Unwinding on a Budget? Try Stage El Zamalek

Unwinding on a Budget? Try Stage El Zamalek

I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I said: “Let’s do something other than go to a café or a restaurant.” I can also guarantee that at least half the times we said that, we still ended up going to a café or restaurant.

But this limited and expensive pastime isn’t all there is. There are various activities you can get up to in Cairo, some expensive, others not costing anything at all.

But if what you want to do is unwind and relax in your downtime without having to splurge on food or fancy drinks, I can recommend you a small eclectic place hidden in the middle of Zamalek.

The quirkily decorated stage after which this quiet spot is named. Photo courtesy of Amina Zaineldine.

I didn’t really know what to expect the first time a friend of mine suggested this place. The fact that no food was served there was alien to me, and its hidden location inside a flat struck me as odd. But after spending that evening there, I knew this wouldn’t be the last time I visited this cosy place, and indeed, it wasn’t.

In the ground floor apartment of a building located quite centrally in Zamalek, lies what can be most adequately described as a big cosy living room, with the one exception that in the back of the room there is a small colourfully decorated stage with a microphone, a stool, and guitar propped up on a ladder in the corner.

A group of people socializing at the cosy Stage El Zamalek. Photo Courtesy of Amina Zaineldine.

For the affordable price of EGP 50, you can help yourself to two drinks from a small kitchen stocked with a variety of teas, coffees, and soft drinks. And although no food is served, if you wish to order from a place nearby, you’re free to do it.

A controversial aspect of this little spot is the fact that there is little separating you from those sitting around you. It can be a little bit uncomfortable for some to feel like your conversation can be heard by strangers, but to others it can be an opportunity to get to know new people.

There is space to work and space to lounge at Stage El Zamalek. Photo courtesy of Amina Zaineldine.

In my second visit to Stage, I actually ended up playing music with a group of total strangers, an experience I can only recommend.

The combination of comfortable couches and upright chairs allows you the option of going there to unwind, or perhaps to work if this is your plan. I personally witnessed groups of people working on projects there every time I went. And if you proceed to one of the side rooms, you’ll see that there’s a place for people who want to play video games, too.

Two young men playing video games at Stage El Zamalek. Photo courtesy of Amina Zaineldine.

It may not be an out of the box activity or a particularly luxurious outing, but if you want to unwind on a budget, Stage El Zamalek is a great place to do it.

Oh, and pro-tip: don’t bring a car. You know what Zamalek is like.

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Senior Editor at Egyptian Streets and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. Holds a master's degree in Global Journalism from the University of Sheffield, where she wrote a dissertation about the effect of disinformation on the profession of journalism. Passionate about music, story-telling, baking, social justice, and taking care of her plants. "If you smell something, say something." -Jon Stewart, 2015

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