Drinking and nightlife in Cairo

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Cairo

    Fishawi’s

    Probably the oldest ahwa in the city, and certainly the most celebrated, Fishawi’s has been a great place to watch the world go by since 1773. It's all clouded mirrors and copper tabletops that ooze old-world ambience. Although swamped by foreign tourists and equally wide-eyed out-of-town Egyptians, it is a regular ahwa, serving tea and shisha to stallholders and shoppers alike.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Cilantro

    Egypt’s home-grown answer to Starbucks, this popular chain does all the usual hot and cold coffee drinks, teas and juices, plus packaged sandwiches and cakes. If it weren’t for the gaggles of headscarf-wearing teenage girls who crowd the banquettes after school, it would be easy to forget you’re in Egypt. The latte frappé is heaven on a hot day.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Pub 28

    Blend in with the locals at this cramped dark pub, where the bartenders are in crisp white jackets and the regulars are usually conferring in clouds of cigarette smoke. Styled as a classic English watering hole, Pub 28 transports you entirely out of Cairo.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Windsor Bar

    Alas, most of the regular clientele of the Windsor Hotel's bar has passed on, leaving a few hotel guests, a polyglot bartender and a faint soundtrack of swing jazz and Umm Kulthum. Colonial history has settled in an almost palpable film on the taxidermist’s antelope heads, the barrel-half chairs and the dainty wall sconces. Solo women will feel comfortable here.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Smokery

    You'll forget you're in the middle of the desert when you step into The Smokery, an upscale bar where giant, lush plants seem to be staging a jungle invasion. Join locals for colourful cocktails and salmon spires at this glam addition to the nightlife scene in Heliopolis.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Kafein

    This teensy cafe-restaurant, tucked in the little alley off Sharia Sherif, does good coffee and shisha, as well as yummy fresh juices and milkshakes. Many a foreign journalist enjoys the air-con confines upstairs, the free wi-fi and the caffeine-hit here. Also good for lunch, with a menu of sandwiches and salads.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Deals

    This classic Zamalek hangout can get crammed, and seriously smoke-filled, late in the evening, but we still love its laid-back, casual vibe. Also check out its larger, newer sister cafe next door, No Big Deal, with a slightly old-fashioned vibe and a menu of sandwiches and coffees; open throughout the day.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Cafeteria El Horreya

    El Horreya has long been a living room for locals, artists and foreign residents, with tea, coffee and cold Stella beer on offer. It's not as dusty and dilapidated as it once was, but still oozes vintage Cairo atmosphere. Beer's only served on the right-hand side of the room (without the chessboards).

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Coffeeshop Al Khatoun

    Tucked away in a quiet square behind Al Azhar, this modern outdoor ahwa is a great place to rest up after a walk, with tea and snacks and comfortable pillow-strewn benches. In the evenings it attracts an arty crowd – students from the Arabic Oud House school on the square and others.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Riverside Cairo

    Super-fashionable bar and restaurant in a top spot in Zamalek with regular live music and DJs on weekend evenings. Expect expensive cocktails and good sushi, but the thing here is to see and be seen. You'll need to dress up to fit in here. There's a minimum charge of LE200.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    L'Amphitrion

    L’Amphitrion is a Heliopolis institution, once a hang out for the suburbs' wealthy and a favoured hang out for Allied soldiers during the world wars. Nowadays a younger clientele enjoys the outdoor space, drinking a cold Stella with some mezze.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Cilantro

    Pretty much the only place in Doqqi to get a decent flat white or cappuccino; this Cilantro branch has a great courtyard area out front (screened off from the road) with shaded umbrellas and cooling fans. There aren't any toilets though.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Garden Café

    The garden terrace at the Marriott is one of the most comfortable spots in town to relax over a drink. Big cane chairs, fresh air and good-quality wine and beer make it deservedly popular. The food is pricey and not very special.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Odeon Palace Hotel

    Its fake turf singed from shisha coals, this slightly dilapidated rooftop bar is favoured by Cairo’s heavy-drinking theatre and cinema clique, and is a great place to watch the sun go down (or even better, come up).

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Cilantro

    The Mohandiseen branch of Cilantro has a decent non-smoking section and serves up all the hot and cold coffee combinations this Egyptian coffee chain is known for. Also serves juices, teas and hot chocolates,

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Zahret Al Bustan

    This traditional ahwa is a bit of an intellectuals’ and artists’ haunt, though also firmly on many backpackers’ lists, so be alert to scam artists. It’s in the lane just behind Café Riche.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Cafeteria Stella

    Marked with a tiny red neon sign, this spit‘n’sawdust–style place gets good reviews from Downtown foreign residents, who find it a more cheerful and welcoming place than similar bars nearby.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Nomad Bar

    This bar, on the rooftop of the King Hotel, comes with the bonus of Pyramid views. It's a casual and relaxed place to hang out with a beer and shisha during the evening.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Zigzag

    This bar-club, set in the old Arabesque restaurant, hosts local bands on weekday nights while Thursday and Friday nights are DJ sets with electronica, R&B, hip-hop and grime. There's a strict couples and mixed groups only entry policy. In July and August, when most of Cairo's party-set have upped sticks for the beach, it is only open for occasional events.

  • Nightlife in Cairo

    Soma Caffe

    An ahwa dedicated to Kawkab Al Sharq, the ‘Star of the Orient’, a title for the famous Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. Look for the huge busts of the singer out front. Complement it with a visit to Al Andaleeb, dedicated to singer/composer Mohammed Abd Al Wahhab, down the block at the corner with Sharia Mohammed Farid.