“After winning a battle, sharpen your Sword”
I think this has to be one of my favourite African Proverbs, and it also must be the reason why I didn’t argue when the Co-founder of Printivo.com reached out that I helped plan a day long retreat for the production arm of the company.
Printivo undoubtedly is the largest online printing company in Nigeria but the fact that they are still on the quest to give the best in terms of service through strengthening their staff is something I find really commendable.
Two options came to mind:
Lekki Conservation centre
It was popular, Plus I wanted them to have a conducive atmosphere to talk and conclude the retreat with adventure.
(yeah, I struggled with the pronunciation too)
Since I wanted something really out of the ordinary for the team of 12, I felt this barely known hideout could be an option, so I decided to check it out as I’ve only seen it on Instagram.
So I opted for the latter. I needed to go look up the place to ensure it’s fit enough for what the team wanted.
Discovering this hideout was quite easy (at least easier than unhooking a bra). It’s at the basement of Retail hub, 33 town planning way Ilupeju (same complex as Spar). A bike from Oshodi or Onipanu can take you there for just N200. The Spar at Ilupeju too is quite popular, you’d barely miss your way. All you need do is enter the compound, then walk past the entrance of Spar (on the right) and go down through the staircase which leads to the basement.
Subterraneailp will be staring at you once you turn left.
The first word which came to my head was ‘Ki-Lo-De!’
This place is just perfect for you to run away from prying eyes. The interior made me look smaller than I thought I was. Yes, it was really wide. It brought back the memory of my first time in the basement of Tejuosho complex in Yaba- sparsely lit with an aura of ‘codedness.
The whole space is cleanly split such that there wasn’t a visible partition but it was obvious that on the right was the bar, food and gaming area while the casual boutique sprawled to the left with shirts and shoes hung on shelves and hangers.
For reasons least known by me, I felt like I was in downtown America. The carefully polished chairs parried the flashes from the bulbs to frames of my glasses which in turn diverted them elsewhere. Amazing art pieces hung unaligned at every eating corner. I could have sworn the place wouldn’t be far from ordinary without them.
At my right was a windowless octagon bar which did well in separating the long ordering table from the eating area at the top right corner. If properly filled, the whole eating area will contain comfortably 100 people.
I watched in awe before bothering to greet the middle-aged man who doubled as the manager and chef of Subterraneailp.
Manager: hi Good afternoon sir. How may I help you today?
Me: I’m Tunde. Good afternoon… so I just want to know how you roll here.
Manager: we don’t charge for using our space. All you need to do is pay for what you eat or Drink.
“Noted”, I said softly as my eyes caught the menu board hung just above the ordering table. The menu was relatively affordable so I decided to test how good the food is by ordering Toasted Ham and Chicken with Mocha Frappuccino.
The manager assured all will be ready in less than 15 minutes and he ensured I didn’t wait longer than the promised time. While I waited for my food, I feasted on the precious works of art surrounding me. I marveled at a particular shelf on whose body numerous vintage shoes hung carefully.
Food arrived and I devoured every bit of the Ham and sipped till the last drop of the Frappuccino. Whether or not it tasted good, I could barely tell. All I knew was that I could have bought two of the Ham for better decision-making.
Decent is the right word to qualify the quality of service at Subterraneailp.
I had enough liberty to savour every minute without any disturbance whatsoever from neither the attendant nor other fun seekers. All I did when I needed help was snap my fingers.
It felt so cool.
In all I’d say confidently that Subterraneailp is superb for:
- A memorable first/blind date
- Coded meeting
- Remote Workspace
- Partial Solitude
As always, I’d be making use of a university GPA system, hence will be assigning 3 units to Customer care/service, and 2 units each to Food and Ambiance.
Second class lower.
Will I go again? Of course, I will tell my babe I just figured another place we can always drink and talk about us without anybody prying on our privacy.