A renowned teetotaler, President William Ruto wasted no time in effecting some changes at the house on the hill as he closed down the State House bar.
This was recently revealed by prominent city lawyer and Ruto’s buddy, Donald Kipkorir, who was in for a rude shock when he requested a glass of wine at State House during a meeting with the President.
“We reminisced over our friendship that goes back to 1992. I asked for a glass of wine, and he told me he pulled down the bar that was there. I was given delicious short ribs without wine! It was a humbling experience meeting the president and repairing our friendship,” Kipkorir said in April.
Kipkorir is not the only one who was left feeling “thirsty” at the State House. Its residents have reportedly come out to disclose how they are coping.
As reported by The Standard, State House insiders whispered that they have been forced to visit nearby alcohol outlets, including dingy drinking outlets in the slum near State House baptized Sego.
“You know that the alcohol at State House was subsidized and affordable to us. The bar served more than 300 families, including a whole GSU camp, the drivers, the bosses, and the cooks,” a top security official at State House reportedly told the publication.
“Those who have money can easily organize parties in their house, and for some of us, like police officers who earn peanuts, we can meet at Sego.”
This is however not the first time that the State House bar has been closed. During President Kibaki’s tenure, it was closed at the behest of First Lady Lucy Kibaki on grounds that the President’s friends had developed a habit of gathering there to engage in gossip with him.
But during former President Uhuru’s tenure, the bar at State House served as an exclusive venue where residents could indulge in a diverse selection of beverages while engaging in social interactions within an elegant atmosphere.
Now State House residents are feeling the pinch after President Ruto assumed Office.
“We are forced to spend up to Sh8,000 on Mzinga (one-litre bottle) in Kilimani bars and restaurants near State House. However, we would have accessed it here tax-free,” a state house resident was quoted as saying.
A high-ranking security official at State House said residents are increasingly exploring options beyond the boundaries of State House and visiting nearby bars in Nairobi to satisfy their thirst for the bottle.
“These establishments, which have seen a sudden surge in clientele, have become popular hangout spots for the residents, who often mingle with locals and engage in conversations about various topics,” a State House neighbour said.
Another State House dweller said the closure of the State House bar was unexpected but it has allowed them to explore the city and connect with people outside their immediate circle.
“We are adapting and making the best of the situation. While the closure of the State House bar has disrupted the lives of the residents, it has also presented them with a chance to explore new social avenues. As the city’s bar scene becomes their new playground, these residents are finding solace and camaraderie in the diverse venues and experiences that Nairobi has to offer,” she said.