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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Happy City: Downtown Cairo Rooftop Bar
Happy City’s rooftop is expansive with two large corner tables that are perfect for large groups. Its atmosphere lives up to its name: the rooftop is lit up with red and green holiday lights and bizarre yet whimsical decorations like stuffed parrots hang on the walls. Once you sink into the comfy chairs and take in the leisurely environment, you will probably not want to leave.
A full menu is available at Happy City: main courses include steak, kofta and shish kabab, and range from 20LE to 25LE. A variety of soup is also on offer for 5LE, while salads average at 4LE. Nothing on the menu particularly caught this reviewer’s attention, so we decided to stick to the free mezzas. With every time that this reviewer has visited the bar, the mezza selection differs; but it is always served with stale bread. However, to their credit, the bread still tastes okay and is strangely addictive. And it’s free.
Mezzas include chopped boiled potatoes with seasonings, sliced cucumbers and carrots, mish(incredibly pungent cheese), and bissara (made with split peas). The waiters replenish the mezzas as needed regardless of whether you order more drinks or not. Drinks options include wine and a variety of beers– a Stella costs 15LE. We recommend sticking to drinks, shisha and the mezzas; and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when the cheque arrives.
Shisha is only available in apple and meassel, but it is still a win at Happy City. We had to wait for a while for it to be served, as the shisha man was apparently stuck in traffic. It was worth the wait, though; as the shisha was delicious and the waiter attentively replaced the coals before we even had to ask.
Happy City is the type of bar that you can linger in for hours. The waiters are never pushy and the tables rarely seem to fill up. The crowd always seems calm and down-to-earth; patrons include everyone from endearing older tourists to businessmen. Even though there isn’t anything particularly exceptional about Happy City, we plan to return time and time again.
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Cairo, located just a few minutes’ walk from the Naguib Metro stop, Happy City rooftop bar – of the Happy City Hotel – offers a chill, relaxed place to spend a night out with friends.
Walking into the lobby of the hotel we were somewhat worried we’d be in for a disappointing night, with fake flower door curtains and the 70s style décor of the rest of the lobby, but stepping out on the seventh floor rooftop bar, we were pleasantly surprised.
Happy City is spacious, with large tables and comfortable chairs scattered around; there were already several groups enjoying the open air, even though we had arrived rather early in the evening. Plastic covers protected patrons from the chill of the night, but a comfortable breeze was still blowing through and the plastic didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. In warmer months the rooftop would have a fantastic view.
Happy City’s décor is nothing particularly special, but it is comfortable and laidback – encouraging patrons to stay for hours and hours. The music mostly consists of Arab pop, but it largely faded into the background, allowing us to concentrate on our conversation. The other patrons were a mixed bag; a collection of tourists and ex-pats to locals. This isn’t really a place to meet new people though, since most people were concentrated on their own group and the tables are widely spaced apart.
On a side note, we found that the bathrooms were not kept in stock or particularly clean.
We settled in and called for the waiter, who explained that there weren’t any menus for us to look at. Deciding to go with Cairo staples, we ordered a round of Stellas (15LE) and Heinekens (20LE). After taking our orders the waiter quickly returned, drinks and complementary table snacks in tow. We found that the snacks at Happy City are a step up from those usually offered in bars, with a selection of chickpeas, tirmis, carrots and cucumbers. We saw other tables with fresh bread and dips, and at our request, our server was happy to provide us with those treats as well.
However, we weren’t as impressed with service; the Stellas weren’t as cold as they could have been and we had to really work to flag down the waiter when we wanted to order another round.
We ordered both the apple and peach flavoured shisha (5LE) to find that the shisha is a definite highlight at Happy City. Though it took quite a while to arrive at our table, it was definitely much better than other shisha we’ve had around Cairo, and the price absolutely can’t be beat. The shisha attendant also did a great job keeping the coals hot all night.
We quite enjoyed our time at Happy City and are planning to make it a constant in our routine. Though the service wasn’t great that night, the prices are good, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the people are chill. Happy City is the perfect place to whittle away the hours with a couple of friends over some good conversation.