The problem with Ogopogo is that no talk about this bar is ever complete minus mention of its predecessor, Papyrus. Well, if that can be counted as a problem anyway.
That way, a typical description of the place usually goes along the lines of, “Ogopogo, the former Papyrus”.
This category of clients go to Ogopogo in their throngs because they used to go there when it was still Papyrus. Call it nostalgia.
The latter was shut down by city authorities for lack of parking space and issues regarding noise pollution towards the close of 2011.
When the place re-emerged from the ashes as Ogopogo last year, the most noticeable change came by way of the music policy; the decibels and atmosphere had been toned down from what was formerly a disco vibe to the more pub-like feel that Ogopogo now espouses.
But not as much has changed about the parking arrangement, which still takes up a chunk of the street especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
Away from the decreased music decibels, perhaps what strikes one most about Ogopogo is the ever alluring absence of vice (read petty thefts and women of ill repute) as was the case with the predecessor.
One tradition Ogopogo has maintained is that of the pizza which, at Rwf5,000, still remains some of the best in Kigali. You can also pick from a few other confectioneries to nibble on while lounging in the sofas in front of the wine shop.
They have a wine shop that is unusually large and that most people visit for the Amarula, reputed to be some of the cheapest tax-free Amarula in town.
The joke is that if you purchase your Amarula any cheaper than it gets at Ogopogo, then it must have been smuggled in from the DRC! A big Amarula bottle goes for as low as Rwf9,800, but if you settle for the whole carton, that could come down to about Rwf9,400.
The best thing about the wine shop is that it further enhances the toned down aura that Ogopogo is so keen to project (for rather obvious reasons).
Their Italian food tradition still remains near-intact, and with the introduction of a buffet at Rwf3,500 two months ago, Ogopogo is clearly in the race to reclaim its credentials among foodies.
What started as a rather humble open bar and pizzeria now fuses elements of African, Italian and French cooking.