Kings Bar: Hotel Bar with Baladi Vibes in Downtown Cairo
1 Ibn Thaalab Street
Anne de Groot
The borsa area is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in Downtown
Cairo. It’s clean with even pavements, the buildings are well-preserved and
the area is rarely crowded. Exactly how we like it. One of the
landmark buildings in this area is the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It was designed by
Baehler, the architect of the La Bodega and Aperitivo building in Zamalek.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of those former Cairo landmarks once
famous for their grandeur and glory. Nowadays, not much of that grandeur remains.
Kings Bar is located on the ground floor right after the reception. The
reception is actually pretty nice and the library next to the bar looks quite
tempting for an afternoon read.
At the time of this reviewer’s visit (weeks before Christmas) the hotel
was wrapped up in tacky, shiny Christmas decor including a Santa doll in the
beak of an eagle. If we were children we’d probably have recurring
nightmares about Santa being devoured by an eagle. Speaking of nightmares, the
Kings Bar’s interior is a little disturbing with its brown
yellowish decor and guns hanging on the wall next to extremely dark paintings
in desperate need of cleaning.
Kings Bar is easily comparable to a baladi bar but then located in a
hotel, which means it’s not as crowded but prices are still very reasonable.
Unfortunately, they only offer beer, whiskey and vodka – all local. A bottle of
Heineken, served with an ice-cold glass, costs only 15LE.
Excited about the low
prices, we decided to go all out and order a vodka and apple. Never in this
town have we received less vodka than in this bar. It was a measly drip and not
worth the 12LE we had to pay for it. The apple juice was served on the side in
a Juhayna carton, which we squeezed out into our drink through the straw.
Because we are people with a great sense of humour, we saw the fun in all of
this and actually enjoyed our stay. As soon as we sat down we were presented
with a bowl of termis. The more drinks we ordered; the more food arrived at the
table such as cucumbers and cheese.
However, we didn’t enjoy our trip to the toilet. The staff seems to believe that flooding the toilet with water and then not drying it up
will keep it clean for more time. If this were an actual baladi bar, a toilet
like this would have been great, but we expected more from a hotel.
If you’re in the area and crave a cheap, low-key
and hassle-free drink, then Kings Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel is a perfect
spot. However, if you want something more sophisticated, or something more
baladi, then lots of other options are available in the area.