Lusaka has a tight knit expatriate community compromising mainly of Indians, Lebanese, and quite a few Greeks. The entertainment scene there is growing fast and there are new restaurants and bars opening up in the city every now and then. But the market is small so it can not be compared to any big city. One of the more popular nocturnal Hangouts in Lusaka is Johnny’s Bar.
Although there are more refined spots in the city Johnny’s has a local charm and reputation that has kept it on the hit list for a few years now. In the outdoor area you can see that the walls are not painted. In fact some of the walls are not even coated in cement, they are still raw brick. The counters are made from unfinished wood and although some might see this as a conscious rustic design theme, it is more out of necessity. Whereas Johnny’s could have hired and developed a state of the art bar on his property, could he afford it, he has rather opted for slow growth and allowed the bar to facilitate its own evolution.
There are a couple of pool tables at Johnny’s that are quite popular with youngsters around the city. Most evenings you can find the ‘tweens’ kicking back here and having a few games with some drinks. But in all honesty, these tables were BAD. First off they were tiny. The balls were not even the size of any normal ball I have played with and let me not even start about the size of the table. The cues have seen more friction than a 50 year old hooker. My buddy Amit found the cue ball closer to the lip of the table than he liked so he calmly gave the lip a few good taps and nudged it over a full inch. I think a win on this table does not constitute as a win at all.
Apart from the open air pool area Johnny’s also has an indoor bar are that is the night club. The bar is owned by Johnny who is a Chinese guy living in Zambia for over 10 years now. When he bought the property there was a swimming pool on it that for many years functioned as a cesspool in the parking lot. About 2 years ago he constructed the disco around the pool and now it sits in the center of the room, directly under the dance floor. This does make for a pretty cool attraction.
Being from a small town myself I can understand how a place that seems so run down can actually attract a worthy crowd. What Johnny’s lacks in finesse, it makes up for in local flavor and a unique clubbing experience. This is truly a place where friends come together to enjoy each others company and where one can begin to comprehend that it is not necessarily where you are but who are with that permits you to have a good time.