Image Credit: Tinou Bao | FlickrFlickering lights, lively streets, hollowed passageways, and wandering souls; this is a night in the ever-glorious, Wust El Balad. A usually jam-packed place, surrounded by embellishing buildings, downtown Cairo springs light and love to a city that has been swayed away with the newness of modernization.
Wooden walls that tell stories as old as time, otis elevators that carried generations, and atmospheres with long standing ties, here are some of Wust El Balad’s most vibrant night spots.
A cornerstone in downtown Cairo, Café Riche, notably the most famous bar, proudly wears its history since it opened in 1908. Alluring and enigmatic, the cafe was established in the early 20th century by a French national. Iconic revolutionaries, intellectuals, and prominent Egyptian figures made Café Riche a favorable meeting point. Over the years, Cafe Riche lost its spark to the sleek wave of modernized cafes that offer value for money; however, the legacy of the cafe abounds in its nostalgic ambiance.
Carol Tapas Bar
Enter Carol restaurant and bar, a quintessential feature of downtown Cairo’s iconic nightlife spots. Carol has been a fixture of the Cairo map since the 1960s, with an ambiance sure to make you transcend into a fantasy of what a Friday night might have felt like in the past. Carol is an escape from the sreile life of the gated communities, where it is home to intellectuals, downtown residents, and everyone looking to be immersed in flowing and breezy music tunes.
A glorious reflection of downtown Cairo’s ever-glowing renaissance is Estoril restaurant and bar. Estoril was founded and built by a Greek couple in the hollowed passageway between two buildings in downtown Cairo. Like many other vintage resto-bars, Estoril was a popular sanctuary for Egypt’s greatest thinkers, political activists, writers, and artists. Estoril’s menu isn’t as astoundingly delicious as it was, but the bar remains a relic of the bygone past.
Founded in 1906, the Greek Club allowed membership to Greeks exclusively, giving them a place to gather for mouthwatering food, drinks, and soulful, live music. The Greek Club opened its doors to the public in the 1950s, where its mesmerizing views, vaulted ceilings, and the taste of Greece would be enjoyed by everyone. The club is still a popular spot in downtown Cairo, where people gather for drinks and laughs.
Carlton Hotel Roof Garden
Only a few words suffice to describe Carlton’s rooftop bar, a magnetic gem that has stood the test of time since it opened in 1935. A quiet escape from the hostile busyness of Cairo’s streets, Carlton’s rooftop is simple and straightforward. The terrace is lined with wicker chairs and tables, stringed light bulbs and tree-lined edges that make Carlton the best getaway from the rigidly chaotic streets.
Odeon Palace Bar
Image Credit: Restaurant GuruA downtown treasure, Odeon’s rooftop is infused with nostalgic touches. The venue is for the night owls, with the venue working 24 hours. Every nook in Odeon is reminiscent of the 1970s, providing the place with its unique character and charm. While food and service here is not the best, one can enjoy a drink or two with a wonderful view of the city as the backdrop to a lively night out.
El Horreya Cafe
Home to Egyptian artists, intellectuals, and poters, expats, and loyal old-timers since the 1930s, El Horreya is a simple high ceiling space that buzzes with powerful conversations over tea, coffee, and alcohol. Located in the modest Bab al-Louq square, just steps away from Tahrir Square, El Horreya embodies the vibrant spirit of its customers and carries its radiant legacy despite its recent renovation.