Whenever you hear the words Tabla or SKY Egypt you automatically have to think of the name Wahdan, the owner of both brands, and the person who is definately changing the face of going out in Egypt, just in Q1 and Q2 2012, we are talking about 3 New venues in Cairo alone, and 1 more in Soukhna. Wahdan has given CairoGossip this exlcusive interview, on his expansion plans, and we also got up and personal there. So here it is thE WAHDAN INTERVIEW !!!!
When did you start in the event organizing business?
1996, however the first daily continuous event was with the launch Emaar’s Marassi, before that I use to do one-off events and other daily ones but like Khulkhal and Seqouia Ramadan tents
What do you do other than Tabla, we hear that you own a lot of the advertising billboard on the streets?
Yes it’s true, we own one of the largest private outdoor advertising agency, called “dan advertising”, after the last three letters of my name. We only do placements in a huge number of unique places, such as the desert road, we also were the first to introduce UNI-POLL billboards, when they started in Mohandseen.
What are the plans for Eid, any teasers?
7 days, starting from Sunday, we are discussing getting the Digital Monkeys but the date is not set yet, but basically every day would have a different DJ alone with our resident DJ Tony who does the Arabic hits. Digital Monkeys are famous for their performances with their drums and fire dancers. We are still waiting confirmation from Samba, who is not answering his phone, but I love Samba so I am going to keep calling him.
al 3awamma and the bar ? any new teasers on it ?
The name of the bar, is going to be the LONG BAR, so all of Tabla, 3awama and the long bar are opening in 2012. We are also announcing two new surprises after EID, another bar maybe. The announcement will be a blast for everyone.
And on unrelated news, Tabla Beach bar in El Ain Bay is coming very soon in early 2012.
What happens to Tabla during the winter season?
Tabla is open 7 days a week 365 days a year. We are open all the time! Full operation!
Any plans for new years?
Would be using the high ceiling of Tabla, and it would be a blast like last year. I was seriously thinking of bringing a huge amount of 2OULAs, where everyone before coming in the party would break one since of 2011 was a bad a year according to everyone, like the great the Greek tradition of breaking the plates, and well we are the 2oula country, breaking 2oula takes away bad luck.
Skybar last two years was on fire! Are you an owner or was it just a franchise thing? What about the rumors of sky bar opening in Cairo in late 2012, in palm hills what can u say about that?
We own Skybar Egypt, the official name is called SKY EGYPT, I own sky Egypt with a deal with the management of Skybar Beirut, Sky bar Beirut has in our contract the option that within 18 month from the start of SKY CAIRO operation to buy shares in SKY EGYPT. Also we have a contract with sky management with Sky Beirut, that we are going to open 7 outlets together in Egypt not only sky bar but other stuff like bar, lounges and clubs. Sky Cairo is just one of the 7, Tabla. El 3awama and Long Bar are not included Sky Egypt though, so in total we are talking ten new venues!
So how come we never see you around Cairo? Whats your favorite place to go out here?
In Cairo I hang out in two places, mostly Pub 28, because this is one of the places that I feel has a real character to it and Andrea of course. These are my two favorite places, I head out to the pub like 2-3 times a week and now sometimes I go to Apertivo. The problem of Egypt is there are some places, you don’t know if you are in club, pub or a restaurant. However there is one that I like a lot but I don’t go because I probably sleep early which is Cairo Jazz club, I have only been there once or twice and it was nice.
Whats the most interesting thing you’ve seen happen at Tabla?
Birthday of Hussien Salem, it was a blast, I don’t use belly dancers, we got him belly dancers and a cake in a shape of an ass, it was a real fun night, we didn’t this before and we wont do it again, but Hussienis one of my best friends, he always stood beside me during the opening of Tabla, so I decide for his birthday I would give him a different night
Something tells me you prefer Arabic music to English? Do u agree with that?
I personally do, and so does the crowd of Tabla and Skybar, I make sure that I mix different ages, and when you mix different ages the older crowd ask for Arabic Music, when we did the Skybar they refused to put Arabic in the beginning, then in the first hour of the opening they were wondering why the crowd was down, so we put Arabic, and as soon as we did that the people went wild. The Arabic music is like an energy booster for the crowd, when English plays they are dancing but after a while they get bored and they start talking, but as soon as we play Arabic you just feel the vibe picked up. And now mostly allthe clubs play Arabic music.
Your door selection is very strict, ever make any enemies?
People don’t like the door selection, but if you are on the inside you love it
The door selection is to select people that are compatible together, people that you know how they react when they are drunk. I try to make the place a safe heaven, that guys would be comfortable sending their, sisters, wives, fiancés to it with out fear of them being harassed. If 8 girls come alone here, they would have fun because they know they would get hit on.
Two weeks ago, the weekend before 6th October, Tabla had 8 people inside the place but 140 were turned back, its not about filling up the place its about making enjoying themselves, at the end of those 8 people enjoyed themselves, if you turn your venue too commercial it wont last for a year, … People nowadays come from Cairo just to come for the night, so does the people around the soukhna area, they wouldn’t do that unless they know they enjoy themselves, sometimes I let girls one or two that look odd a little bit to make a noise, its meant, its not that I had to it’s a strategy that I have.
Sometimes I say no or ask them to wait outside for a bit to see the behavior of people on how would they react to the now, are they going to wait outside, are they going to go call their “friends” and “uncles” which doesn’t work with me, how are they looking at the girls, is it respectful or is it just sleazy, it’s part of the filtration process
Sometimes I say no based on the ratio between guys and girls, so sometimes I don’t let in guys because I know the ratio is not proper, it has nothing to do with you good or bad, it has to look proper, and its all experience its all by experience and I have 15 years of event management and advertising …