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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Deals Pub 14: Cocktails Galore in Mohandiseen
When it comes to secret recipes that involve alcohol, it’s best to tread lightly, or be forewarned.
Deals Pub 14 in Mohandiseen, the fifth satellite of the Deals Pub chain, offers a healthy range of imported spirits and classic cocktails served strong. But as happy-go-lucky types at Cairo 360, we were taken by the allure of its off-menu specials.
Really, who could resist drinks with monikers like Flaming Angry Dragon, Black Death, Avatar, and Golden Man? Certainly not us; we sampled them all. Golden Man?!?
Of the four the Flaming Angry Dragon holds nothing back. Gussied up in a martini glass and lit aglow, the drink is a standard showstopper mixing in shots of Kahlua, Sambuca, tequila and rum. Traditionally, Sambuca is burnt before sipping to intoxicate both the gustatory and olfactory senses. Wafts of the Italian, anisette liquor remove the medicinal bite to the drink and drown us in a liquorice bath. One or two of these fiery drinks and the show’s over, dead and done.
The three remaining contenders are served tall, dark and handsome in various shades, but like a blind date, their ingredients remain a mystery.
Tinted purple and the strongest of the round, the Black Death would be better called the 'Purple Plague'. Our guess is grape. But scouring the net, we found different recipes that included black Sambuca or Butterscotch Schnapps amid a splash of assorted alcohols like vodka and Blue Curacao. Go figure. All we do know is that the drink was too clinical for our taste buds, but if you’re into grapes or cough syrup, it’s nothing short of ambrosial.
The Avatar, likely dubbed after James Cameron’s film, is a giant appletini, green as Emerald City and light as apple juice. But don’t be deceived. Take a sip of the green elixir and let it marinate in your mouth for a second, and you’ll surely feel the vodka whirling.
Idols, trophies or warm fetishes come to mind with the name of our final tasting, and it’s good as gold. The Golden Man is our top pick of Deals’ secret stash. Pineapple cuts through the light, refreshing drink that could be best described as a liquid version of a white gummy bear.
Sampling Deals’ specials dropped us head first into a rabbit hole, wounding us sunken deep into the next day and our pockets shallow. Before opting for off-menu specials, be sure to inquire about prices; there’s a reason why they’re not listed. The four drinks came to a total of 355LE before 10% and 12% additional charges, with Angry Dragon topping at 120LE alone and the Golden Man, the most affordable special at 70LE.
To absorb the splurge, we went with an order of Cheesed Off (35LE), a hearty cheeseburger with a side of fries and coleslaw - well worth the bill.
Distinct from its sister branches, Deals Pub 14 takes up the entire top floor of the Swiss Inn Hotel and features billiards, dart boards and décor fit for a classy gentleman’s club. The low ceilings, recessed lighting, high wooden stools, comfy couches, plush carpeting, mahogany panels, chandeliers and sconces call for suspenders, cigars and a cigarette girl to match.
Fatten up but don't drink yourself flat.
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.