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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Cairo Nightlife
Cairo Nightlife - TravelPuppy.com
Cairo is livelier at night than it is during the day, and the Cairenes have always known how to enjoy themselves. As the sun starts to goes down, the people come out. Shopping, drinking coffee and socialising all need to take place before the more serious business of drinking, eating, dancing and music begins. The fun goes on for as long as you can stand the pace and even though most places wind down around 3.00 am or 4.00 am, some are open 24 hours. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the usual big nights out.

Egypt is a Muslim country and several Cairenes will enjoy themselves all night long by only drinking soft drinks. However, alcohol is not difficult purchase for those who want it. Some Muslims are more devout than others but if you are with Egyptian contacts or friends and they decline your offer of a drink, you should be sensitive to their religious beliefs.

Plenty of nightlife options are available. Most basic are the baladi bars, often called cafeterias to cover the fact that they sell alcohol. Whilst a little rough, they are entirely safe, however women on their own may feel uncomfortable in what is essentially a male domain. Some baladi Bars are situated in the Sharia Alfy area around the Midan Orabi.

To find out what’s on, get the English-language edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, the Egyptian Gazette (Egyptian Mail on Saturdays), or the monthly magazine Egypt Today (but double check as some monthlies are not completely up to date).

Bars

The newest spot in town is the Hard Rock Café, opened during 2002 on the lower level of Le Meridien Cairo Hotel, with 205 restaurant seats and a bar seating 85. It turns into a huge disco, with live bands, at midnight.

All the major hotels have Western-style bars, which are just as popular with Cairenes as with the Western guests themselves. The fashionable place to drink changes monthly but there are some favourites. Harry’s Pub at the Cairo Marriott Hotel in Zamalek is busy, with its karaoke and ladies’ nights. The Ramses Hilton has its Windows on the World bar on the 36th floor and is the place to have a sundowner with its stunning views over the city and also popular and a safe bet for women, The Taverne du Champs de Mars at the Nile Hilton.

Casinos

Cairo has over a dozen casinos, most of them within the large international hotels. Games and opening hours vary, but all offer soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and snacks.

Casino d’Egypt has two hotel locations, both in Giza, the Mena House Oberoi Hotel, Pyramids Road (telephone number: (02) 383 3222), is open 7.00 pm to 5.00 am, whilst the Pyramisa Hotel, 60 Sharia el-Giza (telephone number: (02) 336 7000), is open 24 hours.

Casino Ramses Hilton, 1115 Cornich el-Nil (telephone number: (02) 574 4400), is open 3.00 pm to 9.00 am, while 24 hour gaming is available at the Cairo Marriott Hotel’s Omar Khayyam Casino, Sharia Saraya el Gezira, Zamalek (telephone number: (02) 340 8888).

Clubs

In Egypt, a nightclub is a place where you sit down, watch a show and eat and drink. The most popular have belly-dancers and these are included in the Culture section. The large hotels provide the best options as there are also numerous seedy joints aimed at parting you from your money, but only go to one if a dependable Egyptian friend recommends it.

If you’re after a Western-style nightclub, call it a disco and, again, head for the hotels. Jackie’s Joint at the Nile Hilton is an upmarket favourite. Tamango at the Atlas Zamalek Hotel, Casanova’s on the 7th Floor at Hotel el-Borg, and late night at Windows on the World at the Ramses Hilton are other popular hangouts.

One of the latest openers is Regina at the El-Gezirah Sheraton, which opens until 3.30 am. If you’re feeling fickle, as unlikely as it sounds, head for the World Trade Centre on the Corniche at Bulaq, here you’ll have a wide choice of fashionable places, including On the Rox, Piano Piano and Upstairs.