The café is synonymous with Egyptian society and, more generally, the Arab world. Unlike their European counterparts, Egyptian cafes are chaotic places of informal and raw discussion. Café Riche, once the intellectual and literary hangout of Cairo, awoke from its long slumber as a tourist attraction, with what seemed like eternal appeal, during last year’s revolution. The wood paneling and white tablecloths speak to a forgotten Cairo era; one unashamed of its colonial pedigree, catering to foreign journalists replete with a selection of imported alcohol. These days, in post-revolutionary, perhaps revolutionary Cairo, Egyptian intellectuals and activists once again filter in for interviews in various languages beneath the high ceilings of the cafe.
more from Joseph Dana at the LA Review of Books here.