Santiago Island – Nightlife and best bars?
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
I'd wanted to go to Cape Verde for a long island. The country, I didn't know much before, but in which I fell in love because of the music – Funana, the music I heard in Lisbon. Funana is a music style that originated in Santiago Island. No brainer, that was where I bought my tickets too. The plan was to spend at least a Friday or Saturday night there. I was lucky enough to have a few nights out there and the nightlife in Praia, the capital city was something I definitely enjoyed the most on the island. I sensed that would be the case and I didn't get disappointed.
They say Mindelo (Sao Vicente) is a cultural capital. To me, it was Praia. There are a plethora of bars, where you can listen to some quality music, meet great musicians and see how amazing people can dance. These ones are good to visit:
QUINTAL DA MÚSICA - nice live music from Monday to Saturday
KEBRA CABANA - a cool bar close to Quebra Canela beach. Friday and Saturday night live music.
FOGO D'AFRICA - a great place to listen to the music and dance, closes when everyone has left (even if that means 8 am! )
ALKIMIST - it's a pizza place but on Friday and Saturday night it is a cool place to dance a bit, usually full
My favourite bar though was ESPACO DE KAKU ALVES. A bar with incredible live music. I was lucky enough to hear the owner play (he doesn't always play). Friday or Saturday night is the right time to go. There is no live music on weekdays. It's a very popular place for artists to come and listen to music or simply jumping in for a bit and pleasing the audience with their voice. I was lucky enough to hear Dani Alves. But I know that musicians like Mayra Andrade, Dino Santiago or Elida Almeida have frequented this bar too.
The music starts at midnight but it's worth arriving earlier to have the best table. The place really gets full. If you arrive really early you may enjoy some street party nearby. It's a great atmosphere with music, street food and lots of laughter.
Espaco de Kaku is open till around 4 am. If you're up for a party after, I'd recommend hitting the Zero Hours club. There is great African club music and the vibe is awesome.
Finishing up with a sunrise at the beach is the best way to finish a night out. Prainha or Quebra Canela is not too far.
At the end of May, in Achada Santo Antonio district there is a street party that lasts till half of June. I was lucky enough to see the first day of it, with Ferro Gaita. There was great music, awesome energy, a lot of street food. It was a perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals.
I already plan my trip back to Cape Verde and honestly, I'm planning it around weekends in Praia. I enjoyed the nightlife there so much that I can't wait to come back.