Inside Kigali’s top hangout joints

Saturday June 7 2014

By Gilbert Mwijuke Special Correspondent

Bourbon Coffee

Bourbon Coffee is not just about coffee; here you can also get some food and liquors. With about five branches in Kigali, this hangout is famed for its highly-billed Rwandan gourmet coffee.

Bourbon Coffee has branches at Union Trade Centre (UTC) in the city centre, Kigali International Airport and Kigali City Tower. But it is at the MTN Centre in Nyarutarama where the coffee roasting room that supplies all the other branches is found.

Simba Café

This hangout is not for the booze-loving clients. Located inside the Simba Supermarket in the city centre, the café is reputed for a wide range of bites such as grilled burgers, salads, ice cream, soups, sandwiches, croissants and pastries.

It is not for that guy who is looking for fun but rather, a working space. It is famed for hosting business people and corporate meetings. You are likely to find several patrons with laptops because of the free Wi-Fi. Despite this and the great ambience, their prices are affordable.

Caiman, Kibagabaga

Caiman is the kind of hangout that attracts all sorts of people: Corporate, business community, friends and anyone who wants to simply hang out.

Set in a large, imposing circular stone structure, the joint “happens” almost every day, but it is Sunday evening that is best for those who prefer to enjoy their drinks in the company of soukous and rumba ballads played by a live band. During the day it is usually serene here. You can accompany your beer with grilled goat meat.


This is one of the most popular hangouts in Kigali. This is because it has everything for everyone: Affordable alcohol (both local and international brands), a variety of fantastic music, good food (including pizzas and pasta dishes), as well as an outdoor seating for those who want to enjoy a cool evening breeze.

It’s also one of the few hangouts in Kigali that you will find open every day, from 11am till very late! The only problem with this place is that sometimes it is so packed to the brim, which may not be a good environment for those who don’t like crowds.

Papyrus Bar and Restaurant

Pronounced as “papirys” (it’s a French name), it is popular with the city’s well-to-do and bazungu (White people). Set is a purpose-built three-floor structure in Kimihurura, an upscale Kigali suburb, Papyrus’s main draw is its straggly lounge on the first floor, a lively nightclub and (very) good food. For lunch they offer a high-end buffet, but you can also order for brochettes.