|A home away from home to its customers, Bikya Book Café opened a second branch in Maadi that, while far bigger than their Nasr City one, still maintains that cozy, intimate feel.
The second branch of the bookstore and coffee shop just opened doors on May 31, and saw all Bikya loyalists crammed up in the buzzing place on opening night.
Rana Faramawy, one of the five owners, explains that Bikya’s aim is “to provide the perfect space for anyone to read, study and work.” And seeing how the Bikya concept has become quite popular over the year and a half they were in business, the owners decided to expand. “We decided that its time we spread to another neighborhood and spread the love, bringing a new living room to another district” says Faramawy.
Bigger and better?
Bikya is more like a second living room than a coffee shop, with comfortable sofas and hundreds of old and new books, all topped with decent coffee, it makes for the perfect getaway from the daily life’s hustle and bustle. So when the news came out that they are planning on opening a second branch that could host events the small Nasr City branch couldn’t handle, I worried the place might lose its personal touch.
A trip to the Maadi bookstore put all my worries to rest — the big space doesn’t take away from its peaceful and friendly atmosphere.
Customers hanging around in the second branch felt the same way I did, calling Bikya their “home away from home,” or “the living room you always dream of having but never do.”
Maintaining the same feel, the Maadi branch has the same comfortable seating and quiet surroundings, but there is also a garden area thrown in for good measure. The place also has a room they call The Chamber of Knowledge, with wall-to-wall bookcases and studying tables for people to work in groups. And for their customers with children, the place has a room for children, where they lay out children books and board games, for the parents to work peacefully while the little one plays away.
The five owners are recent graduates and bookworms since high school, whose trips to Sour El Azbakia was a sacred weekly trip that they all enjoyed and cherished. So finding the perfect second hand book became an experience that they just enjoyed and now decided to share it with their community through Bikya.
“There was always something fun about finding ‘the book’ amongst thousands of others. It is always more pleasurable than grabbing a book from a normal bookshop,” says Faramawy. “You are always surprised with what you find, and I find it fascinating and charming when you open an old book, smell the old paper, and find an old bookmark, note, letter, dedication or a photo.”
So the owners launched Bikya, a place for likeminded bookworms and bargain hunters to gather and enjoy their latest excavations. So from the concept of digging for old books came the name Bikya, Arabic slang for old things.
When you take a break from shopping for that perfect old book bargain, or picking up a book to read from their countless shelves, we strongly recommend you cool off with one of their fresh juices and homemade cup cakes — the cupcakes wont really help with the summer heat, but they’re absolutely delicious.
And while Bikya is the place to chill on weekdays with a good book and a good cup of coffee, we also recommend you follow their events for performances by underground talents and artists, movie nights, book fairs and art exhibitions.
Faramawy says their first concern is coziness, the one thing they did their best to maintain in the bigger place. “We want the place to provide coziness, comfort and quietness,” says Faramawy. “To provide people with a place where they can come experience music, literature, art and fun all, accompanied by good coffee and food.”