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. El Fishawy

    Islamic Cairo North | Cafés

    This famous café is right in the heart of the medieval marketplace; this is the great café in Cairo, open around the clock and beloved by...Read More

  • 2. Sequoia

    Zamalek | Cafés

    An atmospheric tented venue on the banks of the Nile at the northern tip of Zamalek, Sequoia offers a contemporary menu that attracts as many...Read More

  • 3. After Eight

    Downtown | Dance Clubs

    A favorite of twentysomethings and backpackers, this nightspot has been on the scene for many years and gone through many reincarnations. It...Read More

  • 4. Cairo Jazz Club

    Mohandiseen | Bars/Pubs

    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 the best place to hear...Read More

  • 5. El Morocco

    Zamalek | Dance Clubs

    This club, occupying part of a stationary Nile cruise ship, has a resident DJ who flips between 1980s disco and contemporary dance, trance,...Read More

  • 6. Garden Promenade Café

    Zamalek | Cafés

    In the gardens flanked by the restored palace that serves as the lobby of the Cairo Marriott, this is the best place to wind down at night....Read More

  • 7. Odeon Palace Bar

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The rooftop bar continues to attract crowds for its laid-back ambience despite the fact that the hotel has passed its prime. Relax on the low...Read More

  • 8. Omar Khayyam

    Zamalek | Casinos

    Most major five-star hotels have casinos that are open until sunrise, with all the usual games (roulette, blackjack, slot machines, and so forth...Read More

  • 9. Pub 28

    Zamalek | Bars/Pubs

    This bar is the perfect destination if you just want a few beers in a neighborhood bar with a friendly bunch of expats and locals. The place...Read More

  • 10. Shinkō

    Mirage City

    This sleek, modern trendsetter has garnered a loyal following thanks to the memorable cocktails created by its talented mixologists. There's also a short bar-food menu....Read More

  • 11. Windows on the World

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    This bar is on the top floor of the Ramses Hilton, drawing a forties-plus crowd for the late-night views and musicians playing softly in the...Read More

  • 12. Windsor Hotel

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The hotel has a quiet and comfortable bar with a prerevolutionary style that is better for a relaxing over an early-evening beer than for late...Read More

  • 13. Buddha Bar

    Zamalek | Bars/Pubs

    One of the world's coolest international nightlife brands has found a home on the banks of the Nile, where its Asian-influenced decor gets a...Read More

  • 14. Hard Rock Café

    Rodah Island | Bars/Pubs

    Cairo's Hard Rock has a great staff, who do a creditable job with their dance routines, so the place is full of energy by 10 pm. It's no different...Read More

  • 15. Sangria

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Part restaurant, part lounge, Sangria is definitely one of the "in" places in Cairo for its relaxed atmosphere. ...Read More

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