The following respective places are cultural hotspots; as in, they radiate smartness. You literally walk out of a given cultural event smarter. That might be a scientific fact I just came up with, but they do host out-of-this-world underground showcases. Although the spaces have that in common, they seem to attract different kinds of people. Exponentially raise your entertainment level by watching (and innocently judging) people around you.
Having done that for a long while, I can tell you that we could make four stops into almost all of the cultural hotspots around Cairo.
Stop one: Room / Sufi Bookstore / Bikya / So7ba
People in here originally came to study, work, or read in peace –- which explains their unmade-bed-look — only to discover that the place also hosts different kinds of cultural events and artistic workshops. They are instantly hooked.
Stop two: 100copies / Balcon lounge
Most people in here personally know at least one band member/performer, and the rest have tagged along with the latter attendees. In the midst of this small stuffy space there is always that one person who keeps throwing out comments, and usually has the wrong perception of humor. In the front rows you will spot over-enthusiastic ‘groupies’ who probably helped put the event together. Move along…
Stop three: Vent / Cairo Jazz Club
Cairo Jazz Club
This kind of crowd is that of the I-could-not-give-less-rat’s-ass-what-I-drink/eat/do/inhale/step-in-to people. They are a mixed crowd with a bit of everywhere on them.
Stop four: Al-Ghouri Complex / Al-Rab3 / Beit Al-Seheimi / Beit Al-Senari / Beit Al-Harrawi / Kasr Al-Amir Taz / Al-Manesterli Palace / Makan / Geneina Theatre / Darb 1718 / El Raseef / Townhouse.
People who hang around lingering history are always those who have so too much to say about the event. Most of them came not for the event, but just for the sake of being at this place in a non-touristic context.