Sometimes referred to as ‘Kabs’ in urban slang, Kabalagala has also been called, Uganda’s Las Vegas, or Sin City. From educational institutions, to supermarkets, to bars and clubs you can find almost everything needed to make you happy. In Kampala, Kabs is home for those searching for fun.
Kabalagala is a Kampalan suburb off Ggaba Road and, from the city centre will cost 1,000 UGX by matatu and will take between seven and ten minutes to reach depending on time of day and traffic. Boda boda costs will range between 2,500 UGX and 4,000 UGX from the centre. From Kabalaga, cabs can be found near Jonrich Supermarket right at the corner of Kabalaga and Muyenga Hill Roads.
Kabalagala residents say the area was named after one resident who, in the 1970’s, used to make tasty pancakes known locally as, Kabalagala, which drew people to the area. Fast forward to this century, and it is less easy to spot anyone selling this snack as instead roasted goat’s meat and chicken are the norm. In fact, Kabalagala is a haven for meat roasters who ply their trade by the roadside. Come evening time, every single day of the week, you will see them busy fanning their barbecue.
Kabalagala has often been touted as the place with the highest number of new bars in Kampala. “It is like there is a new bar sprucing up every month, I just don’t know where they get the space,” says Mark Kawooya, a student at Kampala International University. This university – found just a few metres away down Ggaba is made up of students from all five East African countries and the students form a good percentage of party-goers in the many bars in Kabs.
Some bars are newly constructed while others are makeovers and Kabalagala has a bar for everyone. Punchline, which recently moved from their old location and is now located near Uchumi supermarket, is a student’s favourite. The bar has what are termed ‘friendly’ beer prices for students and music of their choice as compared to other, more upmarket, bars such as De Posh. Capital Pub is also a renowned bar that has stood the test of time.
De Posh, it is located toward Muyenga/Kibule Road and is a new, popular addition to Kabs given its flashy ambiance and plays host to a number of Kampala’s socialites and celebrities. De Posh, like a few other bars, operates 24/7 and it’s not uncommon to be heading to work and still see revelers drinking at 8am on a workday.
Some of Uganda’s top music acts are regular performers at bars such as Café Cheries, whose music draws patrons from other bars. It is even easy to bump into one of Africa’s top rated singers, Jose Chameleone, during one of his weekly concerts in the bars.
Perhaps one of the biggest turn offs in Kabs is the narrowness of Muyenga Road which is so narrow that it should have been a one way. To make matters worse, there are cars parked all along either side and some motorists still squeeze through causing a traffic gridlock that is almost permanent in Kabalagala.
But, if you can find parking you can enjoy Kab’s free spirit. Beer is cheap – ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 UGX and the place is always a hive of activity. Kabalagala has been known to host people for ages and since it never goes to sleep it is the place to be for all night fun!