Sign in using your account with
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Bar D'O: A Little Taste of New York in Zamalek
Newly opened Bar D’O is located inside the President Hotel, underneath the cocktail haven that is Amici. The name has already become the butt of many a joke. For instance, run the name through Google and you’ll end up with a video of a New York drag queen show. Plus, some Cairene’s have event taken to pronouncing it like the word ‘bardo’ – meaning ‘also’. However, step inside and you’ll find pictures of Brigitte Bardot on a chalkboard-menu and everything begins to make sense.
The bar is inspired by the Meatpacking District in New York and is designed using a distinct warehouse style. Red brick walls, exposed piping and minimal decoration are the main aesthetic features. The menu at Bar D’O is still under development so for the time being the chalkboard is where you can browse your options.
Bar D’O offers a variety of cocktails such as sangrias, mojitos and bellinis which are all served in jugs and jars; adding a twist to their presentation. Although all cocktails are 90LE, the jars are almost 700ml. The mojito served at Bar D’O might be one of the best we’ve had in Cairo. It had the perfect combination of sweetness and mint. However, the drink could have used another shot of rum.
In keeping to the theme, they also offer the New Yorker cocktail which is a mix of whiskey, Red Bull, orange and cranberry juices. Even non-whiskey fans would devour this drink within five minutes. The New Yorker tastes sweet with a hint of sourness coming through every now and then. However, once again the alcohol was a bit lost.
The Long Tail cocktail is a concoction of tequila, cranberry juice and orange zest. Where the other cocktails lacked in alcohol this one had it in abundance. In fact, it was too strong to drink and it was only after the ice melted that we were able to work it down.
Bar D’O also has a food menu with lots of options. The shrimps with olive and lemon (70LE) make for a perfect little snack. Beware of the shrimp though as they are drenched in oil will drip everywhere if you’re not careful- especially when you’re tipsy.
We found the staff to be very pleasant and attentive; our drinks and food were served fast and the staff had sufficient knowledge of their menu – which is a rarity in Cairo. We definitely see ourselves returning to Bar D’O for afternoon drinks and snacks.
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.