This afternoon was clear and sunny, a usual occurrence in Cairo, and for me, the perfect time to have a beer in a riverside cafÃ©. I chose a well appointed open restaurant, with great views of the majestic Nile, complete with feluccas sailing upstream. Yet I fled disappointment and dry mouthed. Why?
Egypt is a mainly Muslim country, and while it is relatively liberal and secular, public consumption of alcohol is still a social taboo. There isn’t any beer, wine, or spirits in a normal riverside cafÃ©, or even most local restaurants. I knew this before I went, but it wasn’t until I was confronted by an embarrassed Cairo waiter whispering to me like I was asking for porn, that I realized exactly how dry Egypt is.
If you want a drink with dinner, or just a beer in the afternoon, you’re pretty much confined to either high-end Western hotels (I was in the Sheraton Galae Square) or Western-focused restaurants. Sidewalk cafes only serve tea or coffee and smoking hookah.Read More