Attention to all book worms in Cairo: Bikya has just opened up their second branch in Maadi. After the enormous success of the Nasr City branch, the young owners decided to expand their bookshop/café to the lush Maadi area. Bikya Maadi is located on Road 9, just across from McDonald’s.

The venue in Maadi is significantly larger than the Nasr City branch and it also sports a big stage for live performances. Bikya, as well as functioning as a bookshop, is also known for hosting local talents on their stage. Some very well-known artists such as RaSh Radio and Hany Mustafa regularly perform at Bikya. However, that being said Bikya’s focus is essentially on books; specifically second hand books.

The shop is divided into a couple rooms, all decked out with different types of seating and tables. If you are looking for a quiet place to study you should absolutely consider coming here. There is a terrace as well and, while it was a bit too hot to sit on at the time of our visit, it would be perfect for the winter months. The walls inside are adorned with artwork and photographs by local artists where all the items are for sale. Pop art enthusiasts will love the work done by Habiba Koura and for the underground band groupies, there is a photo section with some beautiful shots of Egypt’s upcoming talent.

The most impressive part of the book section is probably the classics department which carries books written by heavyweight writers such as Hemingway, Mahfouz and Dumas. Some of the books are almost 20 to 30 years old. The section on Egypt is also quite impressive and a haven for Egyptian history lovers. Bikya also carries a lot of children’s books and has a significant Arabic department. The best thing about many of these books is that most of the copies are unique; you might come across a book’s edition that isn’t available anywhere else. With some book prices starting as low as 5LE, these gems are also an incredible bargain.

As if great deals on books and live entertainment weren’t enough, Bikya also serves food which we highly recommend as you browse around. The spinach quiche (17LE) was well flavoured with a nice crust, making for a healthy snack. However, the true stars on the menu are their yoghurt drinks; the berry yoghurt shake (20LE) was delicious with the perfect combination of sweet berries and tart yoghurt. Also available are a selection of soups, sandwiches and cakes. The service is quick and attentive.

Apart from being a bookshop Bikya also serves as a cultural centre in a way, which can only be good for arts and culture in Cairo. Keep an eye out for Cairo360’s event calendar where all of Bikya’s happenings are listed.