Chit Chat: Simple Bar at the Safir Hotel in Dokki
Safir Hotel Cairo, El Messaha Sq.
After Safir’s main bar, Gossip Lounge, closed earlier this year, Chit Chat, which was originally a café, took up the mantle of the Dokki hotel’s bar. From outside, the bar looks sophisticated and omits a sociable atmosphere with large parasols shading tables big enough to seat a family gathering or a celebration with friends. Inside, however, the bar turned out to be very small, with a corner allocated to a drinks area, and a room for about six separate parties to sit.
Chit Chat is stocked with spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks – of both local and foreign brands. Beers cost 30LE and spirits will cost around 55LE, while a glass of wine goes for around 45LE. We were in the mood for cocktails and ordered a Latino Long Island Iced Tea (65LE), a Planter’s Punch (65LE), a Bloody Mary (65LE) and Cuba Libre (65LE).
The drinks took a suspiciously long time to come, so we were expecting wonders when they arrived. What turned up eventually didn’t look incredible, but upon first sip, the Planters Punch proved itself; crushed ice floated on a blood-red orange juice which tasted sharp and fresh – the zingy taste was well complemented by the dark rum. The iced tea also left an impression being a fizzy mix of vodka, rum and tequila on crushed ice. However, the Bloody Mary did not impress and was too heavy on the Tabasco, while the Cuba Libre (65LE) was bland, but refreshing.
By about midnight, the entertainment kicked into gear and overpowering loud music burst from the speakers, meaning any ‘chit chat’ we were planning on having was cut short. While Gossip Lounge had been known to host the odd event, Chit Chat only seems to offer a singer who belts out a few songs to a CD backing track, looking just as awkward as the few tables of hotel guests listening.
The place was freezing and many customers were wearing coats – something we hadn’t counted on needing. However, this meant the bar was well ventilated and didn’t suffer from a fog of smoke. The bar is neat, if bland, and looks executive, although the atmosphere is quite relaxed. The service was not very accommodating and it took a painfully long time to have an order taken or a drink served, despite the bar not being very busy during our visit.
The hotel itself is huge, but the bar feels forgotten. A few of the hotel guests will make the trip down for a quiet one before bed, but it’s not a place to go out of the way for.