The Bar Scene Of Downtown Cairo: All You Need To Know
Perhaps the oldest bars in all of Egypt, and sometimes dubbed “Baladi Bars”, and the drinking spots of Downtown Cairo are the cornerstone of nightlife at the capital’s heart. Unlike the more well-known destinations in Zamalek, Maadi, and the 5th Settlement, these pubs are hidden gems offering good drinks and a chill atmosphere.
Once in the Downtown district, it could be difficult to spot one of these bars as a good number of them have been hiding in deep alleyways for generations; one just needs to know where to look. With plenty of options to choose from, get ready to experience the aesthetic Downtown like never before.
Here is the complete guide to the Downtown bar scene in Cairo:
Located at the intersection of Hoda Sha’rawy and Talat Harb Streets, neighboring the delish breakfast destination Felfela, Stella Bar has been a staple for Downtown’s drinking scene for generations. It is a gathering place for intellectuals, expats, artists, locals, and much more.
The signature drink there is, of course, Stella Beer, the Egyptian made and brewed barley beer that has been around for more than a century. Other drinks are available too, and all range from low to mid price. The bar is bustling with diverse clientele, so maybe buckle up for a night of good drinks, groovy vibes, and unforgettable conversations.
Just off Bab Al-Louq Street, near the Greek Campus, in the midst of Downtown’s liveliness, sits El Horreya Bar and Cafe. It is not a pub of the traditional sense, but more of a Baladi Egyptian cafe that offers beer, which is the only available spirit while we are still on the subject.
With mirror-covered walls, high ceilings, and neon lights, El Horreya is very distinctive, perhaps, the last of its kind. It is familiar to students, tourists, expats, and locals. The bar has been there at the same spot for ages and people keep going there because apparently, it offers the most budget-friendly beer in Egypt.
Well, technically a bar/cabaret, Sherazade has been sitting on the corner of Alfy Street for more than fifty years. On the inside, the bustling cabaret has walls depicting sceneries of belly dancers, One Thousand and One Nights, Arab princes on horses, with Christmas lights hanging from above. It is flamboyant and sleazy, but in a way, it all comes together perfectly.
With a belly dancer, loud band, and Stella cloth-covered tables, it has everything you would expect to find in a cabaret. It offers beer, gin, and a wide array of other spirits, and the beer is served in a bucket of ice, so you can crack a cold one with the boys.
The staff there will tell you stories of how Fifi Abdou used to dance on this stage in the old days, and how Sherazade used to be the embodiment of nightlife in Cairo and the Middle East. It is an altogether fun experience to have.
Happy City Rooftop
Happy City is a Downtown hotel situated at Mohammed Farid Street; the place wouldn’t be that special if it were not for their Rooftop Bar that has a view of all of Downtown Cairo, and the best perk is that it’s open 24/7. It has
Named after its original owner the French Maurice, El Muriaz has been standing in the heart of Adly Street for decades. It is one of the easily-spotted bars of the Downtown scene, with its red exterior and Stella sign. Once inside, there are two floors, one with red painting, the other painted in gold. With a Stella poster on one side and a large mirror on the other side.
It is a place where you can have fun and enjoy the company of friendly strangers who will not mind if you join in the conversation. And even though the clientele is predominantly male, females there will not have any trouble sitting down for a beer or two.
One of the smallest bars of Downtown Cairo, yet rich in history, New Arizona is just across the street from Sherezade. On the inside, old paintings and photographs hanging next to Stella decorations, and from time to time, expect the neighborhood friendly cat to sleep on your lap before strolling off to find a new sitting spot.
Like Sherezade, you will find Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling with an old-fashioned TV on the left side of the room. It is one of coziest and quietest bars out there. If you are not a fan of blinding lights and horribly loud music, but still looking for a place to drink at, New Arizona is the place to be.
With a half-naked Pharaonic murals behind the stage of Palmyra, you know you are in for an adventure. The straight-up cabaret has a reputation of having the best belly dancers in Downtown. Palmyra can be found on Scarabee Alley, Off 26th July Street in the heart of the capital.
One of the oldest cabarets in all of Egypt, Miami has withstood the test of time. The stage has witnessed the Egyptian Queen of belly-dancing Samia Gamal who used to perform with fellow Superstar Tahya Karioka and has seen Egyptian legend Farid Al-Atrash pour his heart out.
However, nowadays, the place is a bit overpriced and the service is not that great.