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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.
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Cairo, located just a few minutes’ walk from the Naguib Metro stop, Happy City rooftop bar – of the Happy City Hotel – offers a chill, relaxed place to spend a night out with friends.
Walking into the lobby of the hotel we were somewhat worried we’d be in for a disappointing night, with fake flower door curtains and the 70s style décor of the rest of the lobby, but stepping out on the seventh floor rooftop bar, we were pleasantly surprised.
Happy City is spacious, with large tables and comfortable chairs scattered around; there were already several groups enjoying the open air, even though we had arrived rather early in the evening. Plastic covers protected patrons from the chill of the night, but a comfortable breeze was still blowing through and the plastic didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. In warmer months the rooftop would have a fantastic view.
Happy City’s décor is nothing particularly special, but it is comfortable and laidback – encouraging patrons to stay for hours and hours. The music mostly consists of Arab pop, but it largely faded into the background, allowing us to concentrate on our conversation. The other patrons were a mixed bag; a collection of tourists and ex-pats to locals. This isn’t really a place to meet new people though, since most people were concentrated on their own group and the tables are widely spaced apart.
On a side note, we found that the bathrooms were not kept in stock or particularly clean.
We settled in and called for the waiter, who explained that there weren’t any menus for us to look at. Deciding to go with Cairo staples, we ordered a round of Stellas (15LE) and Heinekens (20LE). After taking our orders the waiter quickly returned, drinks and complementary table snacks in tow. We found that the snacks at Happy City are a step up from those usually offered in bars, with a selection of chickpeas, tirmis, carrots and cucumbers. We saw other tables with fresh bread and dips, and at our request, our server was happy to provide us with those treats as well.
However, we weren’t as impressed with service; the Stellas weren’t as cold as they could have been and we had to really work to flag down the waiter when we wanted to order another round.
We ordered both the apple and peach flavoured shisha (5LE) to find that the shisha is a definite highlight at Happy City. Though it took quite a while to arrive at our table, it was definitely much better than other shisha we’ve had around Cairo, and the price absolutely can’t be beat. The shisha attendant also did a great job keeping the coals hot all night.
We quite enjoyed our time at Happy City and are planning to make it a constant in our routine. Though the service wasn’t great that night, the prices are good, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the people are chill. Happy City is the perfect place to whittle away the hours with a couple of friends over some good conversation.