Get us in your inbox

Search
Firefly bar, Accra, Ghana
© Daniel Neilson

This week in Accra – our top 10 events

The weekend starts on Wednesday in Accra… Check out our pick of the best clubs, shows and events

Written by
Frances Quarcoopome
Advertising
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Ridge

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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Osu

Firefly is a confident nightspot – the industrial chic of its whitewashed brickwork, dim lighting and edgy beats attracts a preened international clientele. A backlit bar glows with premium blends, with cocktail aficionados, spirit lovers and wine drinkers alike pull up stools to confer with chatty staff who sport braces and the odd jauntily angled hat.

Advertising
The Vine Lounge
  • Bars and pubs

The Vine Lounge Accra opened last September in the Best Western Premier Accra hotel in Airport Residential and has been a sensation ever since. The lounge offers a great variety of food, cocktails, and events all based on the most fashionable food concept at the moment: brunch. Walk down into the basement of the Best Western into a fresh, green and modern open space, with snug little corners for more intimate brunches, and larger lounge tables for groups. The brunch menu includes all the classics: waffles, pancakes, pastries, eggs, bacon, sausages and french toast. The lunch and dinner menu is constantly expanding too, with light snacks such as squid, shrimps and salads, as well as a new, more elaborate menu launching very soon. But where Vine really thrives is their extensive list of innovative cocktails, wines and champagnes. The hugely popular weekend V’runch day parties, filled with champagne, prosecco, resume in February 2018. The Vine Lounge also has unique weekly events including Live Jazz Music on Wednesdays and on Thursdays, Craft Cocktail offers lessons based on your favourite spirits and mixers. Fizz Fridays starts the weekend off with premium prosecco. Having started off as simply a brunch spot, Vine Lounge has quickly developed into a place for all times of the day, be it for a morning breakfast, a romantic dinner or a fun filled evening of innovative drinks and music. 

One2One at the Mövenpick Hotel
  • Bars and pubs

This newly refurbished and chic bar has ushered in a new era of sophisticated socialising, and a return to the glamour of the hotel lounge bar.  It reflects the contemporary style and sense of luxury that permeates the Mövenpick hotel itself. The resident mixologists can knock up a mean cocktail and there’s a good range of snacks and light meals.

Advertising
The 6 best bars in Accra right now
  • Bars and pubs

With dozens of bars vying for tipplers’ attention in the Ghanaian capital, it can be difficult knowing where to start when you embark on a night out. Whether you end up at a cocktail bar on the main drag or a side-street dive, there’s great boozy fun to be had here, and that’s why we’ve whittled the hundreds of brilliant bars in Accra down to just six. From a throbbing music bar with live highlife to mixology magic in industrial-chic surrounds, these spots offer some of the best good times imaginable. We recommend stocking up beforehand at one of the best restaurants in Accra, and if it’s views you’re after, go all-out with a drink at one of these terraces.  Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Osu
  • price 2 of 4
While the dim lighting and pumping tunes advertise it as a drinkers’ hangout, Firefly Lounge Bar also has a comprehensive international menu to accompany its premium spirits. A selection of tapas is a tasty and swift re-fuel for barflies, as is the selection of Middle Eastern dips (GH¢18-28), with crisp slices of French bread for ladling fresh hummus, baba ghanoush and labne. Mains include steaks and Spanish classics such as saltimbocca. The fries are the perfect alliance of crisp and fluffy, and the goat’s cheese croquettes are as wonderful as they sound. As a sophisticated nightspot, Firefly is faultless; as a restaurant, it has some real strengths and sophisticated flavours, but the menu could benefit from a couple of tweaks to back up the price tag.
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Osu
  • price 2 of 4
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.
Advertising
Republic Bar
  • Bars and pubs
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 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, for around GH¢12, are superb value for something this tasty.
  • Bars and pubs
  • Accra
The Shisha Lounge is Osu’s newest hotspot, filled well into the night with partygoers attracted by its laidback vibe, outdoor seating, superb DJ roster and some very fine cocktails. It’s a small, but well-designed space with a series of patios, outdoor lounge seating areas, plus an indoor bar and lounge. They turn out great pizzas from the bespoke oven, plus sharing platters. There are, of course, shisha pipes to hire if you’d like to indulge. It’s a classy well-thought out joint that steamed to the top of the Accra VIP list. This is a place that is all about the good times! Open daily from 6pm to very late.
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Cantonments
Kaya meaning ‘home’ in both Japanese and Zulu and 'pure' in Greek, and wellbeing lies at the heart of this multi-experience. Here, we care about the beautiful outdoor bar. Kaya is at its most alluring at night, when the sparkling terrace is illuminated and transformed into one of Accra’s best party venues. The vibe is soulful sounds and jazz. On Fridays it becomes resident to one of Accra’s most renowned DJs, who draws a younger crowd to the very buzzy cocktail bar. The cocktails are unmissable, with hyperactive mixologists using inventive ingredients to create masterpieces.
  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Adabraka and Asylum Down

Loom’s Frances Ademola has a popular gallery that exhibits paintings and sculptures by a good selection of Ghana’s foremost artists, with a smattering of expressive Nigerian pieces. The modest space has been here since 1969, and is bursting at the seams with the work of nearly 100 artists. If Ademola is around, she’s delightful company, chatting exuberantly about artists such as Seth and Serge Clottey and Gabriel Eklou, and happily offering her great knowledge of the Ghanaian art scene, past and present. Loom is regarded as one of Ghana’s premier galleries.

