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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.
Jewel of the Zamalek crown, the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino never ceases to dazzle, offering rich oriental vibes with a refined twist, especially this year with the hotel’s fancy Ramadan kheima, Som3a Basha.
A play on Khedive Ismail Pasha, who built the castle for a French Empress, the theme of the kheima is that of a castle setting with all its luxury coupled with the authentic feel of Egyptian street food served from carts and vendors.
As we walked past the Marriott Promenade Garden leading to the tent, we were struck by a surprisingly beautiful cool weather in dry July – a promising start to the night.
As we stepped inside, we were immediately taken by the elegant ambiance, stylish lanterns, beautiful castle inspired décor and smiling waiters.
We picked a table with a good view of the stage, and waited patiently for the Sohour buffet to begin (10.30PM). As we waited, we were offered the drinks Karkade (Hibiscus) and Tamr Hindy (Dates). The Karkade was bold in flavour, and tartness, and despite being slightly warm, it was refreshing. The Tamr Hindy was easy on the sugar and had a pleasing hint of bitterness that complimented it.
The live Takht show began soon after and we were transported – there was just something about the atmosphere, the spirit, the music and the night that made us forget how hungry we were.
When we did remember how hungry we were, and the buffet opened, we headed on over to check it out. All the food, except for the salads and desserts, was served in authentic street-carts with a kitschy, yet classic Egyptian feel to them.
We took a stroll down the aisle where the carts were, and had a good look at everything before we decided what to dive into. The buffet ranged from falafel and eggs, to grilled kofta and chicken. The salad selection consisted of assorted vegetables, dressings and yoghurt and though the selection provided no surprises, the food was quite flavoursome and we went back for seconds – of course.
No Ramadan sohour would be complete without shisha and we opted for Grape and Peach (30LE each). In terms of quality, both were bold and distinct, though the grape was a bit too harsh for our taste. In terms of coal maintenance, however, you’ll need to be patient – on the busier nights, the shisha attendants, are somewhat overwhelmed.
Then, as we started to feel a bit peckish, we went back for dessert and were met with a large selection of fruits and sweet Ramadan delights, our favourite of which was the Zalabya cart. You might have to time your dessert excursions, though, with the desserts quickly getting cold in the breezy weather.
Overall, the aura and the entertainment at Som3a Basha were delightful and, although not faultless, the Marriott has made good use of its space.