Cairo Nightlife Guide - Nightlife reviews in Egypt

Cairo Nightlife

The Tap East: Galal El Kerdani on the Expansion of Cairo's Ultimate Pub
Published On: 03/03/2016

Since opening at the backend of 2014, the Tap has singlehandedly changed the bar scene in Egypt. Its continuing success under the direction of founder, Galal El Kerdani has led to the opening of two new branches, with the latest to be announced, the Tap East, set to fling open its doors this month. Located in New Cairo's Stella Compound, the founder is in good company, with Nacelle founder, Tito El Khachab, as partner in the new venue; a venue that's shaping up to be every bit as awesome as you imagine. But, as he revealed, this is not just a case of copy-paste; the Tap East is doing things slightly different to its Maadi sibling. "We'll have strong music line-ups like in Maadi, and more interactive entertainment such as Band-aoke as well as weekend themed brunches," El Kerdani revealed, going on to highlight a new approach to dining. "We're focusing on the food more and introducing a more elaborate menu with a bit more panache that will offer things like Cajun Grilled Prawns and Mushroom Mascarpone Risotto along with a big selection of Angus steaks. We're trying to build a more diverse menu that expands on the casual food in Maadi – but we're of course keeping the wings, burgers and ribs!" Though there are to be adjustments to the formula that has made the Tap the most popular bar in Maadi, the new branch still retains the very distinctive Tap-feel, even with the space itself being set-up differently. "We have an outdoor area that will have a quieter ambiance and a centred square bar indoors. We've also made sure the stage is visible from all corners of the space and we have higher ceilings for better ventilation." With the Tap pencilled to open at Westown Hub by the end of the year, it too will have its own unique features. "It's a 1,400m2, two-storey space." El Kerdany explains. "The first floor will be more or less like the other two branches, but with a bigger stage. The second floor is what we're really excited about, though; it will basically be a self-serving gaming area called 'The Barcade'. We'll have more games – think air hockey, ski ball, billiards, etc – and self-service beer dispensers. We also have a 600m2 terrace – it'll be the biggest venue of its kind in Cairo." Asked about why the Tap has been such a roaring success, El Kerdany, who has only lived in Egypt for the past six years, reminisces about his favourite bar experiences as a student in Toronto, Canada. "The bar experience was fun. You don't have to dress up, get in line and all that. Good atmosphere, games, sports on the TV and live entertainment – it was just fun. "When I came to Egypt, I felt that there would be a lot of people that would enjoy this kind of experience too. I decide to introduce a twist on this concept with the Tap Bar & Grill making it one of the top destinations for live music thanks to Tamer Emad who was a great influence on managing the music culture that we have today at the Tap." Stay up-to-date with the Tap East on Facebook.


Six Bars in 6th of October City & Sheikh Zayed That You Need to Visit More Often
Published On: 28/09/2015

With much of Cairo nightlife existing in clusters across Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Downtown in the centre of the city, as well as the leafy suburb of Maadi, many have bemoaned – and continue to do so incessantly – at a perceived lack of nightlife in the areas of 6th of October City and Sheikh Zayed. While these areas are frequented more for its malls and restaurants, those looking for nightlife in the most western locales of the capital have more choice than they think... Johnny's Pub Located in the hustling Arkan Mall, the Johnny's Pub in 6th October City is considerably sleeker, slicker and just generally better than its older Zamalek counterpart. The all-outdoor bar fits seamlessly into its modern surroundings, with a full bar on view from tables suitable for large groups, intimate meet-ups and full-blown dinners. Unlike many bars, there are no issues with space – everything is laid out perfectly for maximum comfort. Carlo's Sitting next door to Johnny's Pub in the Le Pacha West corner of Arkan Mall, Carlo's is much more suited to the kind of night you're likely to forget and lends itself a little bit more to a club experience. Don't be fooled, though; this is still a laidback bar and though it lacks the easy, breezy feel of its neighbour, it does provide an escape from the area. The Bear We're not quite sure what to call the Bear; located at the Palm Hills Golf Course Club House, it combines the subtle testosterone-fuelled atmosphere of a clubhouse with the elegant comfort of a casual bar. Serving top food and top cocktails, the Bear boast a rather delightful view of the golf course itself – one that's pleasing on the eye both at night and at day – as well as an eclectic mix of guests. Saffron Located in the little talked about Al Guezira Plaza – you might have seen the big, luminous sign appear as you pass it on the Mehwar by Arkan Mall – Saffron isn't a bar per se; it is in fact – dramatic pause – a restaurant that serves drinks – and darn good ones at that. Serving delicious Italian food, the decor belies its surroundings, channelling a fresh, modern European approach to its decor. Indigo Possibly one of Cairo nightlife's best keep secrets, Indigo Restaurant & Lounge oozes the kind of class and sophistication that's found lacking on the bars you'll find in the centre of town. Often hosting recognisable names – everyone from Nile FM's hip-hop DJ, Feedo, and British singer, Ellie of London – Indigo is suitable both for casual drinks or an all-out dine and wine kind of evening on its quieter nights, though regulars have no problem in cranking things up on weekends. Tempo Overlooking Allegria Gold Course – golfers clearly love drinking in this country – Tempo stands pretty much alone in this particular area of the desert we have come to know as 6th of October and/or Sheikh Zayed. The best thing about Tempo is that, compared to the other venues on this list, the prices are very reasonable, save for the fancy cigars that they house. Thrown in the choice of both outdoor and indoor seating and you have a perfectly quaint nightlife experience. Think we've missed something? Let us know! Happy drinking.


