| 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
the fact that
they sell alcohol. Whilst a little rough, they are
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).
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
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.
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).
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
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