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Cairo Nightlife

Cairo is even livelier at night than during the day, and locals always know how to enjoy themselves. Alcohol isn’t a huge part of social life, but areas like Zamalek are popular with partygoers. In many venues, the distinction between bar, restaurant and club is a little blurred. Many locals head to a venue for a dinner around 1000, after which the lights dim and music gets louder for the bar to kick in. Bear in mind though that discos and bars close by midnight at the latest - only those with a tourism licence can remain open later.

The political upheaval since 2011 has, of course, affected Cairo’s nightlife somewhat. A curfew (after the removal from power of President Morsi) brought an end to much of the live music and revelry that were previously mainstays of the city. While some restrictions remain in place, most have now been lifted and Cairo’s energetic nightlife is beginning to return to normal.

Baladi (literally ‘people’s’) bars have long been popular, with many clustered around Downtown Cairo, especially around Midan Orabi. Baladi Bars ( is a good guide to local bars. Although safe, women visiting alone may feel uncomfortable in these male-dominated environments.

Otherwise locals head to traditional ahwas (coffeehouse) to smoke shisha and drink strong Arabic coffee. Families bring their young children out to while away the evening on soft drinks, especially around Midan Al-Hussein in Islamic Cairo or shopping streets such as Talat Harb.

Cultural centres dot the city with varied programmes incorporating lectures, films, music, exhibitions and other cultural events. A good source of information is the English-language edition of Al-Ahram Weekly ( The best way to buy tickets is from a hotel concierge or a local travel agency.

Bars in Cairo

El Horreya

This popular pub is one of the best haunts in the city for sampling Cairo’s baladi drinking culture. Evoking an old English tea rooms, with high ceilings and peeling yellow paint, it’s packed every night with a an eclectic crowd of young Egyptians and older intellectual-types knocking back bottles of Egyptian Stella, first brewed here in 1897.

Address: , 2 El Mazloum Street, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 2392 0397.


Tucked away down a quiet side street, this split-level bar offers an informal, mainly vegetarian, ground-floor restaurant, combined with a first floor, lively bar with a DJ, which attracts young locals and wealthy students.

Address: Zamalek, 5 El Sayed El Bakry, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 2738 0080.

Pub 28

A down-to-earth bar also serving hearty food and meze, this smoky and cosy place has a good mix of locals and foreigners of all ages sipping whisky and cold beer.

Address: , 28 Sharia Shagaret el-Dor, Cairo,
Telephone: +20 2 27350972

Clubs in Cairo

Live music in Cairo

Cairo Jazz Club

This popular club, packed at weekends, offers a sophisticated mix of live jazz, blues, a DJ, drinks plus vegetarian food, in a dimly lit, smoke-filled environment.

Address: , 197, 26th of July Street, Cairo,
Telephone: +20 106 880 4764

El Sawy Culturewheel

Cultural centre with nightly live performances of classical Arabic, contemporary Egyptian bands, festivals and dramas, housing five separate stages. A real Cairo gem.

Address: Zamalek, 26 July Street, Cairo, 11211
Telephone: (02) 2736 8881

Classical music in Cairo

Dance in Cairo

Cairo Sheraton

Dance isn’t a major art form but the top hotels put on belly dancing evenings for their guests, usually with dinner. This can be enjoyed in Las Vegas-style productions at several international hotels and on some of the dinner boats run by the hotels.

Address: Dokki, Midan el Galaa, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 3336 9700.

Wekalet El Ghouri Arts Centre

Sufi dancing, more commonly known in the West as the dance of the whirling dervishes, can be seen on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings at the Ghouri Caravansary. Very popular with tourists.

Address: off Al-Moaiz St with Al-Azhar, 3 Mohamed Abdou Street, Cairo, 12411
Telephone: +20 106 000 5479

Theatres in Cairo

Rawabet Theatre

A range of engaging contemporary performances from domestic and international groups make Rawabet Theatre one of Cairo’s hottest venues.

Address: Downtown Cairo, 10 Nabrawy Street, Cairo,
Telephone: (01) 2750 70727.

Music and Dance in Cairo

Cairo Opera House

The city's main venue for drama, dance, film and music is located in the National Cultural Centre on Gezira Island. Boasting some of the best acoustics and facilities in the Middle East, it has a year-round programme of opera, classical concerts, ballet and dance from national troupes. Aida, Verdi’s classic opera, was specially written for this venue. For concerts in the main hall, men must wear a jacket and tie.

Address: , El Borg Gezira, Cairo,
Telephone: +20 2 2739 0299

Culture in Cairo

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This Cairo hotel offers 366 luxury rooms, including 101 suites, all with wonderful views of the Nile, the city and citadel, and many with private terrace. Facilities include a rooftop pool deck with adult and children's pools, and an excellent beauty and wellness spa. The hotel has six restaurants, headed by the seafood restaurant Aqua.

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Located on a charming street in Islamic Cairo, this brand new boutique hotel has been converted from an Ottoman house, complete with architectural features like domes, arches and mashrabiye (latticed wooden shutters). Elegant suites are filled with antiques, plus modern touches like free laptops and Wi-Fi.

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If you want to be in the thick of Khan el Khalili, this is the place. Overlooking the mosque Al Hussein, rooms are basic, but large. Water is usually hot, and there is a ceiling fan but the air-conditioning – when working – is noisy, and bathroom might be a little grubby. However the real draw is the huge balconies overlooking the square, a fantastic spot for watching the world go by. Service can be surly, especially for the (very basic) breakfast, but overall it’s great value.