Yet on arrival all the weird perceptions conceived in mind during the prolonged five minutes drive from the main road quickly vanish. Before you is a place with top-of-the-range cars parked disorderly like unwanted playthings.
The suburb is Hillside and the place is affectionately known by patrons as Pahuku.
Hillside Shopping Centre, as the place is officially known, has adopted the open-air entertainment concept that was popularised at Mereki in Warren Park.
Over the years more places in Harare have followed suit and gone open air like Zindoga in Waterfalls, Globetrotter in Westgate and Club Hide Out in Lochinvar among others. But somehow most of these places have either been run down and fallen out of favour with patrons or simply lost their lustre.
The place that is lively these days is Pahuku, which derives it’s name from the practice of roasting chickens.
A full bird costs US$7 and it is roasted for you on fire while you wait enjoying your drinks.
On arrival you would think there is a fashion competition of some sort. The cars, regalia, types of refreshments and even the women; everything is top-of-the-range.A tour of the place from midday towards sunset will certainly leave anyone dazzled by the surroundings.Skimpily dressed ladies are a common sight.
The people who frequent this place are often big spenders who seem careless with the money they blow at will. Alcohol is usually in abundance and revellers drink in the open, careless of the legal implications of public drinking.
“Sometimes people are raided by the police but you find that the raids are ineffective as people scamper into their cars and drive away only to come back after a while,” said an airtime vendor who declined to be named.
He however said people who resided in houses close to the shopping centre often complained about noise but little had been done about it.
One of the major challenges facing this place however has to do with ablution facilities. The bars and bottle stores at the centre have small facilities that cannot accommodate the huge numbers that frequent the place and many people end up relieving themselves in the open.
This exposes the general public, the revellers included, to numerous health hazards.
The place is also popular with lovers and is often frequented by those with “small houses”.
Such are the splendours and displeasures of what is probably Harare’s hottest outdoor joint.