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South Social: Experiencing Lagos Nightlife on a Budget

There’s no place like Lagos, literally. The entertainment/ business capital of Nigeria has earned its reputation for a lot of reasons. The good food, the people, the culture, the experiences. Most importantly, the nightlife. The typical Lagos nightlife scene is a wild play of money, great music, and super electric vibes. Frankly, these premium vibes often don’t come cheap.

So when  Chibuzor Iwobi started hosting South Social parties, a new Lagos nightlife experience was born- one with better vibes and an amazing experience. Curious to see how he has managed to keep the experience on a 10, we had a chat with him. 

The Lagos nightlife scene is already quite established. So what inspired you to create another experience?

My friend Lala introduced me to South in 2019, so I didn’t exactly create the experience. She said to me, “Chiby, do you want to make extra money?” and I was like sure, but I knew nothing about throwing parties. However, when I came on board, I wanted to create budget-friendly vibes for people. No box, no minimum spend, just premium enjoyment. 

Interesting. What does a typical south weekend look like for you?

I have a group chat with my entire South team. The accountant, the manager and the people at the bar. I’ll send them information during the week about the hosts, the sponsors, and whatnot. Just to make sure everything is perfect. 

On Friday, I get here as early as 7 pm. I like to be there before the first set of guests arrive, so I can welcome them. From their demeanor, I can tell if they’re regulars or not. If they’re not, I always go the extra mile to ensure they’re eased into the setting. As the night progresses, I just try to ensure everything is perfect, make sure the bar is serving drinks promptly, and that people are having fun. 

Enjoying a great time at South doesn’t cost much. I’m curious, how do you run without making any losses?

When you create a great vibe, people will spend money. Most times, it’s not that people don’t want to spend, but when they come out and the vibe is dead, they won’t. Other times, they plan not to spend much and they end up doing that because they like the vibe.

There is no minimum spend at South because we want people to feel comfortable, without any pressure. So when the vibe is right, the music is great; the people spend. Also, we try to get sponsors to help cover some of the expenses of the night to avoid making any losses.

That’s quite a strategy. I love that South has an effective safety policy. How do you implement that?

We get 3 bouncers every South Friday to ensure that things run smoothly. For example, it took a while for people to adhere to the no-smoking policy, but we eventually effected that. South’s major vibe is homey and comfortable, so we prioritize that before anything else.

What’s the craziest story you have about a south night?

The escapades! The stories are wild. And they leave me very shocked. But I love that people find it cozy enough to want to experience intimacy with other people here. Plus, I also kinda shot my shot with my girlfriend here.

Oh okay. So, go to South to fall in love, noted. Is there any pressure to keep up with a certain standard of vibes?

Yes, and no. A couple of South nights ago, it rained badly, and at about 8:30 pm; it was still relatively empty. But I always have faith in South lovers, so amidst the pressure, I’m relieved that people will show up and have a great time.

That’s incredible. So what are the plans for South in the long run?

I want South to be the hub of entertainment. That’s the kind of brand we’re trying to develop. We already have South social every two weeks, R&B nights by South is once a month. The goal is to have you come on a Wednesday for an open-mic night, then come on a Thursday for a different event, and on Friday for South social, that’s the level we’re trying to attain. 

All pictures taken by Oyindamola Adedipe

Jacqueline Alabi
Jacqueline Alabi
Jacqueline Alabi is a Nigerian content writer and storyteller, passionate about amplifying stories about the African creative industry. Outside work, Jacqueline's favorite pastime is watching rom-coms and pretending to be the main character in them. A true Gen-Z babe, she believes that soft work will always be greater than hard work, so she balances both.