2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

In Accra, a rocky ocean retreat with a briny breeze

Photo courtesy of Osikan Ocean Rock Retreat

In Accra, a rocky ocean retreat with a briny breeze

Beer in Accra

The Gulf of Guinea churns against ochre rocks as the sun sinks into the band of cloud over the sea; romantic sunsets don’t happen here every day. Fishing boats bob in the distance on the grey-blue water. Sitting around plastic tables, groups of friends chat, some in suits, some in t-shirts, some in national dress. Others sit with their beers perched on the low walls, gazing out towards Antarctica or America.

It’s rough and ready, with cracked tiles and sandy concrete underfoot, but Osikan—until recently known as Osekan—is something of an Accra institution. A dusty, bumpy, unpaved carpark—an informal ground for half-a-dozen football games—sprawls like a no-man’s land off the main road, lined with banks and public buildings. It’s an unpromising prospect, so no surprise that many pass Osikan by. But those willing to trudge in the sun across the bleak expanse to an almost-hidden flight of stairs at the far corner are invariably inducted into the ranks of Osikan aficionados.

Tall and chunky bottles of Club and Star make their way from to tipplers spread around the ramshackle terrace from the open-sided central bar. The beers, swigged from the bottles or sipped from flimsy plastic cups, aren’t much to write home about. But they suffice after a hot day, and are a suitable accompaniment to kebabs grilled on Osikan’s barbecue. When the wind picks up, the wind is lightly suffused with sea spray.

Ghana does not make the most of its long and sandy coastline. Much of central Accra is cut off from the sea, and the windswept stretches of beach are too often litter-strewn. Some of the cliffs around Osikan are dotted with rubbish. The coastline beyond is punctuated with skeletal transmission towers. But it’s a rare spot to sit out, surrounded on three sides by sea, and take in the briny breeze.

Ghana is a peaceable country, and the bar captures some of its easygoing charm. The excitement that surrounded an oil boom earlier in the decade has died down, as economic growth rates have slipped from double figures and pressure has mounted on the budget of successive governments which have struggled to meet bold promises. But the country has kept ticking over, with peaceful changes of government in democratic elections that are the envy of some neighbors. Life goes on, and the drinkers in Osikan continue to clink bottles and enjoy their fortune at sharing one another’s company and the sea view.

Osikan Ocean Rock Retreat
off John Atta Mills High Street, near Enterprise House
+233 24 324 4803

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