The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Jazz Bar

Jazz Bar: Refined Cairo Bar with Sky-High Prices

  • Kempinski Nile Hotel, 12 Ahmed Ragheb Street, Garden City
  • Bar
  • 17:00 - 02:00
reviewed by
Ahmed El Mezeny
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Jazz Bar: Refined Cairo Bar with Sky-High Prices

Located on the Kempinski Nile Hotel’s tenth
floor, the Jazz Bar is a dimly lit lounge with live jazz tunes, where you can
enjoy an expensive glass of scotch.

The space is elegantly furnished in warm
hues of brown, burgundy and beige, and dark walls that add to the overall atmosphere
of a classy 1950s gentlemen’s club.

The seating arrangements at the Jazz Bar are
few and far between, with a small number of low tables and deep leather seats; which ends up looking like
the space in a hotel lobby. The extensively large bar
dressed with a red leather bumper to lean on is devoid of any stools, making you ask the question: ‘what kind of bar doesn’t have stools?’

Behind the bar, an assortment of high-end
liquor bottles decorates the wall. The bartenders here are attentive, unless
it’s the weekend, then expect to wait thirty minutes for a simple rum and coke. Communication can also be difficult, especially when they insist on trying to
address you in English when you keep talking in Arabic.

Watch out, if you
don’t specify what type of liquor to put in your drink, they’ll happily add the
most expensive one. We had the pleasure of being served a 12-year-old
Ballantines in a whiskey-coke (150LE), where it really doesn’t belong.

Their selection is also rather limited; so expect to only find top-notch bottles: Jack Daniels was practically the cheapest whisky
selection while a glass of Johnny Walker’s Blue Label was the most expensive.

Jazz bar has a short list of cocktails, one
of which is berry berry, a mixture of champagne, apple juice and apple pieces,
for 75LE, it was fruity but we wished that it packed a little more punch. The
pina colada (75LE) was also heavy on the coconut and very light on the other
ingredients. The Jazz Bar’s version of a Long Island ice tea, called a Zamalek
Tea is the only cocktail worth its 125LE-price tag. The mix of vodka, rum,
tequila and whiskey was easy to down and strong but not overpowering.

As far as food goes, there are a couple of
overpriced snacks including burgers and chicken wings (75LE); but you’ll be
served all the complimentary olives and nuts that you can eat.

On occasional weekends, the bar holds party
nights with a live DJ, where it’s usually packed and there isn’t much room to
stand, let alone order at the bar. Weekdays, on the other hand, are usually
catered to with smooth live jazz music and an excellent female vocalist.

360 Tip

Head to the Jazz Bar on a weekday for a quiet drink and for their live music. It’s also a great spot for a business drink or casual meeting.

Best Bit

The Jazz Bar’s small balcony has a magnificent view of the Nile and the Corniche.

Worst Bit

The atmosphere and high prices can border on pretentious.

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