The quickest way to take Nairobi 's pulse is to head downtown and make a beeline for Cantina( Langata Road). It's a favourite with the locals owing to its laid back atmosphere and lively sounds. The African Heritage Centre on Banda Street is a much swankier alternative. Friday nights are noted for their fiery Ethiopian buffet and boisterous jazz jams.
Sliding right down to the bottom end of the scale, and not for the faint hearted is the legendary Modern Green Day & Night Club. Establishing immortality in the Guinness book of records, the club has only shut its doors for a couple of hours in the last 30 or so years. The barman serves through a cage, the door man has a very big stick, the hookers slump over the tables, the men chew miraa(a leafy stimulant) and the duke box rattles away in the corner. It's the place to get a no holes barred glimpse of Modern Nairobi.
If your shillings are burning a hole in your pocket, but you're still looking for a bargain, Tuesday's Masai market(near the Meridian Court Hotel) is an unpretentious alternative to the cities overpriced boutiques.