For all the new bar, new venue and new party announcements that Cairo Gossip pedals, there seems to be an increasing number of announcements about closures these days. The last two years has seen Cairo nightlife lose the likes of Alchemy and La Bodega, and another of Egypt’s most unique hangout spots is facing closure. Earlier this month, co-owner and manager of Café Riche, Magdy Abdel-Malak, passed away, leaving the historic Downtown Cairo venue in limbo.
Since, Abdel-Malak’s untimely death, the cafe hasn’t been operating as normal, with regulars fearing that this could be the end of the line for a venue that first opened its doors in 1908 and was, in its heyday, a hotspot for Egypt’s coolest cats.
While the cafe-come-restaurant-come-hub-of-intellectual-exchange has seen better days, Café Riche has stood strong for over 100 years, seemingly impervious to the changes that Downtown Cairo has witnessed. The likes of Om Kolthoum and Sayed Darwish have performed there and it is understood that Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers used Café Riche as a rendezvous point in the lead up to the overthrow of King Farouk.
Though the legal status of Cafe Riche is now unclear, it’s rumoured that investors are already sniffing around on Talaat Harb Street.