Som3a Basha: Sohour at Cairo Marriott's Charming Ramadan Tent
Published On: 09/07/2015

Jewel of the Zamalek crown, the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino never ceases to dazzle, offering rich oriental vibes with a refined twist, especially this year with the hotel's fancy Ramadan kheima, Som3a Basha. A play on Khedive Ismail Pasha, who built the castle for a French Empress, the theme of the kheima is that of a castle setting with all its luxury coupled with the authentic feel of Egyptian street food served from carts and vendors. As we walked past the Marriott Promenade Garden leading to the tent, we were struck by a surprisingly beautiful cool weather in dry July – a promising start to the night. As we stepped inside, we were immediately taken by the elegant ambiance, stylish lanterns, beautiful castle inspired décor and smiling waiters. We picked a table with a good view of the stage, and waited patiently for the Sohour buffet to begin (10.30PM). As we waited, we were offered the drinks Karkade (Hibiscus) and Tamr Hindy (Dates). The Karkade was bold in flavour, and tartness, and despite being slightly warm, it was refreshing. The Tamr Hindy was easy on the sugar and had a pleasing hint of bitterness that complimented it. The live Takht show began soon after and we were transported – there was just something about the atmosphere, the spirit, the music and the night that made us forget how hungry we were. When we did remember how hungry we were, and the buffet opened, we headed on over to check it out. All the food, except for the salads and desserts, was served in authentic street-carts with a kitschy, yet classic Egyptian feel to them. We took a stroll down the aisle where the carts were, and had a good look at everything before we decided what to dive into. The buffet ranged from falafel and eggs, to grilled kofta and chicken. The salad selection consisted of assorted vegetables, dressings and yoghurt and though the selection provided no surprises, the food was quite flavoursome and we went back for seconds – of course. No Ramadan sohour would be complete without shisha and we opted for Grape and Peach (30LE each). In terms of quality, both were bold and distinct, though the grape was a bit too harsh for our taste. In terms of coal maintenance, however, you'll need to be patient – on the busier nights, the shisha attendants, are somewhat overwhelmed. Then, as we started to feel a bit peckish, we went back for dessert and were met with a large selection of fruits and sweet Ramadan delights, our favourite of which was the Zalabya cart. You might have to time your dessert excursions, though, with the desserts quickly getting cold in the breezy weather. Overall, the aura and the entertainment at Som3a Basha were delightful and, although not faultless, the Marriott has made good use of its space.


