Everyone’s telling us to do our part in rebuilding Egypt, but Stella has eclipsed any past and future achievements by their relentless renovations of Downtown baladi bars.
Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat and understand what the point of a Stella baladi bar renovation is. There’s really nothing to it. No tricks, no gimmicks, no bull. Every good baladi bar has a soul that harps back to a, let’s say, simpler time in Cairo. And that’s what Stella has kept at the core of these renovations. There’s a blasé charm about these bars that takes you straight out of the hustle and bustle of the streets, and straight into a different type of hustle and bustle.
There still exists a bleak impression of the baladi bar. It’s one that conjures up images of a dark and dusty space that is filled with a handful of dark and dusty regulars. To some extent, that image would be right, and we’ve been to more than a couple of bars in Downtown that eerily fit that description to a tee.
And so the Downtown Renovation Project has sought to transform these places into welcoming venues, without losing their gritty Egyptian charm. There’s no senseless dress-code, ridiculous couples policy or outrageous minimum; take a load off of your feet and have a beer.
This seemed to be the foundations upon which Stella organised a bar hop in to celebrate the successful renovations of nine bars in Downtown and Shobra. In true Egyptian style, twenty horses dragged twenty carriages filled with beer-thirsty monsters from Arabesque to Shobra Street, where Taverna, Baron and Ciao are all located within walking distance of each other. The promise of one free beer per bar only served to further enthuse the crowds, as all marvelled at the spanking new surroundings of each of the bars.
The first stop on the horse-and-carriage trip was Taverna (45 Shobra Street); a small cosy two-tiered bar. The area downstairs holds some tables and seats, but acts as no more than the corridor that leads to the stairs and larger second floor. It’s completely no-frills, but its newness is tangible.
Baroun (39 Shobra Street); is of similar build, whereas Ciao benefits from being on the large rooftop of the Happy Dreams Hotel (1 Ahmed Helmy Square). Eleven floors up is some way to go, but the large area is great for larger parties and the breeze is a perfect remedy for those frequent hot and sticky nights.
You won’t have to go too far for to find one of the new renovations; Stella has also unveiled five new baladi bars downtown which include Metrobol, Jamaica, El Count, Port Tawfik and Chino.
The only thing better than immersing yourself and your senses in life in Downtown Cairo, is to do so as you fling yourself from bar to bar and slowly but surely annihilate those senses into a haze. Stella lovers are truly being blessed.