How university students lit up sleepy Makutano club scene

By - Jul 8th 2023

Students at tertiary institutions have contributed to the growth of Makutano as an entertainment scene.

Continuous improvement in club investment saw Makutano emerge as the entertainment epicentre in Meru.

Though Meru town is the headquarters of Meru County, Makutano town has dwarfed it in matters of entertainment and hospitality. Makutano, located about a kilometre from Meru town, has emerged as a 24-hour hub with vibrant entertainment and nightlife.

In the evenings, hordes of revellers move away from Meru to Makutano, which was just a dusty town a decade ago.

Makutano town has had the advantage of hosting the best clubs in Meru for a long time, contributing to the area’s vibrancy as an entertainment ‘hotspot’.

However, this was not the case over two decades ago. Of course, that’s as far back as some people can recall.

Pig & Whistle was the place to be. Having been established during colonial times, the place was the pioneer location for the Nouveau richer, and the growing middle class that included teachers and coffee and tea farmers were the remarkable people who patronized the place.

The hotel was demolished a few years ago to pave the way for Meru Greenwood, an imposing shopping mall with classic shops, restaurants and other facilities

The Continental Hotel was also probably among the most incredible places in the 70s and 80s.

Then Clouds, a more pop club, superseded all the others in fame with the 90’s swag of the ‘Macarena’ hit song, which saw younger demographics with diverse backgrounds enter the party scene.

This club became infamous for fights and debauchery. To date, the street where the Club Clouds was situated-opposite Doctor’s Plaza in downtown Meru is akin to Nairobi’s Koinange Street.

Now, proximity to the Meru police station saw many patrons spend nights in cells. Thus, people naturally began looking for options far from the police station.

“That is how Milimani Dimples Club aka Kinyomba, grew its fame. We were tired of being arrested every day so we looked at joints away from Meru town,” said Charles Mutwiri, now in his late 30s.

That coupled with the ingenious mixes by its former DJ Kaycee whose dexterity at the turntable and hosting events was legendary, even as more clubs came up like Makuti -which later burned up- Dimples was the place to be in the early 2000s.

University effect

The coming of institutions in the area, like Kenya Methodist University, saw more joints like Simba Wells and many other clubs coming up in the locality to compete for the growing demand for entertainment.

Continuous improvement in investment in the clubs saw Makutano emerge as the entertainment epicentre in Meru because of more colleges and new buildings, and the mushrooming estates and rentals in the area ensured a sure stream of clients.

“Meru town has grown into this ‘’mature” kind of business centre with no major investment in club space. That and fewer students living in the town area due to costs, fewer residential areas, the area is also a ‘girls Sahara, so people tend also to go where the party is lit,” said Grace Kaari, a university student.

Kaari said students at tertiary institutions have contributed to the growth of Makutano as an entertainment scene.

“And of course, any artist worth his or her salt will hope to perform where the people are more likely to tip, appreciate and also give him more mileage,” she said

Makutano is now the host of some of the best hotels and clubs in Meru and has eclipsed Meru town. Iconic hotels include Alba, Meru Slopes, and Three Steers.

Makutano also hosts a thriving red light district, a 24-hour miraa market and other related attractions.

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