Lemonada: Peppy Sohour at the Lemon Tree & Co's Ramadan Tent
Published On: 28/06/2015

With the wide array of restaurants and eateries to choose from in Cairo, it's always interesting to see how some of these venues adapt to Ramadan requirements and schedules. While some adopt special set-menus for the Holy Month, others transform themselves into full-on kheyam for that extra edge in the Ramadan dining experience. However, with so many out there, what separates one from the rest? Zamalek favourite, The Lemon Tree and Co, doesn't lack for buzz and has proven to be a heavyweight in the Cairene nightlife scene. Their Ramadan kheima, Lemonada, located atop the Imperial boat, shares that very same buzz, so we couldn't resist going there for sohour. As we walked in, we were taken aback by the bewitching décor and alluring air to the place. Gorgeous lanterns and potted plants were strewn around on ceilings, tables and walls creating a dimly lit, yet irresistible, aura. Pieces of fabric cascaded overhead, which, in addition to the mesmerising music – which they have mixed exclusively for them – completes what we loved the most about Lemonada: the ambiance. We were seated at a high table, which proved to be a bit uncomfortable as time went by, with a great view of all the colourful lights of the feluccas in the Nile. Whilst browsing through the drinks menu, we thought to ourselves, we can't be at Lemonada and not order lemonade. So we opted for just that (20LE) and some peach ice tea (28LE), too. The lemonade was a perfect balance of not too sweet, and not too sour, a match surprisingly hard to find these days. The ice tea could have been a little colder, but it was quite flavoursome nonetheless. As we were being handed the food menu, we couldn't help but notice how attentive and friendly the staff was; we were quite apprehensive that, in the sohour hustle, they wouldn't be and, fortunately, we were proven wrong. For appetisers, we chose the Kobeba Lava (42LE), Classic Falafel (26LE) and Butter Paprika Sweet Corn (32LE). The Kobeba, stuffed with cheese, was a delightful twist on a Ramadan favourite and we very much enjoyed how the cheese didn't overpower the Kobeba – as we thought it might. The Falafel, on the other hand, were a bit bland and lacked that classic Falafel crunch, but were good once coupled with warm bread. The Sweet Corn was as it should be, buttery and golden, and though the paprika was subtle, it definitely added to the overall flavour. For the main course, we decided to sample some of their Feteer. With so many options, we picked the Chicken Rosemary Feteer and the Soujok Feteer (78LE each). The Chicken Rosemary was delectable, with hints of rosemary marrying nicely with the chicken and cheese. The Sojouk was equally scrumptious; the pomegranate reduction on top was strange at first, but proved to be a great flavour pairing with the bell peppers and sojouk. Before dessert, we were craving some shisha, so we ordered some Bluemist (35LE) from the hilarious and amiable designated Shisha guy, and he did not let us down with either flavour or coal-maintenance. Now, for dessert; we had Zalabya Yonani (48LE) and Mixed Berry Madness (52LE). The Zalabya, though we would have liked it to be a little warmer, was quite delicious, the ice cream adding a nice, cool, element and completing the dish. The berry concoction, meanwhile, was an explosion of sweet berry heaven over a bed of meringue, topped with a scoop silky smooth ice cream; we would definitely recommend it if you have a sweet tooth. Overall, though the prices were a bit steep, the night was quite enjoyable, and we would definitely go again.


Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Top Sohour Spots in Egypt's Capital
Published On: 24/06/2015

