These days it can difficult to find a place in Cairo to enjoy a beer without breaking the bank. Recent price hikes and VAT increases have seen the cost of alcohol soaring in recent weeks. But fear not, dear reader for the Cairo Gossip guide to bargain beer haunts is here to save the day and your hard-earned cash.
Here is our list of the top five Cairo bars where you can damage your liver without breaking the bank.
Le Bistro (8 Hoda Shaarawy Street)
Located on Downtown’s Hoda Shaarawy Street, Le Bistro truly is a diamond in the rough. The slightly-too-swish Downtown drinking haunt is a breath of fresh air when you step off the dusty streets of Wust El Balad. The ambiance is that of a New York hipster nightspot, but thankfully, the prices are not just for the cool kids, with a cold Stella costing just 27LE. Meanwhile a Sakkara will set you back 30LE and a bottle of Heineken retails for 26LE. Watch out for the pesky ‘plus plus’ but ultimately, Le Bistro is a laidback spot to hang with friends or that special someone without the need to take out a bank loan.
Lotus Hotel (12 Talaat Harb Street)
An oldie but a goodie – this 1960s relic on the capital’s Talaat Harb Street doesn’t look like much from the outside. But once you hop aboard the rickety elevator you will find yourself transported to a budget booze paradise frequented by the city’s starving artists and musicians. The decor is shabby, the lighting is bright but this is about as close to a Berlin-style hipster bar as one can expect to find in Cairo. Above all, the beer is cheap with frosty beers available from 25LE. If you get there early, be sure to check out the outdoor terrace. Otherwise you can enjoy the faded grandeur of this eclectic gem.
Cap D’or (31 Abdel Khaliq Tharwat Street)
(Image courtesy of Weird & Wonderful Cairo)
The former World War 1 British soldiers hangout on Abdel Khaliq Tharwat Street in Downtown. Cap D’or still offers reasonably priced beverages to thirsty throngs of (mostly male) beer drinkers. Granted, some of the regulars give the impression that they themselves may have survived the Great War, but the beer is cheap (23LE), the side dishes are tasty and the atmosphere is crowded yet comfortable.
Windsor Hotel (19 Alfi Bey Street)
If faded colonial grandeur is your bag then look no further than the Windsor Hotel on Downtown’s Alfi Bey street. The former British army officers’ club boasts one of the oldest manually operated elevators in the world and a bar packed with former colonial relics from days gone by. Meanwhile the prices also serve as a pleasant reminder of days gone by with all beers retailing for just 25 LE behind the bar. The Windsor provides the perfect spot for a quiet drink with friends or perhaps a Tinder date with a difference.
Stella Bar (Behind the kiosk on the corner of Talaat Harb and Huda Sharawi Street)
A few doors up from Le Bistro, Stella Bar is a lot less hipster and a lot more dive bar. The clientele ranges from young musicians and artists to your Dad or your bawab. Ice cold Stellas retail for 25LE and come with a serving of tasty side snacks. Stella Bar offers an authentic baladi bar experience with a bargain price tag.
Bonus tip: Many readers may wonder why foreigners’ Downtown favourite Horreya didn’t make the list. Despite a price-tag of 20LE for a bottle of Stella, the level of harrassment, misogyny and general rudeness from the head waiter towards female patrons mean this Bab el Louq nightspot is best avoided.
By Conor Sheils
(Header image: Christopher Rose/Stella)