The old Islamic quarter, known as Darb al-Ahmar, is great for a stroll through markets and stalls that feel like they haven't changed in five hundred years. Restoration work has been carried out on a series of mosques in this area which are architecturally stunning. I was lucky enough to be given an impromptu tour at night around one of them and the open roof revealed the stars. The Nile Hilton, not far from the Egyptian Museum (which is a must) has a rooftop bar which is definitely worth a visit for a drink overlooking the Nile at sunset. You don't have to be a hotel guest - just get in the lift and head to the top. One drink might be enough for some as it is not cheap but definitely worth the view.
Nile Hilton, 1113 Corniche El Nil, Cairo 12344.
Tel : 00 20 2 578 0444/ or 578 0666.
Situated in a boring and slightly scruffy building, this place is a real find. The three-star Longchamps Hotel is on one of the upper floors and, with two large terraces, is one of the most relaxing places in Cairo. Its decor could be described as a mix of elegant, Bohemian and ethnic. But what most people find surprising is the food. Menus are simple but dishes are invariably delicious to the point of being memorable. If you are looking for somewhere inexpensive, quiet, clean and pleasant to stay in Cairo, this is it.
Hotel Longchamps, 21 Ismail Mohamed Street, Zamalek. 3409644
Tel : 00 20 2 735 2311/12.
This is the place to eat out in style. Rossini is a sophisticated Italian seafood restaurant in Heliopolis with a piano bar upstairs and a garden at the back. It has great food, excellent cocktails (which are difficult to find in Cairo outside five-star hotels) and top service.
Rossini, 66 Omar Ibn el-Khattab Street.
Tel : +20 2 291 8282
Sangria is a cool restaurant and bar built around an old tree on the banks of the Nile. Enjoy a view of Zamalek from the open terrace, which during winter months is well heated. The cuisine is mostly South-East Asian and the crowd tends to be mainly young and wealthy, judging by the posh cars in the restaurant carpark. It's a great place for a beer.
Sangria, Corniche El Nile.
Tel : +20 2 579 6512
On the opposite side of the road from the Conrad Hilton towards the Arkadia Shopping Centre.
Latex is the name of the nightclub attached to the Nile Hilton Hotel, which, if you're into dance music and you're under forty, is the place to be at the weekends (Thursday and Friday nights being the equivalent to the British Friday and Saturday nights).
It can sometimes be quite difficult to get in and it's a bit pricey by Egyptian standards but if you look western and have a laydee in tow, you'll be alright! Men will find it harder than the women to get past the thick-necked bouncers but all told, they're a fairly placid bunch.
My personal advice is to drink the local lagers (Sakara is my favourite) instead of the imported spirits. They're much cheaper and do the same job.
1113 Corniche El Nil, Cairo
Tel: 20 2 5780444/5780666.
Minas is famous for its excellent cachaças (if you haven't tasted cachaça yet, think of it as a Brazilian rum, distilled from sugar cane). The Bar do Beco Cachaçaria is a snug spot just downhill from Praça Tiradentes, and offers an excellent selection of delicious mixed drinks with cachaça.
Go down the main street, lined with restaurants, leading off Praça Tiradentes, and the Beco (alley) is on your left, with the Cachaçaria a few steps up on your left.
If the list of 'stylish yet chic wine bars' listed by my fellow sandal wearing media types on GU scare you as much as it does me, go to Lemke. It's a brew pub. It has beer. It has food. It has everything except DJs, cocktails and anything that could be described as 'charming or eclectic'.
The food is German in quantity and style but really the beer is what marks it out. The dark is very nice, the porter is excellent but the wheat is even better. It's friendly, it's always busy and it's easy to get to, even if the road it's on doesn't look very promising. There is even a beer garden.
This is an inexpensive (US$12 per room), simple, clean and very friendly guest house. Each room has en suite and air conditioning. It is a good place to unwind after a hard, hot day. There is a bar, a casual restaurant (with Western or Khmer-style food), a pool table (good for chilling out) and free internet for catching up with your emails and bragging to friends. It is close to town and they give you transport around town and to the airport. The modest profits from here go to support Savong's School - a volunteer language school that is also worth visiting.
D&D Angkor Villa Guest House,
No 6 Highway (Airport Road, near the Caltex Station).
Tel : (00 84) 855 12 531 037
Caffe Bar Rio is a great place to spend your evenings. It has great music, prices are cheaper than any other bar in the town and there is a great mix of people from all over the world. And the service is quick, unlike some other bars.
From the Pile Gate it is the third street on the left off the Stradun.
Alex is a great place to meet up with people for a drink or a snack. Sit outside for a great view over the Binnenalster on one side, or watch the shoppers go by on the other.
Alex, Alster Pavillion, Jungfernstieg 54. The nearest subway is Jungfernstieg.
