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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.
Located on Qasr El Nil Street, right next to Qasr El Nil Theatre in Downtown Cairo, VENT offers local culture enthusiasts an alternative to the better established bars and clubs in Cairo by labelling itself as both a bar and cultural space.
Taking over the venue that was once Arabesque, VENT is relatively easy to spot, with the sign of the previous bar remaining in place.
Offering a variety of culture events, from live music, film screenings, to site-specific plays, an entrance fee of 50LE is required on all nights except on Thursday when the fee gets bumped up to 150LE. Having recently celebrated a six-month anniversary, VENT is everything an ‘underground’ space should be.
The interior is characterised by lighting choice, utilising a stark contrast between the dark and intense lights during upbeat DJ performances, and more mellow and relaxing lighting during live musician performances. Contrasting the poster-decorated walls are old tile clad floors, emblematic of Downtown’s rich heritage.
A spacious bar takes up most of the facing wall once you enter, offering a range of drinks, with a Heineken going for 30LE and soft drinks for 15LE. There is also a decent-sized menu that includes a choice of mezza platters (40LE-65LE), nachos (30LE), sandwiches (30LE-50LE) and pastas (45LE).
We opted for a Club Sandwich (40LE) which was thick and juicy, stacked with fresh ingredients and served with deliciously thick-cut French fries.
Their nachos are a good on-the-go choice, though they could do with more generous dressings as we found the dish to be slightly dry as opposed to gooey and luscious.
However, VENT is not particularly about the food, but much rather about the show. A monthly schedule provides information on upcoming events and while VENT promises a range of cultural doings, music has for the most part taken over.
With live musicians such as PanSTARSS, Aya Metwalli and the Invisible Hands taking to the stage, as have quite a few local and international DJs, there have also been the more obscure of music nights such as the one featuring Maxime Denuc; a sound producer from France.
Though the music line-ups and their variety have given music buffs a reason to leave their house in search of new sounds, VENT's hosting of non-music events is somewhat lacking - a stark reality of Cairo's cultural landscape.
All in all, Vent has come as an uplifting change from the monotonous, musically bland nightlife scene in Cairo, securing a safe haven for those uninterested in pretentious attitudes, repetitive crowds and the 'thud, thud, thud' atmosphere of the city's most frequented bars.