  • Art
  • Accra Central
  • price 0 of 4

Along the seafront near Black Star Square is the Arts Centre. Hawkers attack from all sides as soon as you arrive, but if you’re not exhausted by the scrum you can find carvings, baskets, drums, bags, beads, fabrics, sandals, sculptures, stools, rugs and occasionally antiques. It’s a place to unearth some incredible finds and gifts. The best bet is to head past the hassle which you’ll inevitably encounter at the entrance and make your way towards the back of the complex, where it’s a bit more relaxed. Haggling is expected. There’s also an art gallery, which sells prints and paintings at reasonable prices.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Labadi
  • price 0 of 4

The hugely respected Ghanaian artist Ablade Glover established this renowned arts venue, which has become one of the most important of its kind in Ghana. There are three expansive floors of art displayed in cool marble galleries. Some are by established artists, such as Owusu Ankomah and George Hughes, whose paintings are reminiscent of Jean Michel Basquiat and Willem De Kooning, while others are by new and upcoming artists like Ebenezer Borlabie. Market, rural and urban scenes are interspersed with political satires – and naturally, there are also the shrouded figures and staccatoed crowd scenes by Glover himself. There are collectors’ pieces too: Asafo flags with appliquéd and embroidered symbols; ancient strip-woven Kente cloths by the Akan and Ewe; African masks of the type that inspired Picasso; and intricately carved furniture. Also on show are full-sized coffins in the shapes of crabs, running shoes and eagles. Everything is for sale. There’s a lovely pool out the back. 

  • Art
  • Galleries

Gallery 1957 is one of the most exciting new gallery openings in the last decade. The 140sqm space, named after the year Ghana gained independence, is housed in the beautiful new Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City and has a curatorial focus on contemporary Ghanaian art presenting a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the country’s most significant artists under the creative direction of Nana Oforiatta Ayim. The gallery has evolved from over 15 years of private collecting by Marwan Zakhem, Managing Director of Zakhem, whose projects in Africa include the Kempinski. He said: "I first started collecting contemporary art when I moved to Africa. The work I encountered in Senegal and Ghana had a real aesthetic power to it while reflecting the society of our time. Many of the artists the gallery is working with are increasingly gaining a presence internationally in museums and biennales, but opportunities to reach new audiences at home are limited due to the lack of existing art infrastructure here. There is an abundance of talented artists from West Africa who is deserving of increased visibility." Find out more at http://www.gallery1957.com/

Advertising
Wiz Kudowor Retrospective
  • Art

The opening dates and gallery locations for Wiz Edinam Kudowor’s first major retrospective in Accra, has been announced. The collection is made up of more than 50 powerful paintings and other assorted works that have never been displayed in the public domain. After a series of discussions and curatorial advice, it was decided to stage a multiple-location exhibition due to the expansive nature of the collection. The collection spans a period of 40 years including works from Wiz’ high school days from the early 1970s. The works include figure drawing, portraiture, still life, architectural designs, fabric designs and his well-known signature style of figurative abstraction with influences of African masks, geometric patterns and esoteric symbolism. The medium range from pastel, acrylic, charcoal, collage, appliqué and watercolour. The exhibition opens at Ano Gallery on Friday, 16th March and follows through with subsequent openings on 20th and 22nd at Berj Gallery and Artists Alliance Gallery respectively. This retrospective will reestablish Wiz Kudowor as a powerful force to reckon with in the vibrant Ghanaian art scene. Sela Adjei will be the lead Curator for the Exhibition. Curatorial advisors for the exhibition are Prof. Ablade Glover and Nana Oforiatta Ayim. Follow AnoGhana, Grin Studios, Berj Gallery and Artists Alliance Gallery for further details.

  • Art

African art is a good investment. New World Map by El Anatsui, a Ghanaian artist recently appointed as the first African Royal Academician, sold in 2012 for £541,250, a record for contemporary African art. The works of the late Nigerian painter are also fetching hundreds of thousands, while Ghana’s Ablade Glover, who had a recent solo retrospective at the October Gallery in London, has long gained acclaim internationally. And of course, Ghana’s now famous “coffin art” has understandably captured attention throughout the world; works can be seen in the British Museum in London Yet locally, the art scene is only just beginning to get off the ground. This has been disappointing to some, although others have seen it as an opportunity – quality is getting better all the time. If you’re looking to purchase, aim for those works that aren’t mere copycats. Commercial galleries in Accra are great places to pick up quality art at a decent price. One new gallery, which also offers a “consultation service”, is Tiga African Art – it’s a good place to buy paintings and, not so commonly, sculptures. Loom Gallery owner Frances Ademola, doyenne of Accra’s art scene for decades, has been spotting emerging artists in Ghana for more than 40 years. She cites Gabriel Eklou, Gordon Amponsah, Seth Clottey and his eldest son Serge Clottey as the artists to watch out for. Samuel Agbenyegah (also known as Samkobee) is also a young and highly-regarded artist. “He came to me when he was 12 with two wonder

