Always wanted to experience how a bar in Cairo was like in the 1920's? Go for a drink in this little precious time-pocket Downtown. When you walk into the bar at the Windsor Hotel you almost feel like you have stepped into an old faded photograph. In many ways you have at the Windsor, which was built in 1901 and little seems to have changes since then.
The décor is dominated by dark leather and heavy wood, and there is an undeniable colonial feel to the dimly lit bar. Old wooden barrels have been turned into tables and chairs and puffy comfortable couches are placed in small groups providing an intimate atmosphere to the ceilinged room. The pictures on the walls and the random knick-knacks are a reminder of the bar’s function as a colonial British officers club during World War one.
The Gin and Tonics are served with a long stirring spoon that has a small bell at the top. Sitting in the smoky bar it is easy to picture a British officer discretly waiving the bell to get the waiters attention for a new refreshment. The waiters themselves are a big part of the picture, dressed in clean white shirts and bowtie always smiling and attentive from the moment they greet you in the door till the moment you leave the time-pocket. Many of the waiters seem to have been here for decades, and if you ask nicely they probably have a good story or two about the place. In weekends the place can be fairly busy, but at weekdays the bar is usually relaxed and quiet. When busy expect to have to go to the bar to order drinks and food. Like many of Cairo’s drinking haunts the Windsor is most adept at serving the beers you come to forcibly know and love as well as a range liquor, mostly Egyptian made but with some exceptions. Dont expect the staff to be able to pull off the big cocktail show, but you can safely order a rum and coke or a gin and tonic if you dont mind the petrol-like aftertaste of local liquor.
The Windsor is welcoming and relaxing. It’s one of the best places in Cairo to meet with friends and talk the night away accompanied by cold Stellas. An extra bonus about the place is the free and fairly reliable WiFi, which even makes the place suited for afternoon studying or working (followed by drinks of course) .
Min charge per person: 50 LE
Meal prices: Fairly cheap bar food
Drink prices: Stella Beer 25LE, Sakkara Beer 28LE, including tax and services