Here I am. Stateside, sitting in your average local Starbucks blending in with the other Mac users writing a conspicuous Word document. The only difference with my situation is that I sit here playing Girma Beyene’s “Enken Yelelebesh,” going through my old photos reminiscing of the life I once lived in Addis Ababa. Instead of going down memory lane with nothing but throwback photos to show for it, I decided to be a little more productive. I teamed up with Streets of Addis to share a list of some of the most memorable places that I spent time in Addis Ababa. More importantly, spaces that generated unique vibes and energy that continues to have me day dreaming of this vibrant city.
1. Fendika: Ethio-Jazz
This spot has a craze-mazing vibe. Every Monday & Friday evening there is a collective of outstandingly talented musicians and dancers who fuse traditional Ethiopian music, instruments, and sounds with a seductive jazzy palette. Located in a small almost dilapidated looking building, this cozy spot in Kazanchis is well known by many, as the place fills up by 9:30pm. A true testament to the chill and contemplative vibes of Fendika, people continue to show up well after the show has started, even if it means they’ll be standing and watching the show from the outside in the mini alleyway. The chilly nights aren’t even really an issue cause theres an endless supply of Tej (honey wine) that keeps you nice and warm (sometimes too warm).
2. Effoi Bole/Atlas
Say it with me (ufffffff-oooooiiiiiii), which is ‘a state of being.’ Or as I like to call it, a state of perpetual vibes. I’m trying to keep it cool and act like this isn’t my favorite place in Addis but I can’t hide the joy I feel in reciprocating some type of praise to this beautiful establishment. While this pizza spot has several locations, I am referring to one in particular which is located in central Addis. Picture this: an open air rooftop bar, giving you an almost 360 view of the city, playing the classics of 90s R&B, reggae, and Ethiopian legends. With the absolute best customer service in town, this space makes you feel like you’re kicking it at your friends house. Not to mention one of the best spots for deliciously crafted pizza and specialty cocktails. Effoi is always a good idea.
One of the most underrated spots in Addis would have to be Bunni. I enjoy that it’s not crazy busy with the Addis crowds, but even if it was this rooftop brunch spot is too good to ignore. The first time I experienced this peaceful and quiet space was back in 2011 when they first opened up. They’ve remained consistent in their warm deep brown toned interior and continue to serve delicious juices and paninis. It’s the perfect spot to just sit down to read or write.
If we’re talking vibes, there’s no way I could miss Ambiance. This oasis is set in an apartment-styled space having you step in thinking, “can this be my home?” Located right next to Edna Mall, you’d never think that you’re in the epicenter of the hectic Addis commotion. This spot exudes a calming and homey energy. This is also one of the few spots in Addis where you could get a healthy and light meal at a fair price. They even offer classes of yoga and mediation above the restaurant. Ambiance for sure lives up to its name.
Location: Bole Medhanialem
During my time in Addis every so often I would wonder how it was that no person started a Mexican restaurant because many of the same ingredients used in the cuisine exist in Ethiopia. And then, Village came into my life. A beautifully nestled restaurant near Meskel Square, you’ll absolutely get your fix of delicious chips, salsa, guacamole, tacos, burrito bowls and the BEST (yes I said it) cocktails. They got frozen margaritas and they are life!
Location: Meskel Square
Every now and then you may want to feel extra bougie but still not break the bank. Finesse yourself on over to the Louvre for a unique French dining experience at an affordable price. What struck me the most about this space was its ultra thematic French vibes. Starting with the white and red checkered table cloth, from the ambiguous French film and art posters hung around the room. Aside from it being a quaint hotel, this is also a chill hang out spot if you’re looking for a low-key place for drinks or to have a light game of outdoor chess.