We've already established how integral food is to the classic Ramadan experience, but there's a bit more to it than gorging ourselves at fetar. By the time you actually sit down at the table to break your fast, you have already gone through all the ways you are going to devour that mahshi, or that kofta you've been dreaming about all day. This is why many Egyptians enjoy, and fuss over, Sohour just as much as Fetar, making the Cairene nightlife scene all the more popular during the Holy Month. With many a tent and restaurant boasting the ideal Ramadan experience, we've picked out some of the ones to keep in your radar. Wahawi Ramadan Lounge Event Republic's stylish lounge, Wahawi, returns to Le Pacha Zamalek for hearty meals and laidback shisha nights. With a little something for everyone, Wahawi is perfect for a night with family and friends. Their carefully crafted menus, quality shisha, games and entertainment has made it a popular sohour pick. For reservations, call 0100-294-7111. Bab El Nil (Fairmont Nile City) With Fairmont Nile City's open-roof setting and that perfect Cairo weather, Bab El Nil is sure to have you in an ultimate chill mode. For sohour, the Fairmont's renowned chefs have been working meticulously to bring you a truly delectable selection of Ramadan inspired food and when all of the above is coupled with live music and breathtaking views, well, it sells itself. Call 02-2461-9494 for reservations. Fawazeer (Le Meridien Cairo Airport) Widely agreed to be the quirkiest tent out there, this colourfully contemporary gem aims to breathe new life into 90's pop-culture, reanimating such icons as Fatouta and Sherihan. Held at the luxurious Le Meridien Cairo Airport, Fawazeer guarantees an eccentric twist to your sohour experience, offering several different games consoles to keep you entertained in between bites. With actual Fawazeer for you to solve and music to keep you entertained, this kheima is definitely a must-go. To book, call 02-2265-9600. Ramadan Fel Harra (Eat & Barrel) Transforming from popular Cairo hangout to Ramadan wonderland, Eat & Barrel has gone all out this Ramadan. Replacing some of their iconic décor pieces with Ramadan inspired knick-knacks and festive furnishings, Eat & Barrel is offering a distinct and authentic Arabian atmosphere, with some of Egypt's biggest bands and musicians set to perform. For reservations, 0101 649 6999. 3al Markeb Speaking of sailing off into the distance, 3al Markeb is a similar concept, offering eight lounges with some rather tempting little features – how does each table having its own popcorn and cotton candy machines sound? The drawback here is that the lounges are docked, but with sohour buffet, live entertainment and NOLA Cupcakes providing nibbles, you won't miss out on the Ramadan experience. Call 0102-7987-904 for reservations. Jayda (Conrad Cairo Hotel) One of two special Ramadan venues at Conrad Cairo Hotel this year, Jayda is, by far, one of the best places to have your sohour thanks to the hotel's consistently excellent food and the Lebanese restaurant's uniquely calm, but traditional, ambiance - live Oriental takht, great food and great shisha. For reservations, call 02 -2580-8000. Som3a Basha (Cairo Marriott Hotel) When a tent is named after Ismail Pasha, and is held at a palace that was built for him, you know it's got to be good – and Som3a Basha definitely lives up to expectations. Take a stroll down memory lane for sohour as you sample traditional Egyptian street food from the live cooking stations Som3a Basha has to offer. To reserve a spot, call 02-2728-3000. Sequoia Embracing natural surroundings with their edgy design concept and amazing Zamalek views, Sequoia hits the mark again this year reclaiming its place as a perfect sohour venue. With their popular shisha selection and wide variety of different cuisine selections, Sequoia is up there with the greats, and highly recommended for a laidback Ramadan night. Call 02-2735-0014 for reservations. Fawanees (InterContinental Semiramis) Combining spectacular Nile views and live entertainment every weekend, Fawanees provides a definitive sohour experience. Offering a sohour set-menu and one particularly large and impressive octagonal fanoos, there's no going wrong with one of the city's most underrated hotels. For reservations, call 02-2798-8000. Ramadana (Riverside) Founded by marketing mogul, Tarek Nour, Ramadana has paved the way for luxury Ramadan events. Boasting a night of extravagance and merriment, the sohour hotspot is frequented by many of Egypt's A-list celebrities – so while you're there, keep an eye out for them. Along with the great food, of course. Call 0121-280-1290 for reservations. Lanterns (The Clubhouse, Uptown Cairo) Boasting a stunning and unique view, Uptown Cairo's Clubhouse is situated perfectly for a breezy Ramadan evening. With traditional sohour food on offer, the tent hosts live Oriental music during weekdays, as well as some of Cairo's top bands on weekends. The Lounge (InterContinental Citystars) Lebanese sohour buffets, live bands and DJ sets await at the InterContinental Citystars' Ramadan activities, with the hotel's tent, the Lounge, standing as one of the sleaker spots in Cairo to enjoy late nights during the holy month. For reservations and more information, call 02-2480-0100. Stay tuned for more Ramadan suggestions and review on Cairo 360 – Ramadan Kareem!


The Cairo 360 Editors' Choice Awards 2015: Nightlife Award Winners
Published On: 10/06/2015

