Nightlife in Cairo is a sticky field of unpredictable twists and turns – as the Tap has found it recently – and while there’s plenty of demand in Egypt’s capital, it really is true that tomorrow is promised to no one.
Cairo’s bar scene isn’t at its best right now, but it certainly isn’t at its worst and as we move into a new year filled with hope, however faint, said scene is at least becoming more diverse as Cairo continues to be a melting pot of the weird and the wonderful – although mostly the weird. Look out for these five bars this year – they could well become your go-to for you boozy needs.
Having swooped in and taken the amazing space that La Bodega once occupied on Zamalek’s 26th of July Street, it’s been almost a year since we first heard murmurings of U Bistro & Bar. With Rawy Rizk of Amici fame standing as one of the brains behind it, Cairenes were rubbing their hands like addicts at the promise of a sophisticated haunt with good booze and good food and although we had to wait, it looks like it’s going to be everything we expected.
When VENT closed, many wept a single solitary tear at what could have been. The Downtown bar of all things alternative had big dreams – not unlike Zigzag, which opened in September under the direction of Marc Wahba and Alex Chesnais. It’s taken a little while for Zigzag to find its footing, but it’s quickly become a hotspot for Cairo’s coolest cats, with the bar working towards a schedule that will feature live music during the week and the best DJs (think Aly B, Minus T, Aly Goede, Baher et al) on weekends.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Mohandiseen’s Underground emerged unnoticed at first. But as the weeks come and go, the level of entertainment has been surging with the bar having played host to everyone from crooners like Ahmed Harfoush and Mostafa Rizk, to acts such as Eslam El Sha’ary, Reggang and Blufrank, as well special nights for UK label, Glamour Punk, which saw the likes of Minus T take to the decks and the likes of Tamer Auf still to come.
“No frills, just fun” is the tag that came with the opening of Maadi’s newest bar, Cheers. Located inside Abou El Sid on Road 7, this cosy bar is the brainchild of two nightlife stalwarts, Ahmed Harfoush and Amr Hosny. Leaning towards an English pub style, Cheers is more suited to one of the evenings that starts off as ‘a quick drink after work’ and then, in the blink of an eye, you wake up somewhere strange and find photos on your phone of yourself doing karaoke with someone you can’t recall ever meeting – you know what I’m talking about. Try the sangria.
Hold on a second, let me explain myself. The Le Pacha 1901 name has seen better days, but the newer, slicker set-up at Sheikh Zayed’s Arkan Mall is a far cry from the antiquated boat in Zamalek and one name stands above all at Le Pacha West – Johnny’s. It was a largely quiet 2015 at Johnny’s until the third quarter of the year saw the bar relaunch with a new found energy – one that has seen it become the go-to for residents of 6th of October City and Sheikh Zayed, thanks to its karaoke nights and bookings such as Amr Hosny, Amie Sultan, Fairouz T. and more. Give it a try – you might like it.
By Lance Uppercut