Odeon Palace Bar: Downtown Rooftop Hang Out
Talaat Harb Street and its surrounding area host a slew of iconic Cairo bars well known to locals and expats alike. Filled with cultural monuments and historical establishments, the street itself is bursting with liveliness streaming in from all sides. Talaat Harb Street is the place to be when you’re in the mood to let loose and soak up some of the energetic buzz that this city is overflowing with.
On Abdel Hamid Street, past Odeon Cinema, lies Odeon Hotel, where the 10th floor is home to its famous no-frills rooftop bar. Open 24 hours a day, this Downtown bar is a quick getaway from the hustle of the streets. As it’s a fairly well-known bar, the Odeon bar also provides an easy meeting point for Downtown folk when time is of the essence or traffic is making you pull your hair out.
The indoor seating area and bar are spacious, filled with a rough oriental motif and colour schemes reminiscent of the 1970s. Wood panelling and tacky stylised lamps grace various nooks and crannies; perfect for some alone time with a book, while larger tables provide space for hosting bigger parties.
While the indoor portion is spacious enough, most people head directly for the outdoor terrace that looks out onto the street. The view itself is nothing to boast about; but the terrace provides a terrific location to catch a gentle breeze away from the often-stuffy atmosphere inside.
An everyday minimum of 10LE is charged before 9PM, while 15LE will be charged if you arrive later. Odeon offers a full-scale menu with mediocre food, including grilled chicken (32LE) and steak (34LE). No free mezzas are provided with your drinks. Then again, Odeon isn’t the place to go to for food unless you get hungry after a beer or two.
Cut to the chase and order a cold drink and a shisha (10LE). A Stella costs 15LE, while other beers like Heineken and Sakkara cost the difference of only a few pounds more. Juices run around 12LE, while liquor will cost around 20LE a shot, and a bottle of wine like Omar Khayyam is to 80LE.
It’s a hit-and-miss case with the wait staff; they can sometimes be friendly and welcoming, other times they’ll ignore you. Also, your order may take a while; but if you’re in the company of good friends, it won’t seem to matter anyway.