That is the short name for local bar or pub.This is what people call the bar nearest to them where they go to have a drink,hang out,pick up local guys.gals, find out what's happening,to gather a crowd before moving to where the action is etc.Locals in Kenya were recognisable by these characteristics.
1.Regular crowd - Many locals are near residential areas and are patronised by people who live in the neighbourhood.As a result the bar man,waiters and patrons tend to be on a first name basis.This is very daunting for a visitor as everyone seems to know each other.
2.DJ Optional - A local doesn't even have to have music playing.Some locals just have the radio on or the same cd playing over and over, they even let you bring your own music if you are a regular!But for those that have a dj, he is not held to the same standards as those in high class establishments.I knew a dj who if he saw things were moving slow, would play a continous mix cd and would come out of his booth to mingle with the crowd.
3.Chairs Optional - I am sure those of us who are not too discriminating about where we drink have been to those bars where they have the six aside bench arrangements instead of individual seats.Sounds tacky but it works wonders for cameredrie as you end up talking to the dude next to you.Plus locals sometimes have interesting chairs ie a local I once went to had chairs that had the name of a primary school plastered on the back.
4.The Story Teller - No local is complete without the dude who has loads of cock and bull stories.These dudes have stories that keep you mesmerised, so much so that you forget how crappy the place you're drinking in.
5.The Political Guru(s) - There is always a dude or group who think that they know everything about Kenyan politics, what is wrong, what is right and how they can fix it.Thing is shouldn't they be leading instead of talking?
6.The Soccer Guru(s) - A close relative to the political guru.Likes the sound of his own voice even when he doesn't have the intellectual power to back up his posturing.
7.The residential drunk - There is always a pal who is always in the bar day in day out and almost always drunk or on the verge of being drunk.
8.The dreamer/big talker - Locals never lack this dude/chic who always has a big plan in the pipeline.There is always this big business deal they are waiting on,this big job/interview or they are leaving the country soon.But before that happens they would like you to buy them a drink and then they'll tell you how you can become part of the action.
9.Stone Walls Optional - A local isn't always a permanent structure.Many neighbourhoods in Nairobi have a local nicknamed mabatini due to the fact that it is made out of iron sheets.
10.Cheap Liqour - Yes the people who live in Lavington have Kengele's as their local so it's an exception, but most locals have very cheap liqour/beer.That's what makes them so popular.
11.The News on TV is a major issue - In most locals when the news is on TV everything stops.Music is turned off, conversation is muted and all eyes turn to the screen.
12.Kuku,Nyama Choma and other food available - A joint qualifies as a local if those foods and other delicacies like fries,ugali,mutura are sold there or at an establishment in walking distance.
13.Hawkers - If you have ever been offered a 5 in one dvd,wipers,vcds,the daily papers,assorted gadgets and clothing as you drink then your joint is a local.
14.Walls Optional - If your drinking establishment has a roof but still exposes you to the elements by having you in bandas then that is a local, notable exception The Carnivore.
15.Pathetic toilets - Sad but true, most locals had pathetic toilets.Some did try but what do you expect from 1 star establishments?
16.Drinking on credit - This is a priviledge reserved for long term regulars but is a characteristic of locals.I have a friend whom a waiter from the local passes by her house to collect her dues if she doesn't have the time to pass by to pay her bill.
17.No Bouncers - In the locals if you start drama, you are on your own.It is up to peace loving members of public to break up the drama.
18.The Langa - Locals never lack a dude/chic who has the morals of an alley cat.They have been around the block and then some and arent afraid to do another lap.They usually prey on the drunks and new comers who are not aware of their reputations.
19.Flexible closing times - Until the city council crack down on bars in residential areas there are many establishments that were open 24-7.There is a tale told of a bar that was told to adhere to closing hours during the COMESA conference that was held in Nairobi a few years ago (they were window dressing the city then).When they wanted to close it they discovered that the door had fallen off years ago.
20.Never changing decor - If your local looks exactly the same as it did 5 years ago, then it's a local.If change is neccesitated by things breaking and not the need for a new look, then yes your drinking joint is a local!
21.Plastic EABL/Supermatch/Sportsman table cloths - If your shebeen has those plastic table cloths then it's a local!Style and class need not apply!
So to all of you out there don't feel to classy.Support your local even when your wallet is bulging!Don't forget about the good times you have had blacking out under the influence of cheap liqour at your local (Milo,Kenyanmusings?Wake up!).
Now talking about hamburgers.Does anyone remember those hamburgers that were sold at Jeans Bar in Nairobi West?They were very edible as you were on your way home from Rock nite or Soul at the Carnivore and tipsy.I once bought one when I was sober and I threw it away after one bite.How in the world do you put blue band in a hamburger!Sheeeesh!
Moving on.Those idiots at the University System of Georgia have given my office a survey that needs to be filled by 30 people.This school is a ghost town.People come to class and leave immediately.I had yesterday and today.I have only gotten 10 done so far and they are due today afternoon.So guess what?I am going to fill in the rest myself! Anyway they had it coming!
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