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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.
With many of the most frequented bars in Cairo located in the city's international chain hotels, the lesser-known inns are understandably overlooked when it comes to nightlife. However, such hotels develop a certain, charm while enduring the test of time, and manage to establish themselves as the city's best kept secrets.
Located on the corner of Tahrir Street in Dokki, El Tonsy Hotel boasts a rooftop café-bar that has grown in popularity as a result of its moderate prices and magnificent Nile view. Stepping out of the elevator on the 18th floor, visitors must walk through what appears to be the venue's shisha storage space, before reaching the terrace. The view is undoubtedly the highlight of the place and it certainly provides relief from the immediately obvious shortcomings of Brown Lounge.
Requesting a menu, the waiter handed us a flimsy and greasy booklet which appeared to be on the verge of collapsing into single pages.
The menu seemed full of a wide variety of meals including cheese burgers (14LE), beef or chicken shawerma (11LE-18LE) and taamia (7LE). Salads include green (9LE), Greek (12LE), chicken Caesar (14LE) and an assortment of local dips (6LE/each). The menu also offers a variety of tagines, along with meat and chicken platters.
At first, we were intending to order lentil soup (10LE) and stuffed vine leaves (14LE). However, we were visited numerous times by the waiter to be told that these, and the majority of other options, were in fact unavailable. Spring rolls (11LE) were recommended to us, and we opted for Arabiata pasta (14LE), with penne rather than spaghetti.
With local beers (15LE) and a small selection of wines readily available, it appears food is rarely ordered at Brown Lounge, with most patrons opting for a good drink and smoke by the Nile view instead. Rather than alcohol, we finished our meal with an enjoyable cup of green tea (8LE).
The simple dishes of pasta and spring rolls took almost an hour to arrive; unfortunately, the long wait came to no avail. The pasta was both undercooked and chewy whilst the red sauce topping was tasteless and overly salted. Generously sized, the four, large spring rolls were stuffed with carrots and lettuce, and although the better of the two dishes, they would have benefitted from a dipping sauce of sorts. But in the end, this is a bar, and we're always grateful for cheap beer.
Brown lounge is evidently not a place best suited to fill an empty stomach. However, if you’re ever in the mood to enjoy a relaxing drink with a gorgeous view, this is the place to be.