Once upon a time, people told us New York was the city that never sleeps, and all Cairenes laughed in one synchronised breath. Seemingly impervious to the determents of sleep deprivation, Cairenes love to come out to play when the sun goes down. The hurdles that bars and clubs in Cairo face are well-known, but nightlife is a regularly evolving concept in Egypt and despite the city's tendency to import concepts and ideas, only a handful of the increasing number of nightlife venues have succeeded in creating strong identities for themselves, a loyal community and creative bookings. Here are the Nightlife category winners for the Cairo 360 Editor's Choice Awards 2015. Amici (Bar & Lounge Award) Renowned for its cocktails, Zamalek's Amici has been around for some time and has gained a cult following of sorts, with its success having eventually lead it to opening a second branch in Heliopolis. Aperitivo (Bar & Lounge Award) A Zamalek classic, offering a delicious gourmet Italian menu as well as a selection of local and imported wines, Aperitivo is for when you want to take your wine and dine experience that little bit further. Deals (Bar & Lounge Award) Another of Zamalek's classic pubs, Deals is the place to go for some drinks and no-nonsense appetisers, perfect for when you want to socialise with friends. The Garden (Bar & Lounge Award) The Garden can rightly claim to be one of the catalysts of Heliopolis' booming nightlife scene and stands as a great summer venue. Throw some of the biggest names in the music scene in Cairo and you have one of the best bars in town. L'Aubergine (Bar & Lounge Award) No frills, nothing flashy and no pretentiousness; L'Aubergine's longevity stems from these three points. Their comfortable and laidback atmosphere is complimented by an excellent food menu. LIV Lounge (Bar & Lounge Award) The newest venue on this list, LIV Lounge is the first venue of its kind in Cairo as a contemporary, sleek members-only bar that takes on all the elements of a exclusive, high-end venue unapologetically. O.Liv.O (Bar & Lounge Award) Because nothing compliments pizza like a refreshing cold beer, O.Liv.O is designed to be more bar than restaurant, and the great food will likely wind up a small part of a greater experience. Pub 28 (Bar & Lounge Award) A staple of Zamalek in itself, Pub 28 is home to the occasional live entertainment as well as boasting some pretty tastes dishes on their menu. Riverside (Bar & Lounge Award) The Nile-side location plus an increasing number of well-booked nightlife events have made Riverside a huge success in a very short amount of time. Villa 55 (Bar & Lounge Award) While the list of choices on where to grab a drink in Maadi might be woeful, Villa 55 is one of the few venues that have cemented themselves on that list by consistently offering decent prices and the options of food and shisha. Cairo Jazz Club (Live Music & Entertainment Award) As one of the stalwarts of the nightlife scene, Cairo Jazz Club doesn't do things by the half. With live entertainment almost every day seeing the country's best DJs and musicians – as well as some big names from abroad – there's nothing like CJC. The Tap (Live Music & Entertainment Award) The first venue to break Maadi's nightlife curse, the Tap's infamous location has been home to countless venues before them all of which have failed. The Tap not only broke the curse, but proceeded to offer a range of live entertainment events and competitions in their cheeky gastropub environment. VENT (Live Music & Entertainment Award) Recently receiving coverage from Resident Advisor, one of the largest online music magazines around, VENT are challenging all things mainstream and provide a space for performers of practically any genre, while championing the underground music scene in Egypt. For more on th 2015 Cairo 360 Editors' Choice Awards, click here.


Le Grillon: Enduring Restaurant & Bar in Downtown Cairo
Published On: 06/04/2015

It might have seen better days, but Downtown Cairo is steeped in history and character – things that extend, even if superficially, to its restaurants, cafes and bars, including Le Grillon on Kasr El Nil Street. Divided into two parts with two separate menus, Le Grillon offers a sheltered outdoor area that we were told was the 'drinks area' and then a more elegant indoor restaurant which is used mainly for food, though this opens from 9PM. It is possible to order something from the food menu and eat outside however if desired. We decided to explore the drinks menu and check out the outdoor part as the décor was rather alluring and exotic with fake green vines and jungle-like scenery. However it was rather odd to see the waiters in this unlikely scene dressed in a black suit and bow-tie. The atmosphere is pleasantly relaxed, almost basic; think beer, shisha and meeting up a good old gossip. During our visit we opted to try one lemon juice and one mango juice each costing 12LE each and finally one beer (Heineken) at 21LE from the alcohol menu. The lemon juice was deliciously sweet, zesty and light with a fluffy white foam on top but the mango was a little too thick in consistency and also arrived ten minutes after all the other drinks as the waiter told us it was still frozen. Afterwards a gust of curiosity led us to try a Bloody Mary (35LE) from the cocktail menu; the classic mixture of vodka, tomato juice and various spices arrived in a tall glass. Unfortunately, the overall flavour lacked the kick taste of vodka; however, there was a spicy aftertaste that lingered long after. After a tequila shot (40LE) ridded us of even more inhibitions, we were excited to try others drink from the cocktail menu though most were unavailable as the waiter told us there was no longer a bar man. Le Grillon offer an interesting mix of apertisers which, though a little expensive and small in portion, were quite delicious and pleasantly served. We opted to try the shrimp cocktail (40LE) which was small yet flavoursome with large succulent shrimps and a tangy sauce. The atmosphere at La Grillon is very quiet, relaxed and good for enjoying shisha and a drink; it's by no means a detestable place to enjoy an evening, though the service was somewhat sloppy during our visit, especially which made 10% tax and 12% service charge a little difficult to swallow.


