Bars or beer parlour has become the easiest and cheapest route to enter the evening and nightlife entertainment in Nnewi. In the absence of comedy shows, theatre and cinema houses, relaxation centres and parks, bars are enjoying huge patronage in Nnewi.
In the last seven (7) months, despite the excruciating effect of Covid-19, there has been astronomical growth in the number of bars in Nnewi. The number of bars that have opened within the period under review triples the existing ones. Almost every weekend, new bars and beer parlours are opened with funfair and live highlife band on stage.
Within the Anglican Girls Secondary School axis, down to St. John the Cross Catholic Church, Egbo, in Uruagu Nnewi, the number of bars that have opened within this axis is unusual, this is not different from other localities in Nnewi.
The seemingly undeveloped parts of Nnewi, are not also left out in this new “Trending Business”
The increase of these beer parlours which enjoys patronage both from the mighty and small is a clear testimony that this is the fastest growing business in Nnewi
While most bars are expanding their space, most eateries and restaurants are lacking patronage and even closing down. One will wonder why bars enjoy more patronage than eateries which are also relatively cheap in Nnewi.
What is driving the opening of bars in Nnewi?
No doubt, the beer parlour business is one of the most profitable businesses currently in Nigeria, especially with the belief of many that drinking brings happiness amid sufferings and harsh economic realities. What an orientation!
Nnewi is populated by the middle class who are mostly traders in Nkwo-Nnewi traders and are also largely uneducated. For the ordinary Nnewi trader, after the bustle of the day, relaxation comes to mind. The beer parlour appears to provide them with needed comfort to cool-off and ease the daily stress, adding to the total experience of connecting and interacting with other traders. They drink to their satisfaction and possibly, with the addition of edibles.
Bars in Nnewi have also turned out to become a sort of “Representative Assembly” where topical political, social, economic and other issues are argued and discussed in accordance with the level of individual understanding which most times end up in comic relief.
Apart from easing off the tension, men also stopover at drinking joints to avoid unnecessary squabbles with their wives. A surprise?
With the harsh economic realities, there appears to be an ongoing Influx of young people in Nnewi, especially from different parts of the South-East, in pursuit of greener pastures. Most of these migrants are also driving the patronage of these bars as they try to make connections with the locals.
The erratic power supply is also a contributory factor, instead of going home to meet their darkrooms, some of these young men prefer taking bottles of drink to wait till late in the night, before returning to their abode.
Most bar owners have also adopted the tactic of having big-size TV sets on their premises to show football competitions, which will also attract football enthusiasts.
Mostly on weekends and festive period, most bar owners in Nnewi hire live bands to entertain their customers and even attract more patronage.
Beer Parlour VS Restaurant
While beer parlours are opening or expanding their space, most eateries are either losing patronage or even closing down. Except for a few, restaurants have proved to be a difficult business to run in Nnewi, especially with the thriving roadside food vendors. Whether the lower, middle and even the higher class, most Nnewi residents patronise roadside food vendors.
The quality of food and other services rendered by some of these restaurants is not encouraging especially with the expensive price of foods. Some of these restaurants are guilty of serving leftovers from the previous day.
Although most bars in Nnewi do not sell food, the patronage they enjoy remains unprecedented. They serve the beers with the option of a fried snail, smoked fish, grilled meat, beef popularly called suya, chicken barbecue and fish pepper soup and the rest.