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


Rithmo: Good Cocktails at the Semiramis Intercontinental

reviewed by
Anne de Groot
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Rithmo: Good Cocktails at the Semiramis Intercontinental

it’s easy to forget the numerous hotels in Cairo and their large array of
restaurants, bars and nightclubs. With the current economic situation in Egypt, many of
these dining venues are empty after having been popular destinations for years.
One such venue is Rithmo, located inside the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel
on the Garden City Corniche.

is hidden inside the hotel, with a discreet side entrance that you reach via
the lobby; turn left and then right near the toilets. There is a bouncer, yes
a bouncer, who will ask you if you have a reservation. We had no reservation
because we expected the nightclub to be empty. If it would have been full, it
would probably be Cairo’s best-kept secret.

walking through an unfinished corridor, you enter a large room with a high
ceiling and dim, red-hued lighting. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the
venue was, as we expected, empty. In the middle of the room is an oval bar. Benches
with cushions line the walls, and low tables with comfortable chairs are
arranged in the centre of the room. The decor could be described as modern/kinky
with chains, yes chains, hanging from walls and sometimes between tables,
functioning as a division. There is a small stage and a balustrade above it with a
weird-looking man-sized puppet, yes a puppet.

drinks menu consists of your usual cocktails such as margaritas and daiquiris.
There is an extensive wine collection listing wines from Italy, Australia,
America, Argentina and Thailand, in addition to local and Lebanese wines. Local
wines cost 35LE a glass, while most imported wines are only available by the
bottle and not by the glass. We were presented with a selection of nuts and sliced
apple pieces by the attentive and friendly staff. We love free stuff,
especially when it is healthy free stuff. Whiskey is available at 55LE a glass,
cognac at 75LE and above, and aperitifs like Tia Maria cost around 45LE.

decided to try Rithmo’s hand at cocktails by sampling the mojito (45LE) and the
Long Island ice tea (60LE). Expecting the worst, we were actually pleasantly surprised.
The mojito and the long island were perfectly mixed and served within five minutes.
Yes, we were the only customers, but five minutes for two cocktails is still
pretty fast. The drinks came in big glasses and were filled to the top, unlike
other bars where you get a tiny glass that is half empty, making you wonder if
the waiter lost half of the contents on his way.

music was perfect, and r&b lovers will love Rithmo. Other venues around
Cairo might be famous for their r&b nights, but the music at Rithmo was actually
noticeably better.

waiter informed us that Thursdays are usually quite busy. We were there on a
Friday night and in the end, there were perhaps no more than twenty customers. However, if
you are an r&b and cocktail fan, then give Rithmo a chance; just for a
change of scene at least.

360 Tip

A bottle of imported Evian water costs 40LE. Make sure to ask for local water if you aren’t prepared to dish out that kind of money.

Best Bit

The drinks and the music.

Worst Bit

The scary Madame Tussauds puppet on the balustrade.

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