Cairo Jazz Club has been thriving for well over a decade as the city’s live music hub. Operating every night of the week, this small but lively club hosts an eclectic mix of bands and DJs spinning up electronica, house, pop, techno and occasional jazz sessions. It also hosts some of the best themed events in town. Conveniently, their smartphone app tells you all the dates and set times of their DJs, bands or jazz performances. This makes it easy to pick a night every week for a drink and a boogie to your flavour of music.
The venue is located on the busy 26th July Corridor in Agouza, just off the Corniche. Its dance floor is small enough so you’re not swallowed up in the crowd but just big enough for an enthusiastic boogie. Get there early enough and you can secure a table and enjoy surprisingly delicious meals - the finger food in particular is a hit. Cairo Jazz Club has always been known for its low roof and smoky atmosphere, creating both an intimate yet asthma-inducing experience. But thankfully the club was closed for the month of July 2014 for renovations. This made the Ramadan period even more difficult to find a watering hole, but the brand-spanking new air con system means you can enjoy the Jazz Club in a less smoky, sweaty manner.
The music is quite the mix. For a classy night of soothing jazz performances by talented musicians, head to the club on Saturdays and Sundays. But these days the Cairo Jazz Club is a popular venue for it’s local and international DJs, fresh talents and live bands during the week and on Fridays. In 2014 the popular nights have been international DJ's on Mondays, experimental and acoustic bands on Tuesdays, Boogie Nights on Wednesdays featuring 80s and 90s mixes, fun cover bands like Glass Onion (a Beatles tribute band) on Thursdays and crowd-pleasing DJs on Fridays. The club’s themed events are always a hit, and its 13thBirthday Party with an open bar was a night to remember (or not remember, if you said yes to each round of jelly shots).
The clientele at the Jazz Club vary depending on the night’s line-up. Generally it’s trendy locals and expats, but it doesn’t attract too many pretentious customers as the place isn’t designed to be posh or exclusive, like some of the bigger clubs. The staff are numerous, normally attentive, and generally know how to pour a mixed drink - including some cocktails. Occasionally you’ll find the ratios are out by a mile – but hey, it’s Egypt. An absolute Cairo Jazz classic and crowd-pleaser are the flaming lamborghinis (64 LE).
The club is well run and managed; it’s a reliable nightspot as there’s plenty of information and updates online. This is in part due to the colossal German-Egyptian Manager, Taimour Hosni who has been the face and reliable guardian of the Jazz Club for years. He is well-known in the Cairo entertainment scene for his management of the venue and also for strictly enforcing the club’s rules to ensure everyone has a fun but safe time (he’ll blacklist you if you bring trouble!). This burly manager towers above the rest, but for those who have ventured to the Jazz Club regularly, Taimour has revealed his true colours as the ‘Big Friendly Giant’. He’s often spotted weaving his way through the crowd, keeping an eye on everyone and passing around trays of cheeky shots and flaming lamborghinis.
There’s no entry fee to the club and no minimum charge so you won’t spend a fortune! Beware the door policy: the minimum age is 25, no single or groups of men, and they generally don’t admit women wearing a headscarf. It’s always best to call and reserve a table as some nights the Club is at full capacity, particularly weekends or big events.