Rooftop Bar (also known as Pour Vous or Zamalek Nile Bar)
By Josh The Drake
There’s perhaps no venue that better embodies all of Cairo’s glory and downfall in one place. Rooftop Bar sits atop the Nile Zamalek Hotel (which by the way, is a terrible establishment. Think un-cleaned rooms with suspicious looking tissues in the bed, grimy walls and cockroaches). When you first step up onto the rooftop your eyes will widen and you might get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes when you combine the smell of shisha with visions of green beer bottle chandeliers (see photos below, aren’t they great!) and a breathtaking Nile view of undeniable beauty.
The ambience of the place is really spectacular.
With those key ingredients spot on you wouldn’t think that anything else matters. Yet it all goes wrong with what can only be described as the worst and most infuriating/laughable table service in Cairo (and that’s a big call I know).
For the most part, waiters are completely disinterested in the customers. When walking around they mostly avoid eye contact and when you finally do get their attention to make an order it’s fairly likely that the order won’t eventuate until the second or third time you’ve asked. On one occasion a waiter randomly brought us a cherry shisha. When my friend politely indicated that we didn’t order it, the staff insisted we were wrong and left the shisha with us.
There is a full-size menu with a range of meats, salads and various contemporary/Egyptian dishes. The food is pretty ordinary but not terrible, depending on what you order. I’d say definitely don’t go here for dinner, but for bar snacks it’s fine. It’s also fairly likely that whatever you order won’t actually be available in the kitchen.
Overall it’s a good place to catch up with friends and it’s a good place to take tourists for a beer. If you can get a table on the edge of the balcony you won’t help but admire the scenery. Often the best places in this city are 5 or 6 floors above the hustle and bustle. As a regular hangout though it’s tiring and after persisting for a couple of months (thinking perhaps we just kept getting unlucky with the service) my friends rarely go here anymore.
Tip: Go for a sunset if you can.
Lookout for: Beer bottles falling from the chandeliers!