Drink Lagos: Zenbah
I recently started a finance-y job that gets you questioning your existence in a highly capitalist world. It is no surprise Zenbah’s catchphrase ‘life is beautiful’ contributes to my mental health during my daily commute. I expect to spend many Friday nights here; it’s a 5-minute walk from work for a reason.
With gates that depict some sort of paradise, I was finally glad to experience and not just pass by ‘life is beautiful.’ Quite relieving, I came in an Uber and didn’t bother about parking; the lot accommodates about 6 cars.
Like Ed Sheeran, I too believe the bar is where you go to find love; whether it’s in a glass or a person is entirely up to you, Zenbah’s aesthetic is conducive to both affairs. Vampires would love the drunk horses and black skulls. It is the best place to make poor choices — more drinks, please.
The bartenders were overly friendly which was a bit suspicious; it didn’t take long before the eye-service cracked. I don’t understand why a foreigner was handed groundnuts when he asked but when we did they went on a lecture about not serving to guests. I guess they figured I was about to go full-blown-woke on them so they handed me back my nuts.
After the bartender declared Zenbah as the only tiki bar in ‘Africa’ (still not sure about this title) we decided to order the Tiki Puka Puka alongside a Lychee martini. What’s the point of going to a tiki bar if not to order a tiki?
If the Tiki Puka Puka did anything right, it was its entrance. Served on dry ice and an angry looking pirate, this is what most Lagosians need — to cool off. Fair imaginative presentation for a drink with white, dark and spiced rum accompanied by grenadine syrup, spiced syrup, lemon and orange juice. It catches up on you slowly.
Your taste buds are shaken at first due to its aftertaste then it gets comfortable and before you know it, you’re laughing at the drunk horses. It strikes me as a fresher and more sophisticated Long Island.
The Lychee martini erupted. As a joke, my brother and I wondered why you’d ruin a martini with an overly sweet fruit. The drink doesn’t sound as strong as it tastes. Almost stronger than the Tiki Puka Puka, it instantly hits off spicy notes, which I believe is vodka and I hate vodka! Surprisingly, I loved the vodka in it. The lychee balanced it perfectly. It helps to bite the fruit, sip and chew — in that order.
However, I wonder how many tanks this fruit has sailed due to its sogginess. It tastes like canned fruit, is it?
Zenbah, like most bars, have learnt how to engage its consumers with an emotional duty. The idea of a beautiful life it promises is a cheap catchphrase yet one that we do not mind.
Good for: Pre Drinks – Groups – Late Night Drinks
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: No | Beer: Yes
Tiki Puka Puka - N4000
Lychee Martini - N3500
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.