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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.
While the number of bars and clubs in Cairo is always on the increase, the nightlife scene in the capital is somewhat cliquey congregations, some with expensive minimums and tough door policies.
Not blessed with a bar scene to speak of, the Korba district of Heliopolis has recently welcomed the Garden.
Having suffered at the wrath of Facebook-users of Cairo for an alleged screening process that pries into Facebook profiles, we were glad our photos were up to par, managing to secure our group a table mid-week. Situated at the end of a small alley, right next to the Coffeeshop Company, the Garden is spread over a large outdoor patio and an indoor – but open fronted – bar area.
Complete with bare-brick walls, hanging Edison light bulbs, copious numbers of potted plants and charming bright red shutters on the exterior windows of the building above, the Garden has been meticulously designed to be chic, contemporary and stylish for its mixed-bag of fashionable clientele. With DJ Hishram Zahran on the decks at the time of our visit, the place was filled with chilled out dance beats, at a decent level so that conversation was still a possibility.
Despite being mid-week, the bar was packed, with most of the crowd standing inches away from one another and the staff running around like headless chickens. Choosing from a fully stocked bar and a long list of cocktails, we ordered several Smirnoff vodka (70LE) and Red Bulls (35LE), as well as a glass of chilled, Omar Khayyam white wine (50LE). We also took our own bottle (250LE for bouchon), and were afforded ice buckets to keep it cool.
Whilst we could appreciate the place was busy, waiting around 45 minutes – and having to nag constantly for our drinks every time – seemed a little ridiculous and the same gruelling process applied when ordering the check.
From a full menu of international appetisers, main meals and desserts, we opted for an Oriental sampler as a sharing platter (80LE). Also taking forever to arrive, and served cold, the best thing about the herby sogo’, crisp cheese and meat sambousak, and rich liver, was the attractive presentation on a wooden chopping board. We also spotted a number of impressive-looking, thick hamburgers floating around, whilst hearing complaints regarding long waiting times from a large number of diners.
While the Garden’s energy is buzzing, and the aesthetics are undoubtedly fabulous, the service most certainly is not – yet.