The 11 Best Bars and Cocktail Bars That Cairo Has To Offer

Some of Cairo's best bars are on the Nile
Some of Cairo's best bars are on the Nile | Derejeb / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Cairo is a city with bustling streets, beautiful mosques and forgotten monuments. It has world-famous operas and experimental modern art, as well as all-night clubs and lazy hookah lounges. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Our local insiders have sampled the nightlife for you, so read on for the definitive list of where to hang out.

Pier 88

Bar, Italian, Mediterranean, $$$

It’s the setting that makes this spot memorable, as it sits on the top deck of a boat with panoramic views of the Nile, and you’re the captain tonight. Modern interiors with tall glass windows make Pier 88 a luxe experience. It gets pretty lively on the weekends, so put your glad rags on, although weekday lunches tend to be more relaxed. It’s headed by a Michelin-starred chef, you know you’re in safe hands here with their sophisticated take on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Drinks are poured with precision, and you can expect Cairo’s best behind the bar. Recommended by local insider Monia Hamdy

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Modern, Nightlife, Open Kitchen, Stylish

Happy City Hotel Roof Bar

Bar, Middle Eastern

A relaxed and off-the-beaten-track bar – so you can say “I went there first” – is this quintessential Egyptian rooftop experience. Cool, crisp drinks and shisha arrive with complimentary snacks of flatbreads, baba ghanoush and cheeses making this a perfect stop off when in Downtown Cairo. Hold the fort in the central bar area or slip off to a quiet nook to kick back. Recommended by local insider Virginia Ambrosia

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Quirky, Relaxed, Traditional

Gu Bar

Bar, Asian, $$$

Cairenes know how to have a good time, and when the sun goes down the atmosphere in the capital pops. And there’s nowhere better than Zamalek as the place to head to party. Gu Bar is a surprisingly modern and luxe offering on the slightly ageing Nile Maxim boat. The music pounds, the drinks flow and you’re guaranteed a good time. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit website
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Late Night

Window on the Nile Lounge and Bar

Bar, Mediterranean, French

Window on the Nile Lounge and Bar at the Sofitel hotel makes for a luxurious break from the busy streets – lean back into the comfortable rattan chairs and survey the kingdom of Cairo. A unique combination of library, upmarket bar and restaurant makes this spot stand out from the crowd. Feast on beef carpaccio tenderloin or shrimp cocktail, and gaze out at traditional feluccas as they sail past. As you would expect from this kind of joint, the service is second to none and your every whim will be catered to. A real treat. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

All Day

Atmosphere:

Stylish, Cosy, Romantic

Cairo Cellar

Bar, Mediterranean

An institution! A phenomenon! A cultural touchpoint! You might think these accolades aren’t fitting for a pub, but Cairo Cellar is one of the oldest and much loved establishments in the capital. Situated in the basement of the President Hotel, it sees patrons head down to the subterranean cavern for an array of drinks handily displayed in a huge liquor cabinet. It only takes a couple of visits to Cairo Cellar to be deemed a regular, and your name will be cheerily shouted across the bar when you arrive. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit website
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Nightlife, Secret

Virginian

Bar, BBQ, Mediterranean, Halal, $$$

The views here are worth a visit alone – you can spy the pyramids and the citadel among the bustling streets of Cairo down below. Crowds flock up the hill to sip on a refreshing mango juice or beer in the midday sun. If you’re in need of a caffeine fix, the Turkish coffee is fabulous. The decor hasn’t been switched up since the 70s and the retro, vintage interiors make it easy to imagine you’re in a smoky bar scene in a David Lynch movie. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit website
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

All Day

Atmosphere:

Casual, Outdoors, Secret

The Tap East

Bar, American, $$$

Fun is never far away at the Tap East, with games nights, DJs and stellar live acts bringing the vibe. Munch steaks, burgers and buckets of wings, alongside the three-litre beer towers, and polish it all off with a dulce de leche molten cake. After all, we’re here for a good time – not a long time. This Cairo spot has got the goods for everyone, so feel free to bring your hot date, your mates or your mum; they’ll all be content here. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Dinner, Late Night, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Gourmet, Loud, Modern, Nightlife, Stylish

El Barrio

Bar, Cuban, Caribbean

Inside a 100-year-old villa, in the heart of Heliopolis, you’ll find El Barrio, a quirky high-end bar. An eclectic collection of colourful chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and a patchwork of artefacts decorate the walls – you almost need more than one visit to notice everything. El Barrio (Spanish for neighbourhood) has its roots in Cuban and Latin culture and the menu reflects it. Feast on beef chimichurri and tequeños, and the creamy guacamole comes with a dreamy amount of tortillas to dunk straight in – perfect for nibbling with your chilled drinks. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit website
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Nightlife, Stylish, Modern, Outdoors

Rawi Restaurant and Bar

Bar, Restaurant, European

Old-school charm meets modern class at Rawi’s in the Sheraton Hotel. The bar is spacious, yet once you’re at your high tables, also intimate. Captivating Nile views and the twinkling lights of Cairo are the backdrop to sipping cocktails that are artfully crafted by the much-sought-after mixologist behind the bar. Watch expert chefs cook up a storm in the open kitchen, and get up close and personal to select your preferred meat or fish for the grill. From watching your food being prepared to live music and belly dancers, this place is certainly a feast for the eyes! Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Modern, Nightlife

Sachi

Bar, European, $$$

Tucked away on a quiet street in Korba, Sachi should be on your to-do list. The sharing dishes elevate date night – think a whole butterflied chicken served with garlic and soy dressing and roasted broccoli. Ask the bar for a wine recommendation – they won’t disappoint. Grey wooden floors and marble tabletops mean the decor is as modern as the menu. The sushi and sashimi delight, along with the salmon tataki and shrimp quinoa. From a vodka julep to a salty smith, the cocktails are crafted with a nod to the seasons and they’re tasty, too. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Dinner, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Modern

Pinchos Tapas Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish

You’ll be forgiven for forgetting where you are when dining at Pinchos. The tapas, cooked up by a Spanish chef, of course, take you straight to Seville or Bilbao. Exceptional. The signature dessert of churros con chocolate won’t last long on your plate, so it’s best to order two. The cocktails are creative and a great way to kick off your evening, while the wine list is extensive and thoughtful. Striking wall art and mood lighting create a romantic ambience that makes an evening at Pinchos truly memorable. Recommended by local insider Yasmin Dowedar

More Info
View menu
Visit website
Visit Facebook page

Meal service:

Dinner, Late Night, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Boutique

This is an update of an article by Alexa Smith

These recommendations were updated on June 15, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.