Red Onion: Maadi Bar Hasn't Changed One Bit, For Better & For Worse
Published On: 22/02/2015

When it comes to Cairo nightlife, there's an increasing variety of bars, clubs and pubs to choose from. There are, however, staples that have become second homes to nocturnal Cairenes; venues that have been there for what feels like forever; ones that you can turn to when experimenting with the newer venues is just too much of a hassle. For Maadi residents, the Red Onion has been one such place. Looking quite small and demure from the outside, the bar and restaurant is located on one of Maadi's quieter side streets and is almost easy to miss. Stepping inside, you find yourself in a stuffy, dimly-lit space with off-white walls and several small tables occupied by loud crowds. A rather confusing and loud playlist does nothing to compliment what looks to be a traditional Mediterranean theme that the interior design is trying almost too hard to portray. Ragheb Alama sings his heart out on one of his 2007 tracks followed by Usher's infamous 'Yeah' – you get the picture. A waiter scurries amongst the clouds of smoke filling the air and is immediately by our side ready to take our order. When asked for menus, he simply said "we offer everything, just shoot" – a rather odd and quite perplexing response. Not actually wanting to order food, we dismissed the waiter's peculiar answer. Whereas a can of regular soda will set you back 13LE, a Stella beer will cost you 20LE – it doesn't make sense, but little in Cairo ever does. While cocktail prices vary, they do so within reason. We opted for a Tequila Sunrise (30LE) and a whiskey and Coke (69LE). Our drinks came within a few minutes accompanied by a small bowl of salted popcorn and another of Lupini beans, which were devoured within minutes and were, sadly, not refilled throughout the night. The Tequila Sunrise was very peachy and refreshing, while the whiskey and Coke had a surprisingly large serving of whiskey – we aren't complaining. Service wise, the waiters are quite efficient and you can always spot one standing somewhere nearby. The drinks arrived swiftly and were of sufficient quality, as well as comparatively very low prices. All in all, Red Onion has retained its satisfactory level of service and its interior hasn't changed at all. The loud crowds and even louder, outdated background music can, however, be a tad unsettling especially if you're simply looking to unwind after a long day. To compare the Red Onion with Cairo's more modern bars would be unfair, however; this is one nightlife spot that very much relies on a steady stream of regulars. You can by all means enjoy a night there, just don't expect five-star anything. Or four-star anything for that matter.


