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Booze in a Berber World

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

It is the 10th December and today marks #NationalLargerDay in UK. It is not surprising us English folk have a whole day dedicated to drinking beer, we do indeed like a tipple.

Now, when I share my story with people and my move to Morocco, they seemed surprised and often respond with 'oh can you even drink there?'

Err yes...

So #Morocco is a Muslim country but it is a very liberal one and it isn't dry. Particularly Marrakech, it is a modern city, certainly with an emerging nightlife and festival scene. I made the move in May and since, I have attended three festivals showcasing latest electronic music and I have seen the early hours of the morning a fair few times.

I am slowly learning this city from day through to night and with that I learn the Moroccan way and the customs here. Those relating to alcohol are fairly simple:

1. No drinking on the street

2. Drinking in the old town is limited.

3. Most off licenses as we know them in UK close at 8pm

It is that simple.

There are a few bars and restaurants which are close to Jeema El Fna square but are strategically placed outside the city walls therefore have the license to sell alcohol. One of the best spots is Cafe Arabe. Another which has recently opened is Kabana - I'm yet to try it here but with salsa dancing, live music and a rooftop view of the city - what is not to like?

Otherwise, Gueliz has a number of restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs which serve alcohol. There are a range of differing standards often with a matching price tag. You can find the local pubs, with beer as cheap as 15 DH, often filled with smoke and men engaging in deep conversation or glued to the tvs dotted around. It almost seems like you are going back in time and I feel is something worth experiencing whilst in Marrakech, especially if your wanting to mix with locals. I personally have never felt uncomfortable in these bars as often my friends and I are the only females here. It has been my experience, the staff and locals are always friendly and polite.

Stepping it up a notch, in bars like Davio's, you will still find reasonably cheap beer, filled with men and women, locals, tourist and expats alike. You'll be pumped with salty tapas to quench your thirst and their live music creates a nice atmosphere. For an equally nice ambience and live music, you can feel right home at The Compton, the English gastro pub complete with pool table.

If it's a quiz night your after, Cafe Du Livre have one on offer every Monday night. With or without a quiz, this place is a nice chilled hangout with it being both bar and bookshop. With their reasonably priced draft beer (especially on happy hour), you can get seriously comfy as it feels like your in someones living room. Live music is always a nice addition on the weekends.

Some other funky hangouts in Marrakech I like to visit are:

- L'envers, a quirky art spot great for electronic DJs playing four nights a week.

- 68 Bar a Vin, a cute little wine bar serving snacks upstairs.

- Barometer, Marrakech's first attempt at a cocktail bar, that actually works. All cocktails can be tailored to taste and the vibe here is cool and sophisticated.

So there you have it, a brief introduction to Moroccan nightlife. If Marrakech was never on the cards because of an assumption of not being able to drink - I hope this has cleared any confusion and you can come visit soon.

Chin chin, Nads xo

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