Ahmed Wahdan

The Ingenious Entrepreneur

Wahdan is the founder of some of the best bars and restaurants known in the Egyptian nightlife industry, including the renowned Sky Bar, Gu bar, Tabla and Mistiqa. All of which are known for their very reasonable prices and excellent service. How has he achieved such a raging success? That’s what he is here to tell you!

Tell us about yourself and your organization/company.

I have been in the advertising business since 1991, and in the event planning and organization business since 1994. It was only in 2007 that we launched Marassi for Emaar. That was how my business in the nightlife began. In the years 2009-2010, we inaugurated Sky Bar, which was a beach venue. We then moved back to Marassi for another three years, before we commenced working on the Tabla and Mistiqa projects; the latter is quite a casual restaurant in the North Coast right in front of Tabla. We have a Tabla in Sokhna and the North coast, Mistiqa in Sokhna, and a Gu Bar in Cairo. Which also brings me to tell you that we’re working on quite a surprise to be set up in Cairo, so brace yourselves!

Give us a brief about your previous most famous events/projects.

The launch of Marassi was a huge success and a brilliant experience. We had 12 thousand guests! The Mobinil 40 Million Subscribers event was also one that became the talk of the town. The Palm Hills event, Petit Chat, made it big as well, which was back in 2010. Of course, there are many more. But these are the ones on top of my head.

How do you manage to stay on top?

You have to completely overwhelm yourself and work really hard. I work twenty hours a day; I’m constantly trying to think of new concepts to come up with for the people, and working on details to satisfy the customers in every way possible. It’s a really draining job. Another difficulty with having such a business is that it also affects your name. If something goes wrong in my restaurant, it will look like it’s my fault. The image of your business becomes your personal image. People are talking about how Wahdan and Ganzoury have set up so and so, it’s always related to your name, which makes everything all the more difficult. So you have to work as hard as you can to stay on top, otherwise, your personal image is affected.

What separates your brand/services from the competition?

I’d like to start with an example: The days we’re open in Sahel, we close in Cairo. And that’s because it is not about the amount of customers we have, but more about the quality we deliver. Another important thing is, we like to estimate how much the customers pay and what they’re getting. My customers never end up paying more than 300 or 350 EGP per person, unless they order a ridiculous amount of alcohol along with their food. We give you the best experience, for a reasonable price. We don’t care about the competition, we only care about the client.

What’s your philosophy?

If I am personally satisfied with all the setting, the entertainment and decoration, which is by the way very difficult to achieve because I’m hard to please, then all is well for me. I just do my best, and I believe that God will be my partner.

What trends are emerging in the nightlife scene lately?

People are becoming more “Sha3by”. They may pretend it is vulgar and that they hate it, but they do not. They flout it, and then they visit Gu Bar for Sha3by night and the Heshek Beshek night. We’re the trend setters, and people decide whether they like them or not, and they usually do. We also created the Walkman night, which is a simple 80’s and 90’s theme. You should just know what the people want, and offer it to them. I predict that in the coming three years, all of this nightlife fad will have died; the new trend will be all about bar lounges. And it’s honestly what we’re missing.

How do you reinvent your identity?

I always keep up with the emerging tastes, and I know what people will expect and accept. We do our research, we travel a lot, and we’re constantly looking for new ideas to please our people. We’re always on the move to bring back Egyptian Arts. We have so much talent, but we, as Egyptians are not always ready to put it out there. We have Hamzoon the percussionist, Ramy the saxophonist, and Azmy the violinist –all are incredibly talented.

How has nightlife in Egypt evolved in the last five years? And why?

It has not evolved much, but it may now have a bit of quality. Overall though, I think it’s challenging to even name four known places in Egypt that are the talk of the town in the nightlife industry. We’re still very much behind, and we have plenty of room for improvement. People almost start those businesses solely to impress others rather than to cater to the market. However, several clubs have recently been doing great but I do hope they keep their identity and keep up what they’re doing.

What is Egypt’s nightlife missing today?

It’s missing competition, and good service. Like I said, you cannot name four known good clubs in the nightlife industry, and we just need more.

What’s new this summer?

This summer will be a complete turnover. Alchemy Design Studio will be designing our Tabla in the North Coast this year. It looks amazing so far. They even built a huge stage to encompass the many performances that will take place. And we’re hosting our famous White Party on the 19th of August in the North Coast, however, I will not let you know what celebrity entertainers will be featured. It’s a surprise! But I will let you know that Amy will be shaking her hips in the opening night.

What is a successful party in just three words?

As soon as the person walks out of the door they say: “I loved it!”

What are three things that must be in your bag or in your car at all times?

My cellular, my power bank and cigarettes!

If stranded on an island, what are three items that you must have?

A beautiful lady, excellent food, and exquisite drink.

What are three products that you love the most?

Any air-conditioning is a must, Armani’s Acqua Di Gio, and the Mercedes Benz.

Anything you would like to share with our readers?

I promise you a great summer! You will love our upcoming events.