The Tap: Refreshingly Unpretentious Maadi Bar
Published On: 25/12/2014

Residents of Maadi are very proud – and a little protective – of their neighbourhood. Having possibly taken the lead ahead of Zamalek as Cairo's epicentre of cafes and restaurants, there is one field that it has never really excelled at: nightlife. This year alone, two bars – Tipsy Bar & Lounge and Syren Bar – opened in the same spot to much fanfare, only to close with a whimper. Equal, if not more, fanfare accompanied the opening of the Tap, but things seem to be running on a much more even keel thus far. In the run-up to its opening, the unrelenting power of social media sold it as a British-influenced bar – not quite a pub, but certainly borrowing many of its elements. Said elements aren't quite as explicit once you're settled in the venue. Nonetheless, it balances enough visual quirks with a self-assured unfussiness to keep the atmosphere interesting. Red bricking is the most notable decorative feature, but its overall welcoming simplicity doesn't render the distinct decor jarring in anyway. What is slightly jarring, however, is the space's corridor layout which, during busier nights (especially those that attract patrons of the clubbing variety), can be hard to navigate. In addition, the bar-space is rather small and, if you haven't booked a table that affords you table-service, you may find yourself carefully squeezing your arm through a line of seated people to try and catch the staff's attention. In fairness, however, said staff are attentive and pleasantly indiscriminate in service. Drinks (50LE-70LE) are, generally, well made and the staff aren't shy, but in fact rather generous, when it comes to making cocktails, never skimping on the alcohol; try the Banana Daquiri or the Amaretto Sour - you won't be disappointed. The owners of the Tap seemed to have deliberately downplayed the dining aspect, despite offering an eclectic menu of bar-friendly snacks and full-blown mains – and it's a clever move that has saved the Tap from falling into the same pitfalls as other pseudo-gastropubs in Cairo that have wrongly assumed that the city's (overly) discerning nightlife collective can digest the concept. This, however, bares no reflection on the quality of the food itself; buckets of BBQ Buffalo Wings (60LE) are excellently made (and come with customary disposable gloves) and dishes like the BBQ Ribs (110LE) are executed to near perfection. The meat is of noticeably good quality and is cooked to a perfect tenderness and flavour, thanks to an excellent hickory barbeque sauce. Unlike its predecessors, the Tap has laid a foundation that will almost certainly see it be a major player on the nightlife scene for a long time to come – knock on wood – and already has plans to open another branch in the SODIC's West Town Hub, which is still in a very early construction period. The biggest reason for this is that the owners gave themselves enough time to find their footing, refraining from launching into a stream of needlessly complicated concepts and gimmicks. It's not the F1 simulator, the arcade system or even the three-litre personal beer-tap that makes the Tap stand out - these are all sidenotes; its real quality is in its brave simplicity. Essentially, the Tap speaks for itself – and for bar that that has been birthed from the basics of a British pub, it speaks rather well.


L'Aubergine: Nightlife Favourite's Heliopolis Branch Fails to Measure Up to the Original
Published On: 05/11/2014

For the longest time, bars in Cairo were predominantly, and maybe even justifiably, concentrated in the central areas of the capital, leaving residents of the city's outskirts, in places like 6th of October City, Heliopolis and even Maadi, to make an exhaustive trip into town – and an even more exhaustive trip back – in search of that thing we call nightlife. Two or so years or go, however, Heliopolis nightlife exploded (a little); one piece of the proverbial shrapnel that subsequently landed on a dark and sleepy stretch of Omar Ebn El Khattab Street was L'Aubergine. A longstanding favourite in Zamalek, the bar's move to Masr El Gedida was a risky one and, though it has stood strong since, there's a set of drawbacks that have led the bar to plateau. Said drawbacks are superseded by one – and it's a biggie: the fact that the sleek and aesthetically-clean bar does not have a license to serve imported spirits. No one has been a more ardent supporter of local industry than Cairo 360 and the #BuyLocal trend, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we try to apply this to alcohol. One way to get around this problem is to order a cocktail, which the L'Aubergine staff pull-off pretty well and, as the spirits are local, they're deliciously cheap. A classic whiskey sour (30LE) was served in generous amount and was chugged down pretty quickly. Two of the more peculiarly named cocktails produced mixed results, though. The Sexy Bitch (30LE) saw vodka, pineapple juice, blue curaçao and grenadine served in a tall glass, but was sickly sweet and too heavy on the pineapple. The Horny Paul (45LE), however, packed much more of a punch, thanks to its combination of vodka, tequila, rum and lemonade; it was sharp, tangy and surprisingly refreshing and you could taste all three spirits. Away from the cocktails, beers are between 30LE and 35LE – a safe and reasonably-priced choice. If you can overlook this imported-spirit-deficiency, then L'Aubergine is a pleasant, if unremarkable, bar where one can enjoy a casual drink with chums – at least that's what one would hope. Unlike the Zamalek branch's organically nonchalant atmosphere, L'Aubergine Heliopolis hovers over the idea of being a high-end lounge without really committing to it or any other personality. The decor is dark, cold, cool and demure – all acceptable attributes of a bar. But loud, inappropriately energetic and bass-ridden music, peculiar transparent cafe chairs and TV screens systematically jolt you out of getting comfortable. In fairness, the venue as a space is treated sensibly and you can find seclusion on the higher round tables and stools, but it's difficult to judge whether one should turn up in smart, tucked-in shirt or more casual attire.


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Five Ways the New Emaar Egypt Community App Makes Life a Whole Lot Easier

The digital age, as they call it, has brought everything – and we mean everything – a touch away through that small little thing we have come to take for granted: the smartphone. There's an app for pretty much everything these days and one of the latest to shake up the way we do things day to da