Party Like a Pasha: Nightlife in Cairo

This bustling city of 18 million people offers a plethora of restaurants and bars, borrowing influences from both Arab and western cultures. So, as a new Cairo resident, I thought it would only be natural to sample two of the capital's finer offerings, recommended by friends and guide books.

First stop is Abu El Sid, located in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood. With its grand wooden carved door, you are instantly transported to a time when Pashas ruled Egypt. As you enter, you are greeted by sumptuous deep colors adorning the walls and chairs, hanging lamps and brass tables with intricate designs are dotted around the restaurant.

On offer are renowned Egyptian dishes such as koshari -- which includes macaroni, lentils and chickpeas, complete with hot sauce, fried onions, and stuffed pigeon -- no explanation needed here apart from the stuffing, which is filled with rice.

Local beers and wines are also on tap. While this place sounds like a gem, one complaint is the service, which leaves much to be desired. The staff will not seat you at a table if you're not consuming food.

A favorite pastime in this part of the world is smoking a hookah or sheeshah, and Abu El Sid does not disappoint. But I would recommend my next stop -- a lounge called Sequoia.

Also found in Zamalek, Sequoia is an outdoor restaurant covered by tent-like white sheets. Television screens are scattered around the restaurant showing black and white Egyptian films. But don't worry if you don't speak the language, the movies are drowned out by the lounge style music.

The view here is the piece de resistance. It overlooks the Nile. This also means that at this time of the year a soft and refreshing breeze envelopes you. The d├ęcor is simple and includes comfortable white chairs and couches. It reminded me of being on the Balearic island of Ibiza.

Cairo Nightlife

The Sequoia menu is a mix of Egyptian-style dishes as well as western food, and they are currently working on putting sushi back on the menu.

There is also a menu entirely dedicated to sheeshah. You are presented with a board that consists of more than a dozen small plastic cups filled with different types of tobacco. And there is a flavor for everyone, ranging from Red Bull to cinnamon.

Because it is a popular hang out among Cairienes and tourists alike, one recommendation is book before you go.

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