Football is the closest thing Egypt has to a national sport. Sure, there’s squash and horse riding for those who are rich enough. Or basketball for those who are tall enough. And smoking, too – though there is controversy over whether using your lungs is enough to categorise it as a sport.
So football it is, then. Which makes it triply tragic that Egypt didn’t make the World Cup this year. For those of you who weren’t paying attention, they were eventually knocked out by Algeria in a series of matches that, to be honest, did neither side much credit.
But this is all by the by. You’ll probably still want to watch it, as will a whole host of the capital. Best – and simplest – bet, just walk out of your hotel and follow the noise. Coffee shops all over will be showing games, especially the big ones.
If you find yourself Downtown, heading north from Tahrir street, just past Horeya, will bring you to a whole series of paved off, lively areas with a bunch of coffee shops and local bars which are bound to be showing the footie.
If you definitely need to drink, it becomes a bit more complicated. It’s summer here now, so it’s blasted hot. Outdoors is best. Try the Swiss Club, Sequoia, or even Le Grillon. Even the Grand Café franchise can have a good atmosphere on big match nights.
Failing that, try the BCA (British Community Association; they don’t want to advertise externally, so I can’t even give you their address, but they are near the Shooting Club in Doqqi), which has good air-con, a well stocked bar, and a big screen. Or head to L’Aubergine on Zamalek to kick back with the too-young-too-rich crowd.
Most of the hotel-based bars will also be showing the matches. The thing is, you never know which ones.
Get out there, and enjoy! (And remember that the World Cup comes round every four years; the Pyramids don’t!)
Note: the photo was taken from CLF‘s photostream from flickr Creative Commons.