Despite it's reputation as a haunt of the supercool and the sometimes exorbitant alcohol prices, there are plenty of places in Stockholm in which to find a real party. Located near the theatre, the Soap Bar has a very trendy mixed crowd, who you will be joining in dancing on the tables by 9pm at the weekend. Further out from the centre but worth the trip is Cliff Barnes, named after the character from Dallas whose picture adorns one of the walls of the bar. It's very busy at the weekend but has a great atmosphere.
In the tradition of Baixo Gavea, Botafogo is now developing a number of more upscale hangouts in the cultural hotspot of the neighborhood, the block of Voluntarios Da Patria between the Metro station and the Praia de Botafogo (the shore of the bay). In January the Drinkeria Maldita opened with a modern atmosphere for twenty-somethings and more elaborate drinks than you find at the usual restaurant or bar. And last month Odorico, with more focus on food but the same attention to interesting potations, opened almost across the street, next to the Unibanco cinema complex.
Voluntarios Da Patria between the Metro station and the Praia de Botafogo.
Drinkeria Maldita, Rua Da Patria 10, Botafogo, Rio.
Tel : 00 55 21 2527 2456 matrizonline.oi.com.br/drinkeriamaldita/
Makassar, and Sulawesi, are great places to visit and the start and end of your holiday should be a cold drink watching the sunset from the terrace of the Kios Semarang. Makassar recently (1999) reclaimed its historic name after twenty-five years of being called Ujung Pandang. It is a large vibrant city (fifth or sixth in size in Indonesia) but with a village feel. It is a busy port city with a centre right next to the sea. It has a seaside promenade right there where it can be most enjoyed by everybody. Makassar is currently undergoing a boom in development and has lots of bars, cafes and night life (outside of Ramahdan). This is not Jakarta or Bali so there are not too many resident foreigners but their haunt is the Kios Semarang. The place is friendly and welcoming, the beer is cold, the food is excellent and the sunsets are famous. It is a bar/restaurant so you are welcome to just sit for hours with a coke, or whatever, and watch the sunset. From a wall seat you can watch the comings and goings of the locals along the promenade. The third floor is the place to go, partly open terrace and partly roofed over, so it is comfortable in the heat of the day and in both the wet (November to February) and dry seasons. Don't be put off by the record store on the ground floor. Go straight up two flights of stairs to the best sunset bar in Indonesia.
On Jalan Pantai Losari in the centre of town about 100m upstream (traffic wise) from the Makassar Golden Hotel. Taxis are plentiful in Makassar and good value. All taxi drivers know where the Kios Semarang is, or Jalan Pantai Losari on the sea front.The Kios Semarang is within walking distance of all the seafront hotels, bars and restaurants.
Go at 5.30pm, see the stunning HK skyline by daylight in one revolution, then stay for a second revolution (it takes 66 minutes) and witness the lighting displays switching on one by one in many of the bigger towers. One of the famous ones plays hard to get and waits until all of the other flashy ones have shown their best before it suddenly lights up. The restuarant has a very nice buffet dinner starting after dark but you can stand at the bar for sunset drinks only. Staff are friendly and efficient. It isn't cheap but is excellent value for the location and entertainment. Be careful when you go to the toilet (in the central core) because in the five or ten minutes you are in there, the view changes and you can feel disorientated and lost.
The Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road East, on the south edge of Wan Chai at the foot of the steep slope. Take a taxi (cheap and highly efficient) or take a 15-minute walk over from Wan Chai MRT through the narrow lanes and market stalls.
It is a bar/club on the side of Goodwood Park Hotel. Goodwood is one of the oldest and most beautiful hotels in Singapore. The bar has a large outside seating area perfect for people watching and enjoying the hot climate!
Fridays and Saturdays are packed out with Singapore's best and brightest and the queue often extends toward the York Hotel.
The house band are a unique Asian experience which some Western travellers may not like, but there is also a DJ who caters to most tastes. The staff are friendly and the owners are extremely hospitable.
Oh, and Saturday night is model night and you can find the smallish Singapore fashion scene getting smashed there most weekends
Ground Floor, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
(next to Far East Plaza)
The Park View building on North Bridge Road has a vast and magnificent neo-Art-Deco bar on the ground floor. A glass cabinet houses the most expensive bottles at ceiling height; if one is ordered, a barman allegedly has to be hauled up on a rope to fetch it.
The bar is open to the public only when it's not being used for business entertainment, so try your luck if you're passing by or phone ahead to enquire.
81 Beach Road
Tel: (65) 6338 8558
Take No. 7 bus or MRT to Bugis.
It is a bar/restaurant on Loi Kroh road, the menu is superb taste- and pricewise (i recommend the gammon steak, a bargain at 190 baht). The staff is Thai and Western friendly,which is standard in the entire country.
They have a big screen for football and a wide selection of beers (Thai and Western). This is the sister bar of the Queen Victoria which is on Propokklao road (bad location) and also a great place.
Near the end of Loi Kroh road, on the left if you are coming from the night bazar.
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