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Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
Orchid: Deck Boat Attempt at Cairo Nightspot
With summer nights in Cairo often just as intoxicatingly hot as the days, a new open-air nightspot on the Nile sounds like an interesting, albeit risky alternative to the been-there-done-that five or so clubs that everyone goes to (you know who you are).
Located on the Trianon Boat in Giza , Orchid is a nightclub/lounge/restaurant attempting to take a piece out of the Cairo nightlife pie. Despite elaborate decorations, a fish tank wall, Thai statues and pink ceiling lighting; the place is still pretty much a sheltered boat deck, something that you immediately recognise when you tread on the squeaky and faded wooden floorboards.
Guests are greeted at Orchid’s entrance by several well-dressed foreign hostesses that guide you to your seat. You can either choose a quiet table with comfortable lounge chairs on one side; or a table on the open-air part of the deck, where you can enjoy a shisha while watching the widescreen TV. The centre of the indoor space is kept free for a dance-floor area that picks up on Wednesdays, while Tuesdays are scheduled for karaoke nights.
At the other end of the room, an L-shaped bar contains a blue fish tank that’s worryingly empty; considering that they serve all-you-can-eat sushi. We want fresh sushi; but we don’t necessarily want it that fresh.
Aside from its selection of classic cocktails (starting 50LE), juices (20LE) and sodas (15LE), the bar also serves its own concoction of cocktails. We opted for the creatively named Crocodile in The Nile cocktail, but were promptly shot down by our enthusiastic barman, who insisted that we try the perfectly named Dawa (56LE): vodka and lemon mixed with a large spoon of white honey. We should have never trusted the waiter; anything that is called medicine is bound to taste like it.
Stick to safe options, like the Sakkara Gold (25LE) or a Black Label with Coca Cola (100LE). A set menu of four finger food options (100LE) includes shrimp tempura and vegetable rolls for a quick pre-dance floor bite, but the room’s damp and humid air could easily put you off your appetite.
This is one of the disadvantages of having an open-air nightclub on the Nile. As picturesque as the view may be with a soft Nile breeze; it can also get unbearably humid at night. Luckily, on a recent visit, we were happy to note that the management had taken initiative by installing A/C in various corners of the club.
The other downside to this club is that, despite its best intentions, it lacks the sophistication expected at other venues. It was a little distracting to have so many waiters loitering around, and they could have easily handed over our change with a receipt on a plate as you should, instead of coming up to our group and jovially placing a mound of coins into our unwilling hands. Yes, this is no big deal, but it’s the little things that separate the good nightclubs from the ok-but-not-amazing.