Nothing can quite match up to Cairo’s nightlife, and we’ve seen out share of the good, the bad and the ugly. As we look back at the year with fondness, we’ve compiled a list of the bars and pubs that have impressed us this year.
The saviour of the Dokki bar scene, Melouk sits comfortably in a sleepy street that by all intents and purposes shouldn’t have a bar. That won’t matter once you step into the dark, classy ambiance, though. Only months after it opened, Melouk has become a firm favourite with Cairenes who want to relax after work, grab a quick bite or party at their special DJ nights. Impeccable service, top cocktails and a trendy-professional crowd makes Melouk one of the best additions to Cairo of 2011.
With its classy setting on the Corniche in Giza, Yasso oozes class and luxury. Its indoor and outdoor spaces make it perfect for either a relaxing evening or a night of clubbing. For the former, Yasso also offers a huge range of weird and wacky shisha flavours. That’s only really a side note, because the crowds really flock to Yasso for the imported alcohol and great club nights.
Cairo Jazz Club
Love it or hate it, it’s usually the best place to end up on any given night of the week. 2011 has seen Cairo Jazz Club exceed its own sky-high standards with the quality of music, DJs and live performances. We’ve witnessed the rises of NeoByrd, the Percussion Show, Soopar Lox and many more, and revelled in regular DJ-ing master-classes with DJs Ramy, Tito, Samba and lots more. As always, CJC finished off the year with a bang; the Candy Cane Christmas Eve party and the Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree charity event were superb, as was the Beach it Up New Year’s Eve party. Add to all of this the fast-as-bunnies staff, eclectic crowd and the simple element of good alcohol, and you have a pretty unbeatable formula. Because you see, Cairo Jazz Club doesn’t do anything by the half; it’s a case of go hard or go home.
Three years on, and Tamarai at Nile City Towers is still the place to be seen- whether you’d care to admit it or not. As a prime setting for creative cocktails (try the Tamarai Martini), a dash of Thai fusion grub and some casual-and-not-in-anyway-fanatical-or-stalker-ish celebrity spotting, Tamarai is cooler than cool. That’s reflected in the 250LE minimum, but you have to pay over the odds for quality, and that’s what you get. From the food and drinks to the atmosphere and DJ favourites like Amr Hosny, Samba and Feedo, Tamarai has oozed class from day one, and there’s been no slack in 2011.
There’s no denying the lure and charm of Cairo’s baladi bars. The Downtown atmosphere and cheap beer is a guilty pleasure and no more so than at cabaret Sherezade. Once a lively hotspot for Cairo’s celebrities, Sherezade has lost much of its grandeur but none of its charm. The large seating area is flanked by a stage on one side and a balcony with a set of stairs on the other; both worthy of a night of belly dancing fun.
The Dusit Thani Lakeview in 5th Settlements is among one of the most lavish hotels in Cairo; a quality that is reflected no more aptly than in its Blue Rose Bar. The bar’s dark blue and black decor illuminates the space into some sort of shadowy psychedelia. You won’t be tripping though, as the very well made cocktails are all priced at no more than 70LE.
We can’t really imagine Cairo without Purple. Sitting like a little cave on the Zamalek Corniche, the club’s ladies’ nights and r&b nights in particular keep party-goers glued. People still complain about the 150LE minimum, but any complaints quickly fade away when your feet pull you to the dance floor- especially when DJ Feedo is on the decks.