Thursday April 18th, 2024
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Decades of Decadence

A pillar of Cairo's culinary and nightlife scene, we take a moment to look at the history of Le Pacha 1901, as they gear up for Christmas and New Years celebrations.

Staff Writer

Decades of Decadence

If you’re hoping for a festive season with a difference then check out Cairo's premier riverside venue - La Pacha 1901. On board the Nile-side boat, you'll find everything you need for a chic and classy Christmas and beyond, as the pillar of Zamalek’s culinary and nightlife scenes just seems to get better and better; just ask the droves of royalty, celebrities and diplomats that have passed through Le Pacha’s doors over the years!

But first things first; the history of Le Pacha 1901. Originally built by an upper Egyptian aristocrat who dreamed of creating a Nile-side palace for his family, the Pacha himself passed away in 1901 and his daughters chose to live elsewhere. Nearly a full century later, a traveler exploring the banks of the Nile, came upon the abandoned and partially sunken boat. He acquired it, refurbished it, added two more decks and named the reborn boat: Le Pacha 1901. In 1992, it was bought by its current owner, Mr. Johnny Zahra who went about opening the doors of the historic relic for everyone to enjoy.

Since then, it’s only been getting more iconic, now home to 11 outlets serving up gourmet food and memorable nights. A favourite of the likes of the Inner Wheel and Zamalek’s wing of the Rotary Club, it’s also seen Arab royaltly, foreign diplomats and even supermodel Naomi Campbell wine and dine on its deck. 

Now, everyone knows Johnny’s Pub, named after Zahra, and the go-to spot for great drinks and good times in Zamalek. While the rest of Cairo jumps on the House DJ/flashing lights/ too cool for school nightlife bandwagon, Johnny’s stays true to its identity as a chilled out pub to have a drink, catch a football match and, occasionally, sing your heart out in, come karaoke night. No six inch stilettos here, and definitely no neon sunglasses. Instead, expect hushed intellectual conversations that last longer than a round of shots, and the casual, kicked-back atmosphere that’s so rare to find in Cairo.

Over at Le Steak, classic French cuisine is on offer at the water-level restaurant that not only serves up gourmet dishes made from high quality ingredients, but has one of the most extensive wine lists we’ve laid our eyes on in Egypt. The only place to rival their selection, is indeed Piccolo Mondo, the cruiser’s Italian outlet, offering up authentic, rustic delights, inspired by the dining scene of Italy’s Piazza San Carlo.

Come Christmas day, Le Pacha 1901 plays host to one of the hottest parties of the season, Palais de Lux, organised by Karim Attallah and Mansour Hassan. Cool, young beautiful things will get together on On Top for some decedent shenanigans with DJ Toyboys and Moneim Hafez providing the beats for the night. 

On New Year’s Eve, the festivities continue Pacha-style as offer up a sumptuous, seated dinner right on the Nile, as songstress Michelle Rounds serenades the jovial crowd. The party-portion of the night gets started when DJ Michael takes to the decks to spin the best in English and Arabic hits of 2013, before a sexy belly dancer shakes all the way to 2014.

So go on, wine, dine and be merry, just like a Pacha.