After being away from Cairo’s nightlife scene for years, I do hesitate before I go anywhere. Like most people, I prefer newly opened places before they become the “in” place, because once they do, the crowd changes, the music changes, and the quality of service as well as food/drinks deteriorate.
Back in the days when I was a night owl, the Cairo Jazz Club was my safe-haven. My friends and I would try out new bars and clubs, but would always go back there when we want to be sure to have a good time…a predictable night of good music, good food and good service, and no ripping off.
Last Thursday, I decided suddenly to go out after work. I wanted a good meal, a cold beer and some nice music, and the first place that came to my mind was the Cairo Jazz Club. I have to admit that I did hesitate before going, I had no idea what might have happened to my hang-out along the years. I also had no idea what was scheduled for the night.
Deep in my heart, I still had faith, and it paid off.
It was around 8 pm when we arrived, the place was quite empty save for a couple of people having dinner. My fears calmed when I heard the practice tunes coming from the stage and the beautiful sound of visiting artist, Eve Fleishman’s smoky voice singing Jazz.
Our food arrived and as usual it was perfectly done and in big portions, I had the Jazzy Greek Salad, and my friend had the Four Cheese Pizza. My salad was exactly the way I love it, lots of green and lots of olives, scrumptious and fresh. My friend’s pizza was pretty much the best pizza I have tasted in Cairo for a long while.
Our intention was to leave by 11 pm, it had been a long day, but then Bad Mojo appeared on stage. Dressed in a white shirt, a tie and a cool hat, the lead singer Hisham Bluse, along with Sherif Watson on guitar, Mohamed El Azhary on drums, and Ezz Shahwan on bass hit the right spot and before we knew it, it was 2 am! The CJC clientele swayed with the captivating performance and we were all dancing as the night went by. Although the band took way too many long breaks, we still enjoyed ourselves.
Even though the, to me, familiar waiters and bar tenders are no longer at the Jazz Club, the new ones are just as polite and as attentive as the old ones. The place remains cosy, clean and casual, and it also remains one of the very few places in town that don’t rip you off when you finally get the check. Prices are moderate, and, most importantly, honest.
The Cairo Jazz Club remains the best outing in town, if you are not into posh places where people go to watch and be watched. If your purpose is to have a friendly fun atmosphere and not be evaluated by what you wear, who you are with and how you act, the CJC remains the refuge.