Take a taxi across the Nile to the Agouza district where the Cairo Jazz Club sometimes features Egyptian artists performing American blues—but is most lively when guests hit the dance floors at genre-mixing live performances fusing Eastern sounds with global rhythms. This is also the place to discover contemporary percussive Ja’afary singing from Upper Egypt, Egyptian electronica, and DJ sets mingling Middle Eastern and international house music styles.
For another kind of musical immersion, visit Makan, in a repurposed 19th-century print shop in the Mounira neighborhood, dedicated to preserving endangered traditional Egyptian instruments and oral performance styles. These include Zikr, a singing, dancing, and percussive art with African; Sufi remembrance singing; and Coptic liturgical chanting. Live performances on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings draw a low-key crowd of Egyptians and foreigners who mingle with musicians over complimentary tea and hibiscus drinks during intermission. Makan sits next door the Saad Zaghloul Mausoleum and Beit al Umma (House of the Nation) Museum; the former a neo-pharaonic masterpiece, the latter a 19th-century villa housing the furniture and belongings (including two stuffed parrots) of the Egyptian nationalist. Finish your evening with dinner at Taboula, an excellent Lebanese restaurant in nearby Garden City.
The Cairo Jazz Club is on the 26th of July Corridor, just past the bridge to Zamalek. Makan is on the corner of Saad Zaghloul Street and Al Falki Street. The Saad Zaghloul museum is next door. Taboula is on Latin America Street. It has a black and white sign, and a yellow painted exterior.
CAIRO JAZZ CLUB: 197 26th of July Corridor; 20-2-3345-9939; cairojazzclub.com; open 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
MAKAN: Makan address: 1 Saad Zaghloul St. El Dawaween 11461 Cairo; open from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, closed Friday.
SAAD ZAGHLOUL MAUSOLEUM AND BEIT AL UMMA MUSEUM: 2 Saad Zaghloul St.;20-2-2794-5399
TABOULA: 1 Latin America St., next to the Canadian Embassy; 20-2-2792-5261; taboula-eg.com