Cairo nightlife swirls around the aromatic social centre of the
city, the coffee shop. The ahwas, as they are called, are
day and night social gathering spots for locals. Many Muslims don't
drink alcohol (although many do) and the ahwas serve the same
social purpose as the bars and pubs in many other countries; they
are great places to mingle or relax and take a break from frenetic
Cairo. In the night hours some cafés also sell alcohol to a
very local crowd, although visitors are usually welcome.
Most large hotels house a pub, bar or large club. These are very popular spots with locals as well as visitors, and bookings for club tables may need to be made in advance. Clubs usually have relaxing lounge or restaurant atmospheres, often centred around a performance of music or dancing. While this can be great entertainment, many belly dancing shows and clubs are fronts for prostitution. Large hotels have reputable shows as well as popular western-style discos, usually with an Egyptian-themed twist.
Westerners are welcomed everywhere, and sometimes preferred, although women should dress a bit more conservative than they might at home. During Ramadan, alcohol is only served in 'foreigners only' establishments.
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