BY IFEANYI AGWAZIA

Do you know what it’s like to live in a city that never sleeps? Places hidden at daytime spring up seemingly out of thin air once the sun goes down. Alive and bubbly in the dead of night, most of these magical locations are little-known. One such city is the beating heart of Rivers State, Port Harcourt—also known by locals as Pitakwa.

If you’ve been in Nigeria, you’ve probably heard about Port Harcourt’s party reputation.

Locals continue to thrill the Nigerian masses with delicious party antics everywhere they go, and it is becoming painfully obvious that Port Harcourt is the place to be for its unadulterated culture and glamorous party life.

After a long week at the office, a typical Port Harcourt resident comes home, takes a shower, has a relaxing drink and dresses up to head to GRA for some hardcore TGIF partying.

In GRA, there’s a myriad of clubs to choose from. For those looking to drink, eat and dance the night away, Casablanca has her doors open from 10pm till dawn. Clubs like The Bus, De Office and Lesukaa offer solace to work-weary, fun-seeking adults ready to forget about deadlines and office drama by partying hard.

If all one seeks is a few beers, light music, peppersoup and an early night, there are dozens of roadside bars ready to help the average thrill seeker achieve their goal wherever they may be in the city.

For those seeking a more intimate form of relaxation, Port Harcourt’s night scene features a myriad of exclusive areas offering this service to those who may desire it. One hotspot serving a generous dose of all these attractions is called Pleasure Park. The most centrally-located night feature, the ‘park’ is a wide open-air space boasting a wide variety of culinary, social and musical entertainment.

With a luxurious night scene and revelers whose parties are almost the stuff of legend, we were interested in finding out how the global pandemic has affected the fun-loving Garden City.

On the 5th of May, 2020 Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike declared a complete lockdown of the most populated areas of Rivers State in a bid to curb the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. Schools and religious institutions closed to promote social distancing. This meant there were no bars, no clubs and as such – no nightlife. Suddenly, everything was off the table, leaving PH partiers high and dry. After a few months without clubbing or any form of mass social activity, illegal drinking places did spring up in people’s backyards, well-hidden shacks and exclusive spots so far away from major roads it felt like visitors were travelling outside the city. Fortunately for operators, the police did not invade because the watering holes were well hidden from public sight.

Thankfully, respite came for the more active residents of the city when their lockdown was eased. It’s not exactly business as usual as clubs, lounges, restaurants and such require visitors to observe safety regulations with constant use of face masks while providing hand washing stands, sanitizers and more, compulsorily.

Our party-lovers can’t wait to be rid of COVID, but the night crawlers in Port Harcourt got a happy ending. Despite the pandemic, nightlife in Port Harcourt still thrives; it never really stopped and if you’re anything like us, you’re planning a charged vacation to Southern Nigeria once it’s safe.

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