Victoria Island, Lagos
Written by Lola Akinmade Åkerström Illustration by Marion Vitus
Nigerian alternative soul musician Bez introduces us to his favourite part of Lagos, a vivacious city that needs to be experienced to be believed.
Bez’s favourite neighbourhood in Lagos is Victoria Island, where you’ll find top-notch restaurants, nightlife, beaches, and upscale shopping interwoven with high-tech companies and banks, all sharing space with oversized mansions lining the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
“I looooove their food,” says Bez of his favourite restaurant, Yellow Chilli, a cosmopolitan take on popular Nigerian cuisine located on Oju Olobun, close to the island’s most popular beach, Bar Beach. “Their selection of African meals is awesome, and I could eat there every day.” The restaurant serves local favourites like Jollof rice and spiced giant African snails.
On Sinari Daranijo Street, you’ll find Life House cultural centre, which according to Bez is an Afro-centric chill-out spot where you can drink freshly tapped palm wine while listening to live music.
Lagos teems with all forms of music, fashion, and film entertainment, many of which are focused around Victoria Island. Lagos is the epicentre of Nigeria’s film industry, dubbed ‘Nollywood’. To watch the hottest ‘Naija’ film on the market, Bez notes that Silverbird Galleria on Ahmadu Bello way is great for “watching recent movies with friends”.
If there’s a concert happening on the island, it’s probably at Eko Hotel & Suites’ Expo Centre. “I love the feel, ambience, and acoustics of the place,” says Bez. Plus you also get gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean from the hotel.
Commune with nature at Muri Okunola Park on Adeyemo Alakija Street. “Hang out with loved ones or family on a nice cool day and have a picnic here,” says Bez, who loves the serene space and its lit-up spots at night.
Hungry? Head to Bez’s pick, Marco Polo on Karimu Kotun Street, for some of the best Chinese cuisine.
Said to be the first shopping mall in Lagos, The Palms is home to international and local brands, and it’s usually packed on the weekends. Bez loves the energy of the people there. “Some cool, some not, but it’s a balanced mix and I love it.”
To cap off the night, head over to the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel on Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, where you can chow down on appetisers like fried calamari and drink cool sundowners while taking in panoramic views of Lagos Lagoon. “I love it on Fridays,” says Bez, who goes there for pre-dinner cocktails. “I meet with people I haven’t seen in a while and just hang out.”
Nigerian singer, songwriter, and recording artist Bezhiwa ‘Bez’ Idakula loves kicking back in one of Lagos’ most dynamic neighbourhoods – Victoria Island. From relaxing to soul, jazz, and R&B beats at the island’s hottest nightclubs to digging into traditional Nigerian cuisine at its finest restaurants, Victoria Island is has everything condensed within a few blocks. You may even find Bez performing what he calls his signature “alternative soul – a delicious potpourri of sound ” at one of its many clubs and concert venues.