Cairo is even livelier at night.
Cairo is even livelier at night than it is during the day, and the Cairenes have always known how to enjoy themselves. As the sun goes down, the people come out. Shopping, socialising and drinking coffee all need to take place before the serious business of eating, drinking, dancing and music begins. The fun goes on for as long as you can stand the pace and even at 0300 or 0400 when most places wind down, you will still find some that are open 24 hours. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the days for the big nights out.
Although Egypt is a Muslim country, and many Cairenes will enjoy themselves all night long by only drinking soft drinks, alcohol is not difficult to come by for those who want it. . There are plenty of nightlife options. Most basic are the baladi bars, often called cafeterias to disguise the fact that they are selling alcohol. They are perfectly safe if a little rough, and women on their own might feel uncomfortable in what is essentially a male domain. If you want to seek some out, try the Sharia Alfy area around the Midan Orabi.
To find out what’s on, get the Egyptian Gazette (Egyptian Mail on Saturdays), the English-language edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, or the monthly magazine Egypt Today (but double-check as monthlies are not completely up to date.)
In Egypt, a nightclub is a place where you sit down to watch a show while you eat and/or drink. The most popular have belly-dancers, and these are included in the Culture section. Yet again, the big hotels provide the best options as there are also a good number of seedy joints aimed at parting you from your money.
Only go to one if a reliable Egyptian friend recommends it. If you’re after a Western-style nightclub, again, the hotel chains provide the best discos, with Jackie’s at the Nile Hilton 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 swings until 0330. 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.