgence in London and New York has truly arrived in Accra, smartly dressed, with a little black book of mixes and silver shaker. Before this year, we'd never seen barman taste a drink in a straw before serving it, let alone pander to requests for a smoky martini and serve a perfect example. We even commissioned our own cocktail from the Lexington. Next time ask for the 'Time Out Accra!
It is the Lexington, alongside Firefly and Santoku at the forefront of the cocktail revolution in Accra. And a bar that takes its time over an old fashioned and a bloody mary is one that also invests time on the menu, design and vibe. It's no surprise these, along with Republik (which has some brilliant cocktails mixed from palm wine - a local brew) are the most exciting in Accra right now. Combine that with a serious and flexible DJ, live music, good and friendly service and some moreish bars snacks (we recommend the sliders at The Lexington and the cassava chips at Republik), you have one seriously fun, and decadent, night out.
It's not all about the chi-chi cocktails. A cold Star or Club in a roadside bar like Lizzies can offer the best insight into nightlife in Accra. Other favourite drinking establishments include Bella Roma, Ryan's Irish Bar and Monsoon.
Categorising bars in Accra, however, is no easy task. Many of the establishments below also offer food, so the ones we've listed here are the best places in the city where you can order a beer or cocktail without feeling obliged to order a meal.
Accra's best cocktail bars...
- Rated as: 4/5
- Critics choice
Industrial chic has arrived in Accra. As if plucked from the streets of Manhattan, this confident nightspot has effortlessly slid to the forefront of the city’s social scene; its whitewashed brickwork, dim lighting and edgy beats attracting a preened and international crowd. A lit backbar glows with premium blends, and cocktail aficionados, spirit lovers and wine drinkers alike pull up stools to confer with chatty staff sporting black shirts, braces and the odd hat set to a jaunty angle. Food spans light nibbles and three-course meals, with a silver chainmail curtain gesturing a divide between drinkers and diners.
- 11th Lane, Embassy Road
Rhapsody’s close to both the airport and surrounding hotels, ensuring the South African chain gets a steady supply of expats and moneyed locals to sample its extensive drink and cigar selection. There are two halves to the interior – an informal lounge, complete with panel-lit horseshoe bar and football on widescreen TVs, and a white- tableclothed restaurant with padded wall fabrics. Things crank up a notch on Fridays and Saturdays when DJs spin tunes: expect sizeable crowds, and be aware that you’ll have to pay if you arrive post-11pm. This is a very popular place for business meetings. It’s part of an established South African/Lebanese chain, so has the stylised decor and contemporary trimmings that would suggest, from flat screen sport to design-led bar stools. The menu offers an array of salads, burgers, steaks, snack platters and the like. There is a separate dining area. One great option is Rhapsody’s Chicken Espetada which is deboned chicken thighs skewered with spicy jalapenos and a sweet-chilli sauce.
- Shops 66-68, Accra Mall, Spintex Road
- Critics choice
Music is the defining factor at this fairly new little bar that has seen highlife legend Ebo Taylor pass through its doors. Album covers and black and white photos of music stars adorn the walls and Ghana’s best music plays out – live too on the terrace; check out the Facebook page and Twitter account for details. But the food is making waves as well – the cassava chips are a fabulous accompaniment for a caipirihna made from traditional palm wine, and the Fire Go Burn You pepper soup and Ye Ye Goat soup for GH¢18 is superb value for something this tasty. One of the most happening bars in Accra right now.
- 3rd Lane, off Oxford Street
- Price band: 3/4
- Critics choice
Santoku is the best restaurant in Ghana right now. There are other pretenders to the throne opening up soon, but the blend of incredible food, effortless service, and truly well-designed surroundings make this a cut above the rest. Firstly, the food. Think Nobu, and you’re just about there. In fact the team from Nobu London helped head chef Mohammed Ayres with the menu, and the results are excellent. Japanese chef Daisuke Yoshizaki creates beautiful looking plates of food, that deliver on the taste front too. Santoku’s signature dish is pan fried scallops with foie gras and orange tobiko – a stunning plate filled with the decadent flavour of the ingredients, yet fresh and light. The prawn tempura was light, allowing the prawn flavours to come through and the tuna and salmon sashimi with ginger, garlic and hot olive oil that just lightly cooked parts of the sashimi deepened the depth of flavour. Add in expertly mixed cocktails, design by Hubert de Givenchy (it’s all about the details), a seductive terrace and a bar that mixes some of the best cocktails in Accra (including the only place you can get sake), and it’s a heady and hedonistic combination. There’s also a private dining room that seats 18. ‘Santoku’ means innovation, and for Ghana, this restaurant really is.
- Ground Floor, Azure, Villagio Vista, Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Near African Regent