United Café: the city’s new shisa nyama spot
It is not like your usual bar or restaurant where you walk in and are met by an eager waiter, ready to get you seated with suggestions from the menu and the house specials. This is because United Café pub and restaurant, formerly known as Campers is unique in itself. Located in the heart of the city, in one of the oldest neigbourhoods, United Café in extension 12 is a popular hangout spot for the working, middle class and university students alike where they come for a relaxed weekend over drinks after a long day at work. The spot is popular for its sizzle braiied meat, lounge music and a modest ‘tavern’ like outdoor set-up. United Café can proudly boast that it is GC’s premier Shisa nyama, as the pub and grill is fondly named around these parts.
The local pub is co-owned by Thapelo Mmusi and Bata Dematema who currently have 2 other United Cafe branches around Gaborone with plans to further expand the outlets around the city. According to Mmusi, “We decided to revamp the spot from Campers as most know it to make a unique and different lounge set-up where people can just chill and listen to good music but still be able to interact with others.” Sundays are the most popular days at the spot; deep soul house music and contemporary jazz sounds ooze from the decks of the resident DJs and set the tone for the rest of the day and pump well into the evening. Tumelo, a patron of the spot who works at the Finance Park in Gaborone says that he was recently introduced to United Café and that, “the best day to come to United Cafe is on Sundays for the ‘Soul Sessions’. I particularly come for the jazz and deep soul house music.”
“I like how it turned out from what it used to be, to the trendy spot that it is right now. The crowd is very chilled. It has a nice ‘kasi’ vibe to it and that’s what brings me there,” said Gomotsegang, a regular at the tavern. Good traditional food adds to the allure that United Café has created around its brand. The legendary Dudu’s Restaurant, known for its mouth watering traditional cuisine has created a formidable partnership with the café, serving customers with affordable lunch daily. For those who have not had the ‘shisa nyama’ experience, Mmusi had this to say, “Come and expe- rience the vibe and feel the difference compared to where you would usually spend your Thursday night or a Sunday afternoon. If old school RnB and deep soul music is your type of vibe, then make it a point to visit over one of the weekends.”