Drinking and nightlife in Egypt

  • 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 Alexandria

    El Rehany

    This expansive and breezy Alexandrian classic is reputed to have the best shisha in town, served with a flourish by attentive boys in smart two-toned waistcoats while black-and-white-clad waiters bring tea in silver urns. The decor is eclectically elegant, including lofty ceilings etched with elaborate floral patterns, tables and chairs in Islamic designs, and burgundy tablecloths.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Alexandria

    Cap d’Or

    The Cap d’Or, just off Sharia Saad Zaghloul, is one of the only surviving typical Alexandrian bars. With beer flowing generously, stained-glass windows, a long marble-topped bar, plenty of ancient memorabilia decorating the walls and crackling tapes of old French chanson (a type of traditional folk music) or Egyptian hits, it feels like a throwback to Alexandria's cosmopolitan past.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    El Qobesi

    El Qobesi has crowned itself the ‘king of mango’ – take one sip of the juice here and you will bow down, a loyal peon. Slivers of several ripe mangoes are cajoled nearly whole into a tall, chilled glass to make some of the best mango juice we’ve ever tried. Open around the clock, and always bustling.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    Sofianopoulo Coffee Store

    You can smell the coffee from half a block away. This old-fashioned coffee retailer would be in a museum anywhere else in the world. Dominated by huge silver coffee grinders, stacks of glossy beans and the wonderful, faintly herbal aroma of roasted java, it's caffeine heaven and it serves ahwa (coffee) fit for a king.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    Brazilian Coffeestore

    Even though it has recently been revamped, this coffeehouse, here since 1929, still has plenty of old-time atmosphere as well as its old wood-carved counter. And the coffee is better than ever. Perfect for that first morning cup or one anytime in the day.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    El Tugareya

    Although it may not look like much to the uninitiated (it doesn’t even sport a sign), this 90-year-old institution is one of the most important ahwas (coffeehouses) in town. It’s an informal centre of business and trade (the name roughly translates to ‘commerce’), where deals are brokered in time-honoured tradition – over a glass of shai (tea) or ahwa (coffee).

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Alexandria

    Selsela Cafe

    At this fantastic cafe across from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina you can sip tea and smoke shisha to the sound of waves rolling in, and smell sea air instead of petrol fumes (yay). Directly on the water, it has rustic palm-frond-shaded tables replete with twinkling coloured lights, set on a small curving beach where you can hardly hear the traffic.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    Delices

    This old tea room has been in business since 1922 and is the place to come for tea and cake. Although much of its original grandeur has been scrubbed away, its high-ceilinged halls still exude a sense of old-world atmosphere. The patisserie here once supplied Egypt's royalty and the cafe was a favourite haunt of Allied soldiers during WWII.

  • 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 Minya

    Dahabiyya Houseboat & Restaurant

    This old Nile sailing boat has been moored along the corniche near the tourist office for many years and is one of Minya’s most unusual addresses. The bedrooms downstairs are no longer for hire, but the top-deck cafe-restaurant remains popular with locals, especially for a coffee or cool drink on a warm evening.

  • 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 Alexandria

    Spitfire

    One of the best bars in town, Spitfire is a dimly lit but friendly place with a bit of a rough-and-ready feel, just north of Sharia Saad Zaghloul. Walls are plastered with shipping-line stickers, rock-and-roll memorabilia and photos of drunk regulars. It’s a great place for a fun evening out with a mixed clientele of locals, foreign residents and passers-through.

  • 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 Alexandria

    Ahwa Sayed Darwish

    Named for the composer of Egypt’s national anthem, this tiny and highly enjoyable local coffeehouse, near Sharia Al Nabi Daniel, is set on a quiet and leafy side street around the corner from the Cavafy Museum. The chairs are comfortably padded, and the shisha pipe comes fast and clean. The clientele is exclusively men.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Hurghada

    Caribbean Beach Bar

    If you're looking to chill with a cocktail right next to the sea, this palm-thatched pontoon over the water has a laid-back atmosphere made for lounging. Once the sun has set there's often live music or parties. You have to walk through the Bella Vista Hotel to get here.

  • Nightlife in Alexandria

    Imperial Cafe & Restaurant

    This classic cafe has been tastefully refitted to become a chic yet comfortable space with air-conditioning, wi-fi and a list of espresso-based coffees, smoothies and fancy juices. There’s a full menu featuring burgers, sandwiches and fajitas. You can also sit out on the sidewalk at an umbrella-covered table. It’s a great place to take a break.

  • 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 Sharm El Sheikh

    Bus Stop Lounge

    This bar is known for its good music and up-for-it, fun-loving crowd. There’s a pool table for those who don’t feel like getting on the dance floor, and happy hour from 8pm to 9pm gets you two-for-one beers and half-price cocktails. Earlier in the evening there's a menu of snack-style meals, while after 10pm the DJ takes to the decks.

  • Nightlife in Luxor

    Kings Head Pub

    A relaxed and perennially popular place to have a beer, shoot pool and watch sports on a big screen, the Kings Head tries to capture the atmosphere of an English pub without being twee. The laid-back atmosphere also means that women can come here without being harassed. At the time of writing, it had been up for sale for a long time.