23,000 will lose jobs if bars are  shut, lobby says 

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 04:45 | By
Chairman National Bar Owners Association Simon Njoroge (right) with Secretary general Boniface Gachoka during a press conference in Nairobi yesterday. PD/WILLIAM OERI

Bar owners have warned that at least 23,000 people who earn a living from entertainment joints risk losing their jobs as Governor Johnson Sakaja made good his threat to clamp down on noisy nightclubs. 

So far, 43 popular clubs have been closed.

As Sakaja released the notice for the closure of the clubs, the Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) warned of imminent massive job losses.

Comparing Sakaja’s order on all night clubs in residential areas to close their businesses by 11pm to the 2020 curfew imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners warned that the crackdown would affect between 400 and 500 establishments, with each employing between 30 and 70 permanent workers.

This, according to PERAK chairman Michael Muthami, is besides the number of casual employees engaged by the entertainment businesses.

The bar owners voiced their opposition to the move hours after Sakaja announced the closure of 43 nightclubs for allegedly noise pollution. He said his officers had carried out noise assessment in various entertainment establishments in the city.

Ruto’s backing

The assessment report, he said, had revealed alarming levels of noise pollution.

President William Ruto has supported the crackdown. 

Sakaja said the 43 clubs had ignored noise improvement notices earlier served on them leading to the arrest of their managers and owners.

He said the businesses were blacklisted after numerous complaints had been filed at the Directorate of Environment, Water and Sanitation.

The affected clubs include Quivers on Thika Road, 909 Lounge (Dagoretti North), Club 1824 (Lang’ata), Claret (Roysambu), Casa Vera Lounge (Kaburu Drive, Kilimani) and Miale Lounge (Lavington, Kilimani).

Others are Oysterbay Bar (Dagoretti North, Kilimani), Barizi Club (Donholm), Pistop club (Lang’ata Road), Egesa Villa (Embakasi), Onyx (Marsabit Plaza, Ngong Road, Kilimani), Gucci Bar (Former Uptown Grill-Kilimani), Amazon Park (Menelik Road, Kilimani), Cliques Lounge (Ngong Road, Kilimani), Oaks & Corks (Menelik Road, Kilimani), Ferrero (Menelik Road, Kilimani), Unnamed Miraa kiosk (Menelik Road, Kilimani) and Victoria Breeze (Wood Avenue, Kilimani).


Also affected are The Kettle House (Othaya Road, Kileleshwa), Empire Lounge (George Padmore off Rose Avenue, Kilimani), Roadhouse Grill (Dennis Pritt Road, Kilimani), Blackyz Lounge (Argwings Kodhek Road, Kilimani),Gemini Bistro  (Ring Road, Kilimani), Cigars & Booze (Chania Avenue, Kilimani), Eltaju Bistro (Westfield Mall, Kilimani), Cloud Twenty (Kasuku Lane, Kilimani), Cavalli Lounge (Kirichwa Lane, Kilimani), Hera Aqua Gardens (Kandara Road, Kileleshwa), Zinque Tavern (Westfield Hub, Kileleshwa), Joanna’s Kitchen (Chania/Wood Avenue, Kilimani), City Ranch (Chania/Wood Avenue, Kilimani), Ashaki Bar and Grill (Kindaruma Road, Kilimani), Cloud 20 (Kasuku Lane, Kilimani), Fine Breeze Grill (Naivasha Road, Kilimani), iBury Lounge (Riverside Drive, Lavington) and The Bar Next Door (Othaya Road, Kileleshwa).

City Hall announced that the regulations were aimed at ensuring the maintenance of a safe and tranquil environment residents.

The exercise to tame the clubs operating in residential areas and the ones operating beyond 10pm began on Sunday after county officers were seen getting ready to implement the directive.

The governor said the joints that are already in existence would only function as bars and restaurants, with limited hours of operation.

Ironically, the 43 entertainment joints that Sakaja is taking credit for ordering for their closure are the same ones that the Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board had last month launched a crackdown aimed at revoking their license in accordance with the Licensing ACT 2014.


They were, however, granted a reprieve after Sakaja’s deputy, Njoroge Muchiri, intervened following a meeting with the owners and agreed on steps to be taken to control the noise.

Muchiri had urged the liquor outlets to self-regulate and invest on sound proof to minimise noise pollution.

Yesterday, PERAK compared Sakaja’s order to close nightclubs in Nairobi’s residential areas to the Covid-19 curfew of 2020.

The closure, according to PERAK’s estimation, would lead to the loss of over 23,000 jobs, affecting permanent and casual employees.

“There is no difference between this order and the night curfew, as a matter of fact this should be called Sakaja’s curfew,” said Muthami.

“This will affect so many people including permanent and casual labourers who will lose their jobs and it will also affect watu wa smokie, supermarkets, those selling mutura, and even commercial sex workers,” he added.

Muthami said the order came as a surprise to them because all stakeholders, including the Bar Owners Association and the Residents’ Associations, were in talks with Muchiri over how to resolve the issue.

Not licensed

On Monday, President Ruto said his government supported the operation.

“I want to tell my young brother Sakaja of Nairobi, please keep the noise away from our children. You have our support,” Ruto said during an opening ceremony for a Twiga Foods distribution facility at Tatu City in Ruiru, Kiambu County.

During the crackdown on Sunday, more than 200 club patrons were arrested.

According to Nairobi Regional Police Commander Adamson Bungei, the team, which also comprised officials from the County Government, confiscated operating licenses of some of the premises.

“The premises know they are not supposed to operate beyond some hours and others knew they were playing loud music in estates,” he said.

Bungei said most bars operating as night clubs were not licensed.

He added that the operation will continue to ensure sanity in the city.

“Some of these joints are dens for criminals and we hope with the new directive, things will be different,” he said.

More on News