Updated: Mar 8
Who doesn’t love to sit outside with a drink when the weather is nice, especially when you’re high up enough above the city to catch a breeze?
Cairo may be congested and chaotic at ground level, but up on a rooftop it’s a completely different story.
So in no particular order, we give you some of our favorite rooftop bars in Cairo.
Covid update: any shisha mentioned is pre-covid. We're hopeful that it's just a matter of time until shisha is brought back, but as of this moment shisha is still not allowed due to covid regulations. We kept the mention of shisha included though so that you know which places to hit up once the ban is lifted.
Also known as the ‘Sicilian Rooftop’, this restobar is found on the 9th floor of the Royal Maadi Hotel. Opened by the same owners of Frank &Co, Maadi’s favorite tapas bar, Estro offers up Italian food with a view (especially if you go before sunset). Reservations needed.
Local tip: on especially clear days, you can see three different pyramid necropolises: the pyramids of Giza, the Step Pyramid of Saqqara,and the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur.
Address: Royal Maadi Hotel, Road 18, Maadi
Opening hours: 8 am - 2 am
This chic rooftop restobar resides on top of the Riverside building on a quiet Nile-facing street on the upscale island of Zamalek. 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!
Reservations recommended for weekends.
Address: 16 Kamal Al Tawil, Zamalek
Location: Garden City
On the 19th floor of the Cairo Capital Club in Garden City, Escobar is the (literally) highest rooftop bar on this list.
Esco-Bar Coctel Y Cucina is a popular Tex-Mex restaurant and cocktail bar in Beirut, and this is their first branch in Egypt to open, in January 2022.
Reservations recommended, you can call them on +01271333388.
Address: 9 Rostom St., Garden City
Carlton Hotel Roof Garden
Opening hours: 5 pm - 2 am
On top of the dated 3 star Carlton Hotel in Downtown Cairo is a surprisingly nice and breezy rooftop. The hotel has been open since 1935 and definitely hasn’t taken any steps into the 21st century (the interiors seem stuck somewhere in the 1980s), but the rooftop is simple and straightforward.
They serve local beer and wine and shisha (pre-covid), and at night you can see the High Court of Justice building lit up.
Address: 21 26th July St., Downtown
Opening hours: Noon - 1 am
Unexpectedly nice rooftops on top of shabby hotels is something Cairo seemingly excels at, and the jewel of its shabby crown is Rooftop Zamalek, on top of the Nile Zamalek Hotel. Rooftop Zamalek boasts panoramic Nile views and affordable local drinks and shisha (pre-covid).
It’s equally pleasant as both a daytime and nighttime venue, but just be wary of the food and bathrooms.
Address: 21 Mahmoud Sidky, Zamalek
Roof Garden Karvin
If you’re on the eastern side of Cairo and looking for a rooftop, then Karvin is always a good choice. On top of the 3 star Karvin Hotel in Heliopolis, this rooftop’s real claim to fame is the hotel’s Indian restaurant, Massala, which is excellent (it’s even opened another branch in the Mivida compound in New Cairo!). They deliver up to the rooftop so you can chase your Indian meal with a beer and a shisha (pre-covid).
A downside though is that this rooftop is more enclosed than the others on the list, so you don’t get as much of a breeze (although this makes it an ideal rooftop in winter).
Address: 11 Mohammed Ebeid, Almazah, Heliopolis
Location: Garden City
Opening hours: 10 am - 2 am
On the Kempinski’s 11th floor roof is their pool, surrounded by a few tables that offer awesome panoramic views of the Nile. While only hotel guests can use the pool, anyone can have a drink, shisha (pre-covid) or sandwiches and small plates off their rooftop menu.
Local tip: go right before sunset, you won't regret it.
For more of our favorite hotels in Cairo, head here.
Address: 12 Ahmed Ragheb, Qasr El Nil, Garden City
Location: Fairmont Nile City, Boulaq
Opening hours: weekdays 5 pm - 1 am, weekends 11 am to 1 am
Up high on the Fairmont's terrace is their new bar Gingko, which serves up not only amazing Nile views but a full-on cocktail menu as well as Asian and international dishes. They also open early for breakfast on weekends. But as always, expect hotel prices when you go to hotel bars!
Address: Fairmont Nile City
9. Odeon Palace Bar
Opening hours: 24/7
The only 24/7 rooftop bar on this list, Odeon has been a Downtown Cairo staple for decades now. Popular with Cairo’s artistic and cinematic crowd, as well as foreigners, it’s always an interesting mix of people. The view may not be able to compete with the Nile or Pyramids, but it has its own quirky charm.
They serve local alcohol and shisha (once again, pre-covid), as well as a few dubious food offerings (stick to something safe, like fries).
Address: 29 Street 21, Downtown
Looking for more nightlife inspiration? Check out our favorite bars, pubs and clubs in Cairo.