WHEN the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair roars into life, the nightlife in Bulawayo also changes as evidenced by the scores of people seen out and about at different nightspots.
After a long day at the exhibition halls, most delegates look forward to relaxing and enjoying good music at a night spot. Some deals are clinched over a drink so at times business continues after hours.
The city’s busiest street at night seems to be Robert Mugabe Way between 10th and 11th avenues. The area houses three watering holes The Lounge, Cubanna and Pub Lagondola. All of these spots have been oversubscribed since Wednesday.
A visit to Cubanna, an up-market joint on several days showed that indeed Bulawayo had come to life as it was packed to the rafters. Its bar staff was overwhelmed by the hundreds of revellers.
At The Lounge, it was the same as patrons were seen having the time of their lives, dancing and drinking the night away.
Phathisani Nkomo who runs The Lounge and Cubanna said yesterday that he was happy with the business since Wednesday.
“Business at the two spots has been good during the ZITF period. In fact, we’ve recorded better business than Christmas and we expect the remaining days to be equally busy.
“Over the past two years, business has been depressed and the Trade Fair has given us a boost so kudos to ZITF organisers for putting up a good show, attracting thousands of people,” said Nkomo.
At Pub Lagondola, the manager Jabulani Nyoni said they had also recorded a high number of people.
“Although I haven’t compared figures with last year’s ZITF, we’ve had a good number of people coming to our establishment. Considering it’s midweek, business has been good for us,” said Nyoni.
“We treat the Trade Fair period as Christmas as we’ve people who come from all walks of life. As part of our preparations, we stock up a lot of beverages so that we do not runout.”
Rainbow Hotel which is a stone’s throw from the three outlets is always a major attraction during ZITF. Besides it being the home for many ministers and top officials and international visitors, the hotel is the preferred venue for most corporate cocktail parties. At any time of the day during ZITF week, the hotel will be a hive of activity as some check in while others go up and down the lifts to attend meetings or cocktails.
Nearby is Club 263 which operates throughout the day. There, people have meals as well as party later in the day. The joint has also been a hive of activity since Wednesday.
A few yards away, the home of strippers, Private Lounge, has been equally busy as visitors to the city were coming in their numbers to find out what it offers.
Private Lounge manager Thelma Zuva said they had gone all out preparing for ZITF and were happy with the returns.
“The dancers had been preparing for ZITF as they’re always excited to host different guests. As from Monday, we’ve noticed a steady increase in patrons, some who frequent our Harare outlet,” said Zuva.
On the same complex at Cecil Hotel where Private Lounge is housed, is Club Connect which has grown steadily and is proving to be a force to reckon with.
The club attracted a huge crowd on Thursday evening when it played host to Judgement Yard who broadcasted live from there on ZiFM for three hours.
The duo of Etherton B and DJ Flevah kept the dancefloor packed with their good mix of international dancehall as well as Zimdancehall and people kept flocking to the venue.
Said Club Connect manager, Manu Mahaso: “Business has been brisk so far. We had a new clientele besides our regulars earlier in the week.”
Tonight most nightspots are likely be packed again as visitors enjoy their last day in the City of Kings.