Laura Branigan’s Self Control blasts through the speakers on the wall. We nod our heads to the music. Mounted on the wall next to the speakers is a 21-inch screen showing some football highlights from the English Premier League. There are other screens on the walls all over the pub. Kenyans are obsessed with ‘their’ English teams. I look around the club, more of a pub really. There are two counters set to the left and right corners with a selection of the popular brands. It’s a Wednesday evening so it’s not crowded, but it has a fair number of people, most middle aged working class and business people. On one of the walls is painted: One Psys fits all. I smile when I get the pun. There are other Psys pubs in Nairobi: Westlands and another at T-Mall.
One Psys fits all
Welcome to the pub Psys in Nairobi’s town center. The atmosphere is middle aged: the lighting low but not too dim, the music ranges from 80’s hits (Self Control) to recent hits from Neyo and Fabulous’ hit You Make Me Better. The crowd is here to have one for the road, that evening drink to relax after work. You don’t come to Psys Nairobi for a wild, clubbing time; I haven’t seen a dance floor there!
Outside on the verandah, men and women sit huddled around tables on the pavement and talk over drinks, as some light up (cigarettes). The music from inside drifts out, and the wind ruffles a few, but it doesn’t disturb. You can go there for a date because you don’t have to shout for conversation. You don’t go home with a headache and feeling slightly woozy from the vibration your internal organs go through in a club with loud speakers the size of a small mountain.
Psys sits in a relatively quiet street- Kaunda Street and one may pass it. On this particular day, I wanted to hang out with a friend but did not want to go to a coffee house; because I didn’t want coffee and the humdrum of chitchat that reverberates the crowded Javas and Savannahs in the town center. We decided to have a drink at Psys and since then, it’s been our ‘local’. The pricing of the drinks is decent, most brands are available; but mostly the atmosphere is a relaxed one for an evening drink after a long day at work. The music might be high when inside but it’s not loud, and there are no teenagers or hyper young people causing trouble. Sure I might be in my mid-twenties, but I think the crowded clubbing atmosphere with thumping music and grinding bodies does not appeal to me anymore. I prefer to hang out with people whose company and conversations I enjoy without the distractions of loud music and the hype.
Next time you are in town and looking for a pub for one for the road, at pocket-friendly rates, try Psys on Kaunda Street. You might just make it your ‘local’.
Definition of Local
‘Local’ Definition: In Kenya, a ‘local’ is well, your local bar near your home where you spend most evenings when you are broke. When you have money, you go to a fancier place. You know you are at a local when: (courtesy of Stephen Musyoka and friends):
- Your beer arrives at your table even before you sit down
- they switch off football for news!
- When the bar man is answering your question….Kwani jana kuliendaje (what happened last night)?
- A guy walks in selling everything for your house….towels, handkerchief, sufurias, etc.
- When you can rush home pick the cash you had fichad (hidden) for shopping and get back without anyone noticing you where gone
- the barman can keep for you any stock (drinks) you may have left over from your previous visit.
- when the waiter hands you a tusker even before you sit down
- When you spot your landlord and pay him rent on sight
- They bring out tea cups when glasses are fully taken by patrons
- When the watchman goes like “Naona Leo umebadilisha diet (chick)” (I see today you have changed your diet (chick)- in the name of blackmail since he knows your First Lady.
- When your neighbour spots you, Smiles and shouts “Usifunge gate” Since he lost his main key and is used to jumping the wall.
- You have a favorite spot and the manager asks the person occupying it when you walk in to move…