New Arizona: Basic, Fuss-Free Balaldi Bar in Downtown Cairo
5 Alfy Street
Anne de Groot
it’s cool to sip on fruity cocktails and enjoy haute cuisine finger food with
unpronounceable names in funky bars around Cairo, sometimes you need to come
back down to earth. Down to earth is located in Downtown Cairo on Alfy Street.
With plenty of bars and ahwas around, there’s no need to ever be bored in this
part of Cairo. One such bar is New Arizona, located across the street from
You’ll enter New Arizona through a small corridor decorated with Stella signs to reach
a small room with red brick walls and an old-fashioned TV set on the left-hand
side. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the volume of the TV was at its highest
and the channels were changed almost every minute.
Old paintings and
photographs hang on the walls next to more Stella decorations. Christmas tree lights
hang from the ceiling; presumably leftover Christmas decorations from 1974. All
the neighbourhood’s cats come running into the bar, and the wooden tables
and chairs are not really that stable. So there you have it; it doesn’t get
more baladi than this.
factor of New Arizona is also reflected in the prices, 11.50LE for a half-
litre bottle of Stella is not bad. Not a Stella fan? You can get yourself a bottle of Heineken
for 15LE. As soon as you sit down, the waiter will serve you plates of chick
peas, white cheese, cucumbers and a basket of bread. The dishes are
well-presented and come in generous portions for a paltry 3LE per dish.
anyone wary of visiting a Downtown baladi bar in Cairo; please don’t be. The
staff is very friendly and speak better English than most staff in four-star
hotels and restaurants. The crowd is predominantly middle-aged Egyptian men,
but that shouldn’t deter or intimidate female visitors; the atmosphere is very
laid-back and patrons generally keep to themselves.
you are seated, vendors will pass by, trying to sell you newspapers, cigars,
socks and tissues among other things. There are several fans providing a cool
breeze; but that’s as far as it goes in terms of ventilation.
We didn’t try the
toilet at New Arizona, but across the street there is a very clean restaurant with
a toilet that you can use for a few pounds. If you want to experience an
authentic baladi bar night out in Downtown Cairo, head over to New Arizona for
a drink and some mezzas.