Because there are so many options to choose from when it comes to Zamalek bars, we focused on 7 of our favorite places to grab a drink on the island, from upscale restobars and vintage pubs to a dive bar with a fantastic Nile view.
Local tip: at all of the below places you can bring your own bottle of hard liquor or wine for a corkage fee.
Pier 88 sits on the upper level of a docked boat in Zamalek overlooking the Nile, and during the day it’s one of those quietly sophisticated bar & restaurants, complete with an open kitchen and drinks overlooking the water. Honestly? It’s pricey but worth it.
At night it gets more of a nightlife feel to it, and reservations are recommended. On weekend nights the music gets turned up and there’s occasionally dancing by the tables (we don’t recommend eating when the dancing gets started, because you won’t find much room to wield your knife and fork).
To reserve: 01208111140
This chic rooftop restobar resides on top of the Riverside building on a quiet Nile-facing street with a great view. Its open terrace overlooks the Nile, with an impressive bar and beautiful interior design.
They have great food and creative cocktails, but we warn you -- this place is not cheap!
To reserve: 01275055555
Pub 28 is one of Zamalek’s oldest and most-loved pubs, and with good reason. It’s small, cozy, warm and offers the best sangria in the city.
Expect to see a lot of 50+ Egyptians sharing a laugh over their beers -- they’ve been regulars for decades.
They have a good menu of Egyptian mezze, but warning: it gets smokey and crowded sometimes which isn’t always pleasant while eating.
L’Aubergine is another long-time heavy hitter in the Cairo bar scene. What’s awesome about them is they also serve great food, so it’s a good option if you want to kick back with a beer but also want some food in your system. It’s two floors, the bottom being dedicated to more brightly-lit tables for dinner and drinks, and upstairs at the bar it’s darker, with high tables and louder music.
Another thing we love about L’Aubergine is the casual-ness of it -- you don’t need to worry about suffering the night away in heels or dressing to impress.
To reserve: 02 24174095
Another swanky spot, great for either dinner and drinks in their seated restaurant section or to socialize at their bar. We love their decor, with walls dedicated to vintage hardcover books and other antique-looking pieces, and their signature crystal globe chandeliers.
They have an extensive list of cocktails (several pages long) and they also do different cocktails and shots of the day, so make sure to ask the bartender for his personal recommendation.
To reserve: 01222132357
Monkey Bar & Grill
Located at the President Hotel, Monkey Bar is a casual bar ideal for meeting up with friends. They have burgers and other bar food (try their fries, trust us) and an array of different seating options: at the bar, high table or low tables if you’re a group and all want to eat. It has a basement/cellar vibe but without being claustrophobic.
To reserve: 01033493330
Disclaimer: a lot of people will argue with us over this choice, but let us explain ourselves first. If you’re a tourist in Cairo, Rooftop should absolutely be on your list of must-go-to bars for its view alone. Hands down, it easily has one of the top 5 bar views in the whole city, not just Zamalek. Try to go during the day when it’s emptier, or very early in the evening to snag a table right at the view.
Why a lot of people don’t like Rooftop is because it’s on top of a shabby one star hotel, with terrible bathrooms (bring your own tissues and hand sanitizer), “no, thanks” food and the crowd is hit-and-miss. But if you’re in Zamalek and want to sit outdoors with a spectacular Nile view and affordable drinks, then head here for sure.
You might also like: 7 Hidden Gem Restaurants in Zamalek