If you've already begun to show withdrawal symptoms in the wake of Cairo's bars and clubs shutting down for their Ramadan sabbatical, don't worry - that doesn't make you a bad person. We're not sure how the big man up top will see it, but we won't judge, lest we be judged for our own nightlife-based weaknesses.
Usually, there's not much to do except to meditate over your lifestyle choices while begrudgingly sucking on a shisha to the background of an Oriental takht. This year, however, if you can survive without the buzz and burn of a-l-c-o-h-o-l, there are plenty of tents that offer pretty much everything else.
News about one of this year's debut tents, Ala El Nile, has been scarce. But what we do know is that it's going to do things a little differently than its kheima peers for one reason: it's been conceived in the same minds brought you one of Egypt's most popular nightlife and music event organisers, Theater of Dreams. Granted, it's unlikely we'll see Baher Eid, Abou Samra or any of the other DJs that frequent TOD's events, but expect a very different vibe - one that feeds off of everything that has made Theater of Dreams parties so popular.
In a year that will see several tents share different variations and spellings of the same name, one can't help but admire Riverside for just calling their tent the Riverside Tent. But don't let the name fool you; Riverside's tent is the stuff of Ramadan legend, kind of. Essentially, not a lot changes from the Zamalek haunt's usual; yes, there's no a-l-c-o-h-o-l, but with some of the biggest shaabi stars set to perform across the whole month and Riverside's trademark top-notch food, what it does offer most is the kind of hustle and bustle that seems to be missing from certain venues in Cairo.
Speaking of original names, The Tap East's take on Ramdan, El 7anafeya (har-har), is back and with it comes both fetar and sohour throughout the month. But if last year's weekend sohour nights are anything to go by, then fans of the New Cairo bar have nothing to complain about. Again, not much changes in terms of the hustle and bustle of The Tap East, but its the cute Ramadan-y touches and equally Ramadan-y food that add the the festive spirit.
One of last year's more colourful and playful takes on the Ramadan tent is back, but at a different location. Fawazeer is setting up shop across both Eat & Barrel and Lebanese restaurant, Hayda - both lodgers at the Sunset Boat along the Giza Corniche - but it's the what's happening at Eat & Barrel that will satisfy those nightlife cravings. Aside from the open fetar buffet, every weekend will see some of the top shaabi stars in the country provide some festive nights.
Before you let out a bemused huh, let us just explain. A high-end mall-come-food-court-come-office-complex isn't exactly that place to go for an alternative Ramadan experience. But actually, Galleria40's 3alTawla bares all the hallmarks of a great night out. Offering you the chance to dine from several of G40's cafes and restaurants, the carnival vibe of this most sprawling of tents offers a little something for everyone, including ye olde Egyptian games, lots of food, drink and shisha to gorge on, and the kind of forcibly tactile business that clubbers are used to. That's a nice way of saying its super busy.
Wishful thinking? Maybe. But let's make the best of it.