Advertising
Chale Wote Street Art Festival
  • Art

Artists take to James Town’s streets for this vibrant alfresco art festival that spans acrylic street painting, stencil work, side walk painting, chalk art and vast graffiti murals. Past events have also featured large art installations and photography displays, as well as live music, DJ sets and theatre and spoken word performances. The festival takes place along High Street James Town between the Light House down to Ussher Fort. One of the best events of the year - the artwork on display is amazing, the music is energising and the artistic buzz is unforgettable.

  • Art

Carving its way out of the ‘West African literature’ hold all category and emerging as a genre in its own right, Ghanaian fiction has received due credit in recent years with young authors taking the reigns from the likes of Kofi Awoonor (This Earth, My Brother, 1971), Ama Ata Aidoo (Our Sister Killjoy, 1977) and Ayi Kwei Armah (The Healers, 1979). Ghana’s new generation of writers includes poets, successful bloggers, authors of young adult fiction, crime fiction and strong contenders on ‘recommended new novelist’ tables in bookstores across the globe. Probably last year’s most talked about novel of this realm is Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi. It leaves readers with plenty to chew on, with its unusual narrative style and complex characters. The intelligent Ms Selasi has certainly stepped into the literary world with a grand entrance (her fan base includes Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie). The story revolves around a Boston family of six  - the mother Nigerian, the father Ghanaian - whose mixed up lives repel and retract like a rubber band. Accra is referred to more as a backdrop to the storyline, however it is obvious the city and Ghana are familiar territory for Selasi with descriptions such as “lush Ghana, soft Ghana, verdant Ghana, where fragile things die” and “the smell of Ghana, a contradiction, a cracked clay pot: the smell of dryness, wetness, both, the damp of earth and dry of dust.” Selasi enjoys flitting between hot, slower paced Accra and crisp, snow covered Bos

Advertising
Contemporary Ghanaian art - a guided tour from Frances Ademola
  • Art

Since achieving independence in 1957, Ghana's artists have been steadily embracing a freedom of self-expression that is transporting them out of the controlled and literal, and into a playful and exciting meld of semi-abstract and impressionism. Traditional Ghanaian scenes remain popular subject matter, but today's artist can be found confidently experimenting with colour and form, and the market is awash with bold and emotive pieces.No one has had a better view of this post-independence transformation than Loom gallery's Frances Ademola - an ardent champion of Ghanaian artists for over 40 years. When Time Out Accra popped in to browse the stacks of paintings filling Loom's walls and giant folders, we took the opportunity to get Ademola's pick of 21st century Ghana's brightest artistic talents.An artist she first encountered when he was just 12 is Samuel Agbenyegah (also known as Samkobee), whose semi-abstract figures demonstrate a bewitching understanding of colour blending and form. 'He came to me when he was 12 with two wonderful paintings,' explains Ademola. 'I said "who did these?" He said "me". I didn't believe him and told him to go and do another one. He came back with four more.'Bowled over by this young talent, Ademola had one big piece of advice for him. 'I told him "do not go to art school, whatever you do! It will take away your natural flair." He is now 30-something, and such a natural artist.'One of the most established Ghanaian artists found exhibiting both in

  • Art
  • Architecture

Past an A-Board that reads ‘Accra Redefined’ and up the wooden stairs of an old, somewhat ramshackle 1915 building in Usshertown, two buildings down from the Fort, is a space that is quietly changing lives. At the top of the stairs, the cooling breeze blows through the many wide open windows around the one-roomed gallery. Through the rear window, the Gulf of Guinea, blue and sparkling, darkens to azure on the horizon. Fishing boats bob in the water, a reminder of the industry that still powers the oldest part of Accra. Inside, an exhibition researched by historian Nat Amarteifio, charts the 450-year history of Jamestown: the slave forts, the heady late 1800s alive with department stores and music clubs, the decline of the area starting in the 1920s as the port moved east, the war, independence, and the challenges of 21st century West Africa… it’s a compelling story and one lived out by the residents today in Jamestown.  So what exactly is ArchiAfrika Design & Architecture Gallery? Its genesis was a dream, a philosophy, an idea of how design and architecture, if intelligently implemented, can make a real and lasting impression on the world, on a city, on a neighbourhood. Its chief patron and the driving force is architect Joe Addo who has worked across the world, including a 16-year spell in Los Angeles.  “I got involved with the advocacy of architecture; how we use architecture to get involved with the local community. There was very little discourse about this and I wanted t

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising