There's a resurgence in live music in the capital. Here are the best places to find live music
Formerly Bassline Jazz Club, +233 (named after the Ghanaian dialling code) is an intelligently designed club that has live bands six days a week. Inside, there are two floors. The band play on a small stage downstairs, but can also be seen from the U-shaped upstairs. There’s ample seating outside too, which looks onto a glass wall behind which the band play. And external speakers mean its almost as loud outside as in. Each section has its own bar with attentive servers. The food – burgers, hotdogs, chicken, chips, kebabs and pork chops – is mostly off the grill. The music varies between highlife, blues, jazz (although rarely hip hop) and anything else good. There’s only an entrance charge (usually GH¢10) when the band merits it. It’s a hugely popular venue, and rightly so. Probably the best place in Accra to see live music at the moment.
This popular restaurant often has live bands, including highlife musicians. The food’s good, but the music’s better. Many sets start off with a mixture of reggae, and other (random) hits before returning with a highlife set that gets everyone up and dancing. The musicianship is usually excellent.
We’ll still keep recommending this bar as it remains one of the most happening bars in Accra right now, thanks to its relaxed, music-forward approach to the good things in life: alcohol, fried food and really great music. It’s a tiny space that tumbles out onto the street when things really kick off late on a Friday or Saturday. Album covers and black-and-white photos of music stars adorn the walls as Ghana’s best music blasts out (often jaw-dropping highlife music acts live on the terrace; check out the Facebook page and Twitter account for details – highlife legend Ebo Taylor has even played here). Even the cocktails use great ingredients not found anywhere else: the Republica is a caipirihna made from traditional palm wine. On a sunny day (and yes, it’s always sunny), try one of their ‘Wild Beers’: the Beer Sap has bissap concentrate added to it. Fittingly, the food is good beer fodder too – the cassava chips are a fabulous drinking accompaniment, while the Fire Go Burn You pepper soup and Ye Ye Goat curry are superb value for something this tasty.
Fresh and bold Mediterranean flavours reign at this friendly Italian eatery. It’s recently been expanded, and diners have a choice between an indoor restaurant area, outdoor patio, or lounging on the banquettes in the bar area. Patrons devour Italian staples packed with triumphant combinations of smoky black olives, rich cheese, tender artichokes, full-bodied passatas and cured meats. Mains include tagliata with parmesan and rucola (GH¢45), but most people opt for the pizzas (GH¢28 on average), which are superb – giant bubbling disks liberally topped. For a loaded treat, the Quattro Stagioni has mushrooms and artichokes aplenty, and the piquant Diavolo is a simple pleasure of salami drizzled with chili oil. Those heroic enough to vanquish a whole pizza can revive with a espresso in stylish white cups.
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.
Even with the nearby purple bulk of Citizen Kofi luring many city-centre pleasure-seekers, lively Oxford Street venue Monsoon still succeeds in drawing the crowds. It’s a popular choice for the expat community, and its broad street-facing terrace remains a hive of activity at weekends. It’s not the cheapest place in town, but when you see the icon-heavy interior design, the impressively stocked bar and the cut of the clientele, you’ll understand why. DJs play Friday and Saturday night. With three restaurants on site (including a teppanyaki kitchen and a sushi outlet), there’s good food to be had too.