Between meals, how do you like to spend time in town?
I used to shop second hand at places like Katangua. It was so cheap and I could buy crazy cuts. Now I’m going to the mall. There is also Nike Art Galleryit’s very African, and KB– it’s the first gallery I’ve been to, and it’s so beautiful. Everybody is here.
Where are you going to dine?
I like The House restaurant. This is our real meeting place. It’s made like a house, with different rooms with a sofa and a TV, so my friends and I have the room that looks like a living room. We can play video games and they have really good food there. They have these potato chips that are so good I always ask them to make some for me.
After dinner, what is your favorite place for a night out?
I don’t usually drink, but W-bar is where people go to drink and dance a bit. I am going to Oti’s. It’s a jazz club, very discreet, and it’s run by this older man. He loves me and my friends because we’re all musicians. So we go there to hang out, we play the piano, and all the music they play is old, like Nina Simone records. It has photos from when Nina Simone was in Lagos, and other historical people who have been there in the jazz club. It’s very old school. We’ll hang out until 3:00 a.m. even though they technically close earlier. He lets us stay and makes great coffee.
If you have a friend visiting, do you have a special place you take them?
That place I mentioned with the chicken wings? Sometimes we buy the food and go to a deserted beach where we can sit on the rocks and eat. We talk, we laugh, we make videos. Most of the beach is really nice, like Ilashe Beach, or that stretch we call Lighthouse Beach because there’s a view of a lighthouse. I usually hire a ‘banana boat’, which is just a small boat, and the boys in charge of it will build a tent, catch and grill fish for you. You just show up at the beach and can find someone to hire for the day.
Any trips out of town that you recommend?
Landmark Beach is another beautiful beach, good for the day but you can also spend the night there. It is a 50 minute yacht ride from the heart of Lagos to Ilashe or Landmark beaches (Ilashe connects to the mainland; Landmark is on Lagos Island). Lakowe is far from the city, but people will go just for the weekend to relax, play golf. I’ve never been there but it’s still just as beautiful.
Is there a part of town you wish more people spent time in?
I would like people who have come to Lagos to go more to the mainland than to the island; the island is beautiful, but that’s what it’s made for. When you go to the mainland, you feel that everything is more authentic. There are safe places you can drive to on the mainland, such as Ikeja, Magodo. I grew up in Ijaiye which is safe and very local, but it’s far away. On the island the food is in a real building or restaurant, but on the mainland you will find people cooking outside, and people buy it just when the lady is preparing the next batch – try food like ofada rice or àmàlà from a local vendor.
What do you think people misunderstand about the city?
I used to be “people”, I thought there was too much noise in Lagos or too much going on, but everything has a reason. You have to jump into the Lagos rhythm to understand Lagos, or you may feel very uneasy. But if you understand the rhythm of Lagos, not much is happening. You need to know where to go, how to avoid traffic jams, you need to always have cash on you, these are the kinds of things you need to understand about Lagos to really enjoy Lagos.
It’s not the kind of city you can visit in a single day. I feel like everyone who comes to Lagos always wants to stay longer.