Rhapta Road is empty without Slim’s Bar.
I derive very little joy in saying I saw the demise of Slim’s Bar and Restaurant. But it was long time coming, wasn’t it? If you had frequented Slim’s as I had, you would have seen the cracks. You can always predict the doomed future of a bar by observing the staff.
First, their uniforms get older. Then they start looking older —even the young ones. They clear the table listlessly. They smile less and less. They move slower and slower. Your table takes longer to be cleared and your glass remains empty for a longer time than usual. The barman looks like he’s carrying a load when he pours your drink because indeed he is carrying a load; a load of uncertainty. I could see it at Slim’s. And it was heartbreaking. The last time I was there —and I wrote about it here — they didn’t have Tusker. Tusker, for the love of Mike! A national drink! Then the staff complained that they hadn’t been paid, so some didn’t bother coming to work. When staff starts telling you their woes then you know it’s closing time.
This was October last year. They closed down soon after. Rhapta Road is empty without Slim’s Bar. The curse of Lenana road has come full cycle, it seems. Sherehez, dead. Caribana, dodo. There is a new bar where Sherehez is. And then there is Osinkiri further up the road. Then there is Cedars, a monument of Lenana Road, standing solid mostly because it’s frequented by people who have already formed their person and their habits and will not be swayed. But Slim’s breaks my heart, if not as much as Caribana’s demise did. Their buffalo wings were a thing of legend. That I will miss sorely. But then Cedars Bar, up the road, has some delectable chicken wings, if you can get past the tight fraternity.