We’ll be heading to Lagos in a couple of weeks for DEMO Africa and She Leads Africa – two of the most prominent startup events on the continent (one of which we won last year – shameless plug we know). As the tech world prepares to head to “Las Gidi” we want to ensure that everyone from Silicon Valley to the Silicon Savannah knows how to experience Nigeria like an insider. Here’s our guide – you can thank us in server space and pitch meetings 🙂
Where to Stay
Fight your urge to stay at a big box hotel and get involved in something that brings Lagos right to your door. Our top picks are not only affordable (Lagos is notorious for overpriced hotels), they also attract Lagosians on the move or have special events throughout the week.
Definitely the sexiest of Lagos’ boutique offerings, Maison is also conveniently situated just opposite the massive Eko Hotel where most of the action is happening. You can literally walk across the road (keeping caution of course) and be in the middle of the buzz or easily exit the premises and retire to the gorgeous pool or schnazzy rooftop. The owner of the place is a design aficionado which is evident both in the guest rooms and in the carefully appointed lounge spaces throughout the property. Be sure to wake up for the free breakfast, use all the free wifi you can, and get an excellently brewed cappuccino for some in-house follow-up meetings with the awesome startups you’ve met. // 80 Adetokunbo Ademola St. // +234 1 904 4500
If you’re looking for more culture and less “Bond” in your digs look no further than the Bogobiri House. Tucked away in Ikoyi (the neighboring district to Victoria Island) this hotel also doubles as one of Lagos’ most popular arts and event spaces. Each room has it’s own special design and the entire place oozes warmth and soul. Weekly events range from Open mic Thursdays to Reggae Saturdays – ear hustling’ here will give you all the scoop on what’s happening with Lagos’s artsy set. Don’t let the good vibes fool you – Bogobiri has all the amenities you require to get some work done and it won’t kill your expense account. // Maitama Sule Street // +234 1 270 7437
Where to Eat
Lagos has a budding dining scene and you can get just about anything here (provided you don’t get there to late). There are a few places that we’re currently obsessed with and encourage you to make a reservation at when you’ve tapped out of conference chicken breast.
Exposed ducts, stone walls, and craft brews this Lagos newcomer will have you wondering what city you’re in. An amazing add to the Lagos dining scene RSVP serves up “new American cuisine” like friend mac n’ cheese balls that ooze cheesy goodness when you bite them and brisket nachos (branded as tacos but trust us) that have enough kick to make your mouth water for one of RSVP’s incredible cocktails. Open until 11Pm during the week and a hotspot on the weekends, you definitely will need to grab a table in advance. // 9 Eletu Ogabi // +234 818 616 6666
Tableshot by our friend @ebiawatodi @ UBER
For a lunch or brunch before She Leads Africa on Saturday – check out Bistro 7. Its light airy vibes, outdoor seating, and consistent customer service (a huge win in Lagos!) make it one of our faves. Admittedly, the menu is all over the place choosing “continental fare” which basically means standard things the restaurant think smost people will eat. The burger is the best in town and all of the brunch is nomnomnom-worthy. It’s not usually “packed” so it should be fairly easy to get a good table – just don’t tell everyone you know, it’ll kill the vibe – we kid. // 273 Kofo Abayomi St // +234 807 668 7777
Saturday breakfast @ Bistro 7
This is actually not the name of a restaurant but the location of the best Suya joint near all of the DEMO Africa activities. Suya is grilled beef, goat, or chicken with onions, peppers, and a unique blend of popular Nigerian spices. It is absolutely delicious and is served up wonderfully at this little street side cart in Ikoyi on you guessed it “Glover Rd.”. Any UBER driver worth his (or her) salt should know exactly where this place is as it’s a favorite with Lagosians on the island.
Where to Unwind
We know you are trying to avoid being “that guy” on BellaNaija.com but you must indulge a bit in West Africa’s party capital. There will be private parties throughout the week (including our own) but if you want to mix it up beyond the tech crowd – or maybe with people that you’ve just met – these spots are sure bets.
A long running tradition, Nollywood and Afrobeat’s up and comers alongside well-known stars pack into this Pan-Asian bistro by day, turn up at night spot in the heart of Victoria Island. What starts off as live music and entertainment ends up as a full blown nightclub that really kicks off the week. Industry night happens on Wednesday and really gets going around 10:30pm. // 36 Adeola Odeku St. // +234 808 020 8080
The view from Spice Route’s second floor
Beautiful Space, beautiful people, and super convenient Maison’s rooftop is one of our favorite things about the hotel. If you’re staying here – all the better, you can easily find your way back to your bed after having a couple of their sneakily potent cocktails. We love the coconut and tequila concoction that tastes like a manly piña colada. On Fridays, the place is packed so it’s best to go just as your meetings are closing otherwise you might be hard pressed to find a table among the Victoria Island glitterati. // 80 Adetokunbo Ademola St. // +234 1 904 4500
The rooftop at Maison before the party gets started.
If you’ve still got some energy left on Friday, head over to the upscale Sip Lounge the playground of Lagos’s young professional community. A good mix of pop, hip-hop, and Naija tunes, Sip’s sultry red decor and plush surroundings make you feel like you’re in a 1990’s Diddy video. The line might be a bit insane but as an out-of-towner you shouldn’t have a problem getting in. // 11B Akin Adesola St // +234 1 760 4444
These are just a few highlights for those of you who like to travel with a game plan – for more up to date suggestions and to see what we’re up to in Lagos, follow us on Instagram.