Imagine having to pay a cover charge every time you went clubbing in Nairobi. Until K1 Klub House opened its doors in 1998, this was the norm! Waiving cover charge was the trick that made fun-lovers soon flock to K1. When they got in, they discovered the laid-back, quirky and creative vibe which makes the venue unique to this day. It was (and remains) the club with a hotel at the back and an aquarium at the bar. Driven by creativity and innovation, this fully Kenyan-owned venue remains one of the city’s favourite fun hotspots twenty-one years on. Far from being simply a club, it has become a cultural icon and hub that shapes the arts and entertainment scene in Kenya.
K1 was envisioned by its founders as a space offering a different entertainment experience from what the city was used to. Right at the entrance, this intention is visible from the signs that read party zone and fun starts here. From the first small acts of waiving the cover charge and hosting live bands, its game-changing moves have taken bolder strides which have shaped Nairobi’s cultural landscape in surprising ways. One Love Thursdays with Kris Darlin and the Dohty Family started 10 years ago. At the time, reggae was popular but not mainstream. Having a reggae theme night was a risky move at the time but the concept grew into a landmark night out. Now, not only have reggae theme nights have become standard in the club scene but big Thursday nights out have also become standard fare.
Sitting decisively in a corner of the K1 compound is Pitcher & Butch, a pub which is also a distinct part of Nairobi’s collective cultural story. It is the home of Jazz Nite Tuesdays. When the pub was constructed in 2000 it was the coolest watering hole in town for its modern vibe inspired by African aesthetic. Before Jazz Nite began, bars in Nairobi would close by 11pm because nobody went out on Tuesday night. Safe to say that these days, Tuesday nights are lively at K1! Have you ever wondered where the name Pitcher & Butch came from? It was named after one of the earliest customers called Butch. He was such a regular member at the club that some people thought he owned the place. The word pitcher was combined with his name to make Pitcher & Butch.
If you are new to Nairobi and want to know the best place to catch a football match, it will be difficult to avoid hearing the name K1. This is because of Soccer City, the miniature stadium constructed in 2010 with a giant screen that became iconic. It has now been revamped and renamed the Round House, an inspiring space that not only caters to sports fans but also plays home to musicians, movie lovers, stand- up comedians and gamers who hone their craft and connect with their creative communities there every week. Since the K1 Sunday Flea Market opened in early 2017, it has become synonymous with Sunday socializing: brunch, shopping and evening parties. K1 is the place where entertainment is always evolving. A new monthly event that takes place is K1 Kocktails, a cocktail masterclass where people get to make their own cocktails, connect and share great food.
Most recently, a new menu was introduced that includes the old favourites like kuku and mbuzi with a twist. Build Your Own Board (BYOB) is a section of the menu that allows you to design a sharing board to your taste from a wide selection of bitings inspired by global cuisine, from Korean chicken to spicy ugali bites. There is also a coffee bar called Klub Koffee next to the Kar Wash. It might surprise you to learn that K1 never closes. It is open 24/7. Where else can you wait to get your car washed as you savour a meal at a bar by an aquarium?
Fun Every day at K1 Klubhouse
Monday: Watch a film at Movie Night with Mugambi Nthiga
Tuesday: Relax at Jazz Nite with Richie Sax and the Jazzique Band. Dance the night away at the afterparty with DJ Kym Nickdee
Wednesday: Catch a vibe and jam at Speakerbox with Patricia Kihoro
Thursday: Get lost in the energy at One Love Thursday with Kris Darlin and Doughty Family
Friday: Refresh your party experience with something different every week at the House Party. Live performances, 90s music, themed panel sessions and more.
Saturday: Join activities all day at the Saturday Social: Wellness with Chiki Kuruka, Esports at Round House,
Sunday: Shop, eat, drink and enjoy the vibes at the K1 Flea Market. Themes change every month so there’s always something new to find!