Camel Club

Camel Cub, Kampala

Follow the tiki-torch lit path down to this hip cocktail bar and you instantly enter a 1960’s tropical haven. Imagine a beach party minus the beach!  Camel Club is a vibey bar and lounge with mod décor and trendy music to match the current mood. Here, the bartenders double as DJs and play music from their laptop at the bar so expect to hear everything from Pink Floyd to Lord Huron and, on one special occasion, Blink 182!

Camel Club’s décor is as unique as it’s concept. Cowhide rugs, pendant lamps, and cozy directors chairs serve as accents to the lovely wood floors, ceiling, and bar. As one of my friends so eloquently describes it: “It’s like Africa meets California!” Sounds like a prime opportunity for a custom hashtag: #kampalafornia

Food & Drink

Camel Club is Kampala’s premium cocktail bar! Their extensive drink menu boasts pages and pages of a few names you’ll recognize as well as several funky new ones. I’ll be honest; their drinks aren’t cheap! (They run 13,000 – 25,000 UGX each). I’ve never been much of a cocktail snob, but Camel Club’s expert bartenders have changed my mind. For instance, I’ve always sworn that gin tastes remarkably like a giant Christmas tree, but their cocktail “The Gin-Gin” — made with gin, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and mint—has officially made a fan out of me!

Camel Club, Kampala

The cocktail menu is essentially organized by alcohol base: vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, champagne, etc. My husband is a whiskey and bourbon fan so he prefers their take on the Old Fashioned and also the Sazerac. In addition, they have a menu of tropical-inspired cocktail favorites like Rum Punch, Daquiri, Margarita, Mai Tai, Mojitos, and more!

In terms of food, they have a relatively small menu. When you order any food at a cocktail bar, you assume low expectations. However, we tried the feta coriander samosas for a starter and although it’s probably the last combo you’d expect to be inside a fried dough pocket…they were fantastic! The dish came with nine mini-samosas and sweet chili sauce for dipping. We also noted that they came out surprisingly fast—under 10 minutes!

Also on their food menu are sandwiches, salads, platters, and desserts. I’ve tried their Spicy Salami sandwich, which was pretty good except that I thought the portion size was a bit small for the price of 20,000 UGX. Items on the food menu generally range from 16,000 – 25,000 UGX but some of the platters cost a bit more. The Cheese & Salami Board runs 32,000 UGX and the Singapore Crab Meatballs run 28,000 UGX.

Service & Crowd

The bartenders at Camel Club are to be praised for the attention to detail on the cocktails, but the servers could use a bit of improvement. I usually have to flag a waitress down to put in an order and our particular server didn’t have a solid knowledge of the menu. For instance, they have great happy hour specials but our server wasn’t able to answer the few simple questions we had. She kept having to go ask a bartender. The special was “Whiskey/Bourbon night: Buy a double, get a single free!” According to my hubby, they didn’t have any appealing or imported options on the restricted list for the special and it was unclear if the deal applied to the cocktail menu. And I quote: “It’s nice that they have a happy hour, but they had far too many rules attached to make me happy!”

As for the crowd, don’t mind the usual sighting of older men with much younger, attractive women at the bar. Besides that, there’s always a nice mix of upper class Ugandans and expats considering a single cocktail costs as much as a main dish anywhere else!

Events & Related Cool Stuff

They have a bartender program called P.U.B.E. Yes, you read that acronym correctly. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Despite the raunchy title, it’s actually a really cool idea! It stands for Program for Ugandan Bartenders Exchange and they invite international bartenders to visit for a short-term period and train their employees in how to make famed cocktails from around the world. That explains their well-stocked bar and wide variety of drinks!

They offer other notable events which include the Camel Club Sessions, featuring live jazz music every last Tuesday of the month. Also, be sure to check out their “5:5” themed dinners where you get to sample five entrees perfectly matched with five cocktails shaped around a specific genre of food!

Finally, they have Happy Hour specials Sunday through Thursday. The themes are Tropical Sundays, Wine Down Mondays, Champagne Tuesdays, Cocktail Wednesdays, and Whiskey & Bourbon Thursdays. Specials last from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and, as I mentioned earlier, specific details do apply!

In my opinion, the Camel Club experience is truly unique to Kampala. While it’s not the best place for a cheap date or a binge-drinking night out, it’s certainly a wonderful place to start off or finish your evening! The cocktails are high-quality and delicious and the bartenders really know your stuff.

Hours: Daily, 4pm to Late
Address: 18 Kyadondo Rd, Nakasero, Kampala
Phone: 0792 111 200
Email: tash@camelclubuganda.com (for bookings)
Website: http://www.camelclubuganda.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camelclubuganda

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About Lauren McBride

Hey, I’m Lauren. I’m what you’d call an “expat by marriage.” When my husband and I stepped off the plane in Entebbe in June 2012, I had no idea what I was in for: the breezy traffic on the open road, enjoyable boda rides through the heart of town, or the gentle, lingering smell of exhaust blowing in my face. I continue to be amazed by the strong community in Kampala, the arts, the delicious food, and the fun hangs around this town. I’m committed to sharing the very best of Kampala with you through this website. Contact me anytime with your ideas, feedback, or jokes at lauren@livinginkampala.com.