Remera, the Kigali neighborhood housing a soccer stadium and bordering Kigali International Airport, used to be known for little more than flophouses and the city’s red light district. But Remera is coming into its own, with this once-rundown area in Rwanda’s capital now seeing an influx of bars, sustainable-minded bakeries and artist-led boutiques. Some of the city’s best beer and brochettes (chargrilled meat on a skewer, the de facto national dish of Rwanda) can now be found in Remera, and come nightfall, the city’s hardest-partying revelers are crowding dance floors until sunrise.
A pink house with interiors bathed in magenta light, Fuchsia lives up to its name. This cheerful bar and restaurant has been a night-life staple in Remera since it opened in 2015, and this past May, its leafy outdoor patio was treated to a face-lift. There’s live music on Thursdays and Saturdays, but stop by after midnight any day of the week for dance music that lasts till dawn, a lively crowd and signature cocktails like the blush-toned Pink Lady, with vodka, strawberry, orange juice and simple syrup.
KG 119 Street; fuchsialounge.rw
2. The Women’s Bakery
Pillow-soft monkey bread, cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted pretzels and rich pumpkin loaves are on offer at the flagship location of this women-empowering social enterprise, which launched in 2015 and moved into its spacious new address this year. Office workers and drivers of Kigali’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxis linger in the morning over fresh bread and strong hot tea; in the afternoons, locals pop in to purchase sweet potato bread, sesame rolls and honey cakes. The Women’s Bakery is an all-female social enterprise, so making a purchase here is a particularly sweet indulgence.
13, KG 176 St; womensbakery.com/visit
3. Question Coffee
The centerpiece of this airy roastery and cafe, now three years old, is a huge cast iron Giesen Roaster, where Question’s faintly caramel, slightly sweet coffee beans are roasted in house. Rwanda produces some of the world’s best coffee, but exports almost all of it, and Question — whose mission is to directly support Rwanda’s coffee farmers — is at the forefront of Kigali’s burgeoning cafe movement, which is trying to encourage local Rwandans to drink the famous coffee they export to the world. The cafe offers a variety of pour-over and specialty espresso drinks, and also stocks goodies like small-batch distilled liquors made with their own beans.
KG8 #8; questioncoffee.com
4. Sole Luna
This charming Italian-owned establishment with red-and-white checkered tablecloths is one of the city’s oldest restaurants. Sole Luna offers nearly 100 varieties of bubbling thin-crust pizzas, a wide selection of Italian wines and a popular quiz night on Monday. Terrace seating is al fresco and the restaurant’s high perch offers sweeping views over Kigali’s lush green hills.
KG 599; soleluna-rwanda.com