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O Bar: Ladies' Night at the Fairmont Nile City in Cairo
We always get excited when a new bar opens up in Cairo. We get especially excited when said bar is located in the Fairmont Nile City. Prior to its opening, O Bar was already the talk of the town, not least because of its creative launch invitations; they were so exclusive they became the most sought after invites in town. After the grand opening, O bar launched Ladies’ Night on Tuesdays, offering free drinks and snacks to the Cairo’s glitterati. After hearing this we couldn’t help but go there ourselves to check it out.
O Bar is located in the lower lobby of the hotel. As soon as you walk in just follow the music and you can’t go wrong. The huge black and white entrance leads you in to find the electric blue bar in front of you. The first thing that is striking about O Bar is the space. The venue is relatively big and is made up of distinctive areas. Apart from a dance floor there is an area with booths, the bar, as well as another room towards the back with seats for those who want to escape the herds for a bit. We fell in love with the walls covered with pictures of well-known celebrities interspersed with the dark purple and cream stripes. The design gives an edgy touch to the place. Above the bar is a mirrored ceiling which we advise ladies with low-cut tops not to stand underneath!
Tuesday nights can get really busy and being a lady indeed paid off because it meant we got our complimentary Cuvée mimosas.
The resident DJ at O Bar is DJ Moody, though we’ve promised the occasional special guest. If said guests are of the same calibre as DJ Amr Hosny who played at the opening night, then we have nothing to complain about. Either way, the music is still generally good with a mixture of commercial, house and r&b. The atmosphere at O Bar can best be described as glamorous. At the time of our visit the ladies really went all out and were dressed up in their finest outfits.
Apart from our complimentary drinks we tried a Screwdriver (96LE) and a Long Island iced tea (93LE). The latter was one of the best we’ve ever had in this city. Unfortunately though, the second time round it was prepared with a little less love and tasted considerably worse in comparison. The Screwdriver was mixed with fresh orange juice and had a substantial amount of Vodka in it. Cocktail lovers will be pleased because O Bar has an extensive cocktail menu.
The club tends to get crowded which can be a bit claustrophobic when you are stuck in front of the bar. However, the venue is big enough to wander around when you want to escape. Overall the atmosphere and crowd are a joyful bunch who jump and dance around instead of sipping on their drinks with long faces and waiting for the photographer to spot them. Tuesday nights are already legendary around town and rumour has it that O Bar still has a lot more surprises in store.
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.