Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, is a thriving metropolis with modern night clubs, restaurants and hotels that double as music venues, with bands covering everything from kalindula (local Zambian music) to global covers. Here’s our guide to the best music venues in Lusaka.
Every Friday evening, head to the Intercontinental Hotel for live music by Uncle Rex and The Band. The band performs jazz, R’n’B and requested covers. Performances begin at the Savannah open air restaurant at 6:30pm and happy hour lasts until 8.30pm. There is a pre-selected discounted food and drink menu as well.
O’Hagan’s is an Irish pub located at the Woodlands Shopping Mall in Lusaka. There is indoor and outdoor seating, which is particularly good for groups. The pub hosts live music on Thursday evenings by a band that performs covers. Bands that have residencies at the pub include Uncle Rex and The Band who are currently also resident at the Intercontinental Hotel.
For those who want a livelier atmosphere with a bit more buzz, The Misty Restaurant and Jazz Café is just the ticket. With live music in a cozy setting, plus freshly-prepared continental cuisine, it’s no wonder that The Misty is a popular spot among locals. Lavishly decorated with atmospheric lighting, The Misty is the ideal venue for a memorable evening in Zambia’s capital. Be sure to make a dinner reservation in advance on nights with live music as the restaurant tends to get packed.
The Government Complex is a 16-story building used as government offices. There are several halls on the first floor and an auditorium, which is used as a venue for entertainment events including live music performances. Both international and local artists have performed at the complex including Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo and more. The Government Complex has adequate parking and is centrally located and accessible by bus and taxi.
Alliance Francaise Lusaka supports arts and culture events from Zambia and France. Its multipurpose hall is used for various events such as album launches of musicians like Mumba Yachi, the annual Francophone Week, which has featured musicians from France, and more. The Alliance Francaise is situated in a central location that is easy to reach via public transport. Its Facebook page lists upcoming events.
Mulungushi International Conference Center is a venue on Great East Road, Lusaka that offers meeting and conference facilities. There are seven conference halls, with the largest able to handle a capacity of 2,500 people. Various live music events are held at the center, including album launches, gospel concerts and more. Mulungushi is easily accessible via public transportation and has lots of parking. Mulungushi has beautiful landscaped gardens where antelope and zebra can occasionally be spotted.
Bongwe Barn and Guest House is a budget accommodation located in the Lusaka suburb of Roma. The spacious property features an outdoor bar and pool that forms a backdrop to several live music events that are held throughout the year, such as a celebration of Bob Marley’s birthday, reggae nights, karaoke nights and more. Check the Facebook page for updates on events.
Located in the tree-filled suburbs of Kabulonga, Latitude 15 boutique hotel is one of the best places to chat with friends over drinks in the lobby, which has a gallery feel with beautiful artwork placed around. For a more relaxed feel sit by the pool, or if staying on site head to ‘The Other Side’ on the same property, which has a private members-only restaurant/bar with weekly live music performances.
The Chef’s Gallery, formerly known as Manhatanville and Kalahari, is one of the best places in Lusaka to watch a live band performing traditional Zambian music like kalindula. Located in the centrally-accessible Mass Media suburb, the restaurant also serves traditional Zambian meals such as Nshima. Bands that are resident at the Chef’s Gallery include Amayenge (one of the oldest Zambian music bands), Air Power and more.