A staple component of Ramadan in Cairo most definitely has to be shisha. While Egyptians love their water pipes all year round, the holy month seems to draw in even those who aren't usually hooked on the hookah – pun intended.
This year, while many of the erected Ramadan tents require somewhat hefty minimum charge costs, there are still other options available to puff your night away at without commiting to a full-out sohour and breaking the bank.
With not one but two locations in Zamalek, Aboul Feda Street and 26th of July Street, Wel3a has proven to be one of the more dependable shisha spots to visit. With claims such as, "undying, flavourful shisha that blows strong for two straight hours", both branches come highly recommended this Ramadan.
This colourful little Heliopolis café has a lot to offer from all you can smoke shisha to an endless choice of board games to play, as well as large blackboards for Pictionary. They also have a nice variety of snacks to choose from, just in case your fetar wasn't satisfactory enough.
Taking over a stretch of pavement next to Lido on Shagaret El Dor, El 7ara's popularity is soaring and we think its unique set-up may have something to do with it. The pavement-come-courtyard-come-café is reminiscent of what a traditional ahwa is; outdoor, loud and basic. If you get hungry, 3agina next door offers some fresh feteer in all sorts of varieties.
An iconic café in Khan El Khalili, El Fishawy gives you the chance to experience the true essence of an ahwa and become enveloped in the spirit of Ramadan that fills the area. With a very basic menu of hot beverages, fresh juices and shisha, also take the chance to do a little shopping from one of the many street vendors you're likely to come across.
Forever the exception to the rules, we can never recommend Sequoia enough when it comes to looking for a place to eat, drink and appreciate the beautiful scenery available in Cairo. The Nile side restaurant does require a bit more of an investment – there's a 150LE minimum charge – but the relaxing atmosphere, endless menu choices and shisha do make it a highly recommendable way to spend a Ramadan evening.
Have a great Ramadan!
N.B: Smoking is bad for your health. But you should already know that.