Describing Lagos as “the city that never sleeps” is a bit
like describing rain as a wet substance. It is neither groundbreaking nor
necessary. Everybody already ‘knows’ how badass Lagos is if you’re a fun seeker
or a club head, but apart from a few lists of isolated nightclubs and bars, no
one ever seems to categorise the entire city into
distinct party districts. A single hangout does not a party district make. So
if you are on the mainland for example, what area should you go to find a good
time? Here is an attempt to show the curious traveller where to have a great
night out in this immense city.

Ikeja GRA

This old colonial residential area is still
largely residential and sedentary, but the parts of it that are lively are, to
borrow a popular expression, lit. Isaac
John street is where most of the magic goes down, with a whole row of clubs,
hotels, restaurants and bars open till the small hours of every morning. If
you’re into the conventional food and disco scene, The Place has a big presence on Isaac John, as do several specialty
bars. There is also a popular comedy club venue as well as two 4-star hotels
with world class dining experiences. If the thrill of Isaac John is a bit too
loud and youthful for your taste, Ikeja GRA also has a delightful patchwork of
semi-secret hangouts, tucked away in the heart of the residential areas away
from prying eyes. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend that invites you to
one of these places, you will get to experience the full glory of the GRA night
scene, with pool parties, barbecues, bars, discos and special performances all
running simultaneously, hidden inside the quietness of a family-friendly
neighbourhood. Some say that these secret locations are where many high ranking
male members of the nearby creative industry cluster go to engage in a variety
of colourful extra-curricular activities. Such rumours are impossible to
confirm or deny.
Victoria Island: Once also a colonial sleepy hole and now a
full-fledged CBD, Victoria Island is where all the bright lights of Lagos live.
From the constantly busy performance venues at the Eko Convention Centre and
Landmark Centre, to the fully booked themed restaurants of Akin Adesola and
Adeola Odeku, to the Ozumba Mbadiwe club scene, there is something for everyone
in VI. This is where the true big boys of Lagos hang out – the stomping ground
of the financial and industrial elite driving their Porsches and Lamborghinis
around and looking for increasingly interesting ways to spend copious amounts
of money every night. If you want a real club buzz, check out the iconic Quilox
nightclub on Ozumba Mbadiwe, or take a short drive to Xscape nearby in Ikoyi.
Just remember – partying here in the financial capital of Lagos costs money – a
lot of it.

Lekki Phase I

If Victoria Island is the Beatles, then the
Lekki Phase I nightlife scene is the Backstreet Boys – destined to never be as
renowned, but no less impactful and iconic to a younger crowd. Admiralty Road
is making a decent attempt to become the high street of the area, with a decent
selection of clubs and bars, but the real fun in Lekki Phase I is the Admiralty
Road area. Here you will find a boat club, a waterside nightclub, a number of
great hotels and what could make a decent argument for being the best bar in
Lagos – Bay Lounge. By day, Bay Lounge is a stunning hangout with an outdoor
bar, a boat pier and an air conditioned indoor hall for when it gets hot. It is
at night however, that you can observe this place in its full glory.


While not anywhere near as polished or renowned as
its two Island cousins on this list, Elegushi makes it by virtue of being one
of the most wildly popular hangout spaces in Lagos, particularly favoured by
university students and young professionals. From when you get in till you
leave, Elegushi is a constant party from the parking lot, to the beach clubs to
the waterside and the piers. It also has the advantage of being noticeably less
expensive than the typical VI or Lekki Phase I hangout, and being a beach,
there is practically no limit whatsoever or noise and merriment. And boy, can
the denizens of Elegushi make some noise! From the moment you get in until you
leave, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life at this delightful
outdoor resort. Just make sure you don’t get your pocket picked. Or your drink
spiked. Or, you know, anything that can happen to unaware people in Lagos.

Festac Town

Once an exclusive upper class neighbourhood,
Festac now has an eclectic mix of mid-century rich, upwardly mobile and working
class residents, which creates a very unique type of nightlife. 2face Idibia’s
famous Rumours nightclub chain made its debut here, and it still has some of
the best nights in Festac, with everything from specialty clothing nights to
exotic performers. People actually come from as far as the Island to take in
the famous Festac nightlife scene.

Opebi/Allen Avenue

A lot of throats will be cleared, and
smirks suppressed as this area makes it onto this list, and with good reason.
The term “Allen Avenue” has become analogous with prostitution in the lexicon
of Lagos. Till date, the flesh trade is very much in evidence anywhere on the
stretch from Opebi roundabout to Allen Avenue. There is a veritable litany of
strip clubs and gentlemen’s clubs, alongside the ubiquitous and unbroken roadside
queue of beautiful beckoning women. However for the complete nightlife
experience, this area also offers a lot more than just prostitutes on tap – it
also houses some of the most delightful, low-profile hangout spots in Lagos.
The stretch between Awuse Estate and Salvation houses an indeterminable number
of these places, alongside some truly stunning hotels and restaurants. You will
not know they are there if someone doesn’t tell you – it is truly an experience
to be had.

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