Cairo's nightlife scene is certainly cool, but most locations defy easy definition, moving seamlessly from early evening cocktail lounge to mid-evening eatery to late-night dance venue. The clientele is a cosmopolitan mix of wealthy Egyptians, foreign residents and workers, and a grab bag of international visitors. In summer, Cairo is a great playground for visitors from Gulf countries, many of whom come to enjoy the city's clubs and bars. Popular clubs usually close around 2 am, though some close earlier.

Belly dancing, which was once a favorite performing art, is falling out of favor with both Egyptians and visitors. Your best bet if you want to see tame versions of these once risqué performances is to visit one of the major hotels in the city. Belly dancers will normally gyrate for 15 or 30 minutes nightly at their signature Middle Eastern/Lebanese restaurants. At this writing, only a couple of hotels still offer dancers.

International coffee chains have arrived in Egypt, so there's no need to miss out on your favorite caffeine hit. However, Cairo has its own café culture, where you can be assured of a freshly brewed espresso or cappuccino, though you'll find that Egyptians will more often take tea.

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  • 1. Carlton Roof Garden


    Locals gather on this beautiful terrace, on the eighth floor of a 1930s family-run hotel, to escape the city’s chaotic streets and to take in...Read More

  • 2. Crimson Bar & Grill


    In terms of location, this rooftop bar won the lottery: it overlooks the Nile from one of Zamalek’s quietest streets. No surprise, then, that it's...Read More

  • 3. Sachi


    Sleek black tables and low-hanging lights create an intimate and luxurious atmosphere at this high-end establishment, where the service is stellar, the cocktails are sophisticated,...Read More

  • 4. 1920s Boutique Hotel & Restaurants


    This beautiful, 100-year old villa has a selection of restaurants, all with bars, that make it a go-to place for a night out. Enjoy Latin...Read More

  • 5. Aperitivo


    Aperitivo is a great place to dress up and enjoy a night on the town. The modern decor, dark wood, and warm but low-key lighting...Read More

  • 6. Café Riche


    Founded in 1908, Café Riche was once the social headquarters for members of Cairo's theater and literary communities. The historic ambience makes it a great...Read More

  • 7. Cairo Cellar


    Though this lively bar is literally in the basement of the President Hotel, the descent into it is far nicer than that into the average...Read More

  • 8. Cairo Jazz Club


    This club, next to 15th of May Bridge, has a dark, scruffy interior that isn't much to look at, but this is far and away...Read More

  • 9. Carmen Pub Bar


    Locals and tourists patronize this relaxed watering hole in the Flamenco Hotel for its draft beer, affordable drinks, and personalized service. The barmen, most of...Read More

  • 10. Carol Tapas Bar


    This low-key Downtown bar, with an eye-catching display of backlit bottles, serves a wide range of cocktails, beer, spirits, and wine to accompany its selection...Read More

  • 11. Char Bar


    High ceilings, wooden chairs and floors, and the sweet smell of a burger sizzling are among the things that define the bar on the third...Read More

  • 12. El Horreya Café and Bar


    This quintessential local bar has been the go-to spot for leftist intellectuals, writers, artists, poets, and expats since the 1930s. You can sip coffee, tea,...Read More

  • 13. Esco-Bar

    Garden City

    Head for the 19th floor of the famous and trendy Cairo Capital Club to enjoy the excellent views while sipping on margaritas and indulging in...Read More

  • 14. Estoril Bar


    Like many other Downtown spots, this bar is a favorite of political activists and artists. It was established in the 1970s by a Greek couple,...Read More

  • 15. Gingko


    The modern, stylish rooftop bar at the Fairmont Nile City hotel serves delicious food to accompany its drinks. You also can't beat the view of...Read More

  • 16. Il Giardino Restaurant


    At this lounge and restaurant in the Steigenberger Hotel, you can kick back, relax, and reward yourself with some Italian food and a glass of...Read More

  • 17. L'Aubergine


    Head to the candlelit top floor for a cocktail and the ground floor if you want dinner and drinks. The atmosphere is casual, the drinks...Read More

  • 18. Le Bistro


    On one of Downtown’s hippest streets, this cozy pub and restaurant offers an international menu, a decent selection of drinks, and terrific service. You can't...Read More

  • 19. Monkey Bar & Grill


    Chic decor that mixes rustic with modern, fantastic drinks, and delicious food (the desserts are especially decadent) make for a great experience at this loud,...Read More

  • 20. Omar Khayyam Casino


    The crowd at this upscale casino in the Cairo Marriott Hotel consists only of tourists and expats (by law, Egyptians aren’t allowed to gamble). It's...Read More

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