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GOING OUT THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS...

Par sarah - Publié en juin 2013
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A guided tour of the restaurants, music bars, maquis and discos that keep the capital up at night.

Ouagadougou rocks at night. The young and not-so-young make the rounds of the capital’s 1,001 maquis openair restaurants with dance floors in search of spicy, well-grilled brochettes, cold beer, good sounds and pretty girls: trying to pick up a member of the opposite sex at night is a national sport.

The city has no shortage of places to go. The Jardin de l’amitié (“Garden of Friendship”) is still busy year round, especially during the FESPACO period. There is wide, now-fashionable avenue Kwame-Nkrumah downtown near hotels with an international clientele such as the Splendid, the Palm Beach and the Yibi; a new brasserie serving cappuccino round the clock; and small, well-stocked restaurants popular with locals and tourists alike.

The atmosphere at maquis and discos like Showbiz, the Byblos and the legendary Taxi Brousse, which feature beats by the latest trendy performers, can be sizzling. The ambiance is different more musically advanced and more relaxed—and the public more varied in the Gounghin quarter, especially around 4 August Stadium, which hosts quality concerts. Venues like Reemdoogo, where the stepped seating spreads out around a beautiful Italian-style stage under the stars in a garden with a huge refreshment stand and near half a dozen high-end rehearsal and recording studios, contribute to the neighbourhood’s fame.

But the place to be is Madiba Maathai, named after two famous people: Nelson Mandela (“Madiba” is his nickname) and Wangari Maathai, the first woman to win a Nobel peace prize, who died in 2011. The brainchild of reggae musician Bingui Jaa Jammy and the artists’ promotion and distribution network Vent d’échange, whose goal is to support live performances, Madiba Maathai, which opened opposite 4 August Stadium in December 2011, is more than just a maquis; it is an impeccably decorated cultural centre featuring a successful mixture of live music, cold beer and a good-natured ambiance where expats, tourists and locals cheerfully mingle. The owner also holds photo and painting shows and will soon make a brand new studio available where artists can record, rehearse and train. Dance bars with stages, each having a different style, including the Sport Bar and Zoodo, have sprouted up a stone’s throw away.

Dapoya, the ever-popular red-light district and still the neighbourhood that never sleeps, draws roughnecks as well as wealthy young people who go slumming there. It has a high concentration of maquis-clubs like Matata and Jamaica, both of which are on the roadside.

By Sarah ELKAÏM

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