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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.
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.