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Cairo Rumours: One of the Only Bars in Mohandiseen
The neighbourhood of Mohandiseen isn’t exactly known for its vivid nightlife. Though a safe bet for shopping, eating or having a cup of coffee, it is not the first place that comes to mind when going for a night out. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any bars in Mohandiseen. Cairo Rumours is located on Syria Street just above Asian restaurant Chopsticks.
After entering, take the stairs up, and you will immediately find yourself on the dance floor of the venue. At the time of our visit, the place was extremely dark and there weren’t many other guests present. There are a lot of high tables and some seats at the bar. A mirrored wall gives the impression is bigger than it actually is. We settled for one of the high tables in a corner. Tables are very close to one another, and so it wasn’t the most comfortable seating arrangement. Despite being one of the few customers, it took the staff a while to finally deliver our menu.
The menu was one big collection of grammar and spelling mistakes such as; ‘coctal’, ‘bloody merry’, ‘Black Russiar’ and ‘Bena Colade’. We opted for a Negroni (50LE), Margarita (50LE) and a Long Island (60LE).
After waiting a good fifteen minutes, our drinks finally arrived and this is where the disappointment began. The Negroni had the cough syrup taste it's supposed to have, but it was a bit overdone, and ironically made us cough and splutter. The Margarita was more of a slush puppy gone wrong, and we struggled to find any alcohol in it. The Long Island however, was high on spirits with an overdose of gin. Although it tasted a bit bitterer than it should, it definitely got our blood running. Throughout the night, we were presented with a complimentary nut mix.
The music at the time of our visit was pretty bland, and actually stopped every once in a while (usually just as we were screaming to each other how disappointing the drinks were and how we didn’t like the place). In the meantime, the resident DJ was getting ready to set up. He plays every Monday and and Friday from 11PM and sticks to r&b and hip-hop. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there is live entertainment. There is also a small food menu with small Asian dishes prepared by downstairs restaurant Chopsticks.
Though this isn’t the worst place we’ve ever been to, we weren’t too impressed. The venue lacked atmosphere and the drinks were concocted very poorly. However, it is the only bar in close proximity to the area, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to knock down a beer here. As long as you stay away from the ‘coctals’, you’ll be fine.
While the number of bars and clubs in Cairo is always on the increase, the nightlife scene in the capital is somewhat cliquey congregations, some with expensive minimums and tough door policies.
Not blessed with a bar scene to speak of, the Korba district of Heliopolis has recently welcomed the Garden.
Having suffered at the wrath of Facebook-users of Cairo for an alleged screening process that pries into Facebook profiles, we were glad our photos were up to par, managing to secure our group a table mid-week. Situated at the end of a small alley, right next to the Coffeeshop Company, the Garden is spread over a large outdoor patio and an indoor – but open fronted – bar area.
Complete with bare-brick walls, hanging Edison light bulbs, copious numbers of potted plants and charming bright red shutters on the exterior windows of the building above, the Garden has been meticulously designed to be chic, contemporary and stylish for its mixed-bag of fashionable clientele. With DJ Hishram Zahran on the decks at the time of our visit, the place was filled with chilled out dance beats, at a decent level so that conversation was still a possibility.
Despite being mid-week, the bar was packed, with most of the crowd standing inches away from one another and the staff running around like headless chickens. Choosing from a fully stocked bar and a long list of cocktails, we ordered several Smirnoff vodka (70LE) and Red Bulls (35LE), as well as a glass of chilled, Omar Khayyam white wine (50LE). We also took our own bottle (250LE for bouchon), and were afforded ice buckets to keep it cool.
Whilst we could appreciate the place was busy, waiting around 45 minutes – and having to nag constantly for our drinks every time – seemed a little ridiculous and the same gruelling process applied when ordering the check.
From a full menu of international appetisers, main meals and desserts, we opted for an Oriental sampler as a sharing platter (80LE). Also taking forever to arrive, and served cold, the best thing about the herby sogo’, crisp cheese and meat sambousak, and rich liver, was the attractive presentation on a wooden chopping board. We also spotted a number of impressive-looking, thick hamburgers floating around, whilst hearing complaints regarding long waiting times from a large number of diners.
While the Garden’s energy is buzzing, and the aesthetics are undoubtedly fabulous, the service most certainly is not – yet.