Every once in a while, Cairo gives us a place to actually dance in. When that place serves great cocktails and super-fast sushi, all the better as Tamima El Kahhal finds out at the launch of Graffiti.
When my friend called me up to ask me if I wanted to go to "this new club opening thing at the Four Seasons," I said what I usually say when Thursday night comes along: "No." I don't do Thursdays, because I waste half of my night saying hi to people and the other half unintentionally grinding with the crowd. Me and Thursdays, we just don't click.
So last Thursday evening, I put my sweats on, went to another friend's place, ordered a pizza and just as we were getting the Pictionary out I was like, you know what? Fuck it. I always complain that the scene is the same and tonight there's that new club opening thing at the Four Seasons. Taghyeer. Let’s do it.
When I smoothly passed the guestlist test and got into Graffiti, I was relieved to find that the venue was big and airy, which was great for me and my extensive issues with body heat (more on that later). I scanned the crowd and realised it was pretty selective meaning the usual shabab weren’t invited and I wasted less time saying “Hey, man” and had more time to party.
Within five minutes our coats were off and we’d found a spot to call home base for the evening. The night was going well so far. I grinned at my friend:
"Let’s hit the bar.”
"You get this round and I'll get the next," she responded.
Ordering the bill was a fun surprise, because there was no bill. An open bar with bartenders who don't measure the alcohol by the millimetre? Gold. My friend's eyes and mine locked and she looked a little worried, because, you know, "open bar" and "went home not trashed" simply do not go together. With this in mind, we tried to keep a safe distance between us and the bar. We failed.
Now thanks to my genetic code, I have an unusually high body temperature and where normal people get hot, I pour sweat. Anyone who knows me will now know that my sleek ponytail isn't for style purposes, it's because the back of my neck needs to breathe. You can assume, then, what happened to me when the lights dimmed and I saw bursts of fire around the room for the extravagant opening show. I panicked and perspired but the spectacle – complete with drums, lights and dramatic music – was cool enough to distract everyone from the sweaty heap I’d become.
Next up, Cold Shot hit the stage for some indie-pop tunes. Usually, I hate hearing live music at a club, especially an upscale one – something just doesn’t work. Graffiti, though, does what it says on the tin, and is covered in cool tags and scrawls making for the perfect backdrop. They were followed by some rockers that go by the name of the Cadillacs who injected a retro vibe with their 50s covers that made for some good swaying motions.
I did what any girl would do when Thrift Shop came on and called my friend who was running late, screaming: “CANN you hearrrr??? THIS IS NOT HOUSE!!!! YALLA!” DJ Roro’s mix of R&B and Hip-Hop tunes was the perfect antidote for all those other nights I dragged myself out and went home disappointed with nothing more than an Deep House-headache. In other words, the music would have really bothered Misty & Hafez, but not me. Me? I was winding and grinding to black beats, until they brought Latifa on stage for an impromptu performance. As the older crowd enthusiastically got their cameras out, I was decidedly not latifa but a trip back to the bar, where master mixologist Ray was stirring up more cocktails, was a fine consolation prize.
We were then treated to a rack of test tube shots but as we got ready to throw them back, I noticed that one of my friends kept dissolving into the crowd and coming back licking her lips in a way that definitely cannot be described as lady-like. Before I could give her a short-course in etiquette, she let me onto her secret.
Remember Pez, that candy tube thing with a bobble-head?Every time you would click the head a new candy would appear. The sushi bar was just like that. The mad skills of the sushi chefs were so speedy that every time I would pick one up, chew and look back, another one would be there – like magic. Between every couple shots I would hit the magic sushi bar to help me keep bouncing to Roro’s beats.
The crowd was vibrating to the now back-to-black music so much, that when a stand-up comedian who introduced himself as “Mo, short for Monique” hit the stage, the energy died a little. To be honest, he tried his best, but the music was too good for him to keep our attention. After a couple of awkward minutes, he got the hint and were back to dancing acting like fools. Yes, we actually danced and not just pretentiously bobbed our heads in crowds filled with pill-poppers.
Once in a while, Cairo gives me a night where I can shake it like a polaroid picture without feeling like an electrocuted, out-of-place worm. Props to Graffiti for not making me regret taking my Thursday night sweats off.
Check out all the photos from the opening night on CairoZoom.com now.