At Hops and Fizz, a man turns into his father

What’s anyone’s motivation for opening a bar anyway?

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Philip leans against the counter holding a drink but only because I’m holding a drink. He owns this bar set on a cul-de-sac on Three D lane on Dagoretti Road. (Outbound, you pass The Hub Mall in Karen, take a right, down a dirt road, slightly left down a narrow driveway to a gate. Honk.)

It’s one of those old Karen houses turned into a bar. Which means the floors are parquet and old and there is a fireplace. At night, you can see your reflection in the windows.

I had been invited as a guest author to a book club called Not Nerdy. It’s an artistic space with modest and colourful decor. The compound is big and grassy and at night when you exit your car after parking it feels like a big bird is watching you from the top of one of the trees.

I was curious about his motivation, a young man like him, opening a bar and restaurant. What’s anyone’s motivation for opening a bar anyway?

“Because growing up my dad had a small bar in Kisumu. It had a jukebox and everything. I have some good memories,” he says. “We are a family of artists; my mum draws, and my brother is into poetry and novels. Uncles who do artistic things.”

Talking of artistic things, a musician plays a saxophone while pacing about. I think playing an instrument like a saxophone or a horn is very very intimate; you give the instrument your lungs, and it gives you its voice.

The book club was young-ish, fun, idealistic, and freewheeling. We gathered in the main dining area next to the lit fireplace and they dissected the characters and plot of my book. I was having a whisky which is something I usually need when I find myself before people demanding that I explain why my main character was so foolish and annoying.

“Do you see yourself in some of these characters?” Someone asked. Of course, I do. How could I not?

Hops and Fizz is a nice space, a metaphor for a man turning into his father. Without a jukebox.

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