Baladi bar hopping is one of the most exciting things to do in Cairo at night. Forget about the expensive clubs with dress codes and minimum charges; if you want a guaranteed evening of laughter, excitement and good conversations; then look no further than Downtown Cairo. With baladi bars all over Cairo, it is sometimes difficult to decide where to go, with many venues hidden in obscure locations. One of the easiest bars to find is El Muriaz on Adly Street. Located on the corner close to Opera Square, the bar’s red exterior is easy to spot. If you can’t find it; search for the Stella sign.

Supposedly named after its original owner, El Muriaz has two floors with red and gold walls. Stella posters hang on one wall, while a large mirror hangs on the other. An LCD screen is placed on top of empty beer crates. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the show Californication was being screened, making it all the more peculiar.

An A/C unit provides much-needed cool in the bar. Simple seats around wobbly wooden tables usually carry a predominantly male clientele, but women won’t be harassed or intimidated in this nonchalant, relaxed watering hole.

As is custom in Downtown Cairo bars, small snacks are served to you when you sit down. The cool thing about El Muriaz is that you don’t get a bowl of greasy bar nuts or chips but a plate of cucumbers, salad and potatoes. You can have a bottle of Stella beer for 11LE, Heineken for 14LE, or local brandy VAT for 15LE and a shisha for 5LE. The shisha was honestly one of the best that this reviewer has ever sampled in Cairo. The only available flavour is apple; there’s nothing fancy or exotic about this shisha, but it’s excellent.

Though it might be rude, the best thing to do here is eavesdrop on other people’s conversations The regulars are friendly and sociable, and they won’t mind if you join in the conversation.

When you’re out bar-hopping around Downtown Cairo; make sure to pay a visit to El Muriaz; it’s the perfect place to cool down in and enjoy a relaxed drink.