Food & Drinks

First Time in a Bar Known For Fish, Ronalo


It’s amazing how a place can look so different on a weekday and weekend.

On a weekday, Ranalo Foods in Upperhill, Nairobi is full of men in suits and corporate women in power skirts and high shoes.

I have always seen it during the week and at lunch time. I didn’t even know that they had a bar, even when the bottles of alcohol are lined up next to the paypoint. (Which goes to show that you only see what you want to see).

So when a friend suggested that we meet there for a late lunch on Saturday and after the meal he called for drinks I was somewhat surprised because I knew K’osewe for its traditional food.

So it quite felt like running into your otherwise stuffy boss at a function where he has a drink in his hand and is singing.


The Ranalo of Upperhill looks more uppity than the one in town, perhaps because of the clientele.

The structure is more open and a general ambience that turned out to be agreeable to a light Saturday drinking.

Of course if you partake of alcohol you might agree that what keeps people in bars is the company and the music.

Ranalo has these two, even though the sound system here is not meant for a bar ambience. If you don’t feel anything for rumba music then you would be bored.

The crowd when we were there were mostly the poor chaps who are forced to work on Saturdays for half a day. They didn’t look sad, though. There was a light air of pushing time until they all left for some other venue.

The music was great. And there was always that comfort of knowing that should you get hungry midway — as one would when drinking — you would simply eat something that isn’t a samosa or some skewer.