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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Marrakech Nightlife
Marrakech Nightlife - TravelPuppy.com
Nightlife

Although Morocco is an Islamic country, there is a laid-back attitude towards alcohol, which is widely available, with bars in most of the tourist districts staying open late. Local products, such as wines, beers and mineral water are superb and good value while imported drinks tend to be more expensive.

By Moroccan standards, Marrakech has something of a reputation for its nightlife, which covers modern discos to traditional belly-dancing. The medina provides conventional activities during the evening in the form of cafés, food stalls and street entertainment, with everything revolving around Jemaa-el-Fna. Some of the hotels have rooftop cafés overlooking the square, while many of riads (historic merchants’ houses) have been converted into upmarket restaurants offering the full Moroccan experience, including a vast feast, music and dancing. However, please note that it is not a common custom to drink alcohol outside. In the bars that sell alcoholic beverages, drinkers consume beer inside and glasses of coffee on the terrace.

For modern evening entertainment go to Guéliz. Situated along avenue Mohammed V, particularly around Abdel Moumen ben Ali, are most of the city’s bars, as well as a good selection of restaurants, bistros and pavement cafés, also in this part of the city the nightclubs and discos are located. Some hotels have discos that attract both tourists and Moroccans. Bars at the can be very insular since they are often preferable to those outside, which tend to be a male preserve and occasionally intimidating. Bars and clubs stay open until late and the dress code is quite casual. For nightclubs, expect to pay a hefty (by Moroccan standards) entrance fee.

Bars

Bars in the medina, the selection is limited as most of the action is happening outside in the square. Head to the Hôtel Tazi located on the corner of rue Bab Agnaou and avenue Houman el Fetouaki. The hotel bar is more of a television lounge, and fairly unatmospheric, but does have a good choice of local and imported beers. The Hotel Jardins de la Koutoubia, 26 rue de la Koutoubia in the medina has a piano bar that comes complete with piano player and offers a great place to sip cocktails by the pool.

Guéliz has a much greater selection of bars, with some quite seedy so it is better to stick to the ones listed below:

Le Mirador, the rooftop café-bar above La Renaissance
Place Abdel Moumen ben Ali
Le Petit Poucet, avenue Mohammed V
The Café-Bar de l’Escale, rue Mauretania, off avenue Mohammed V is a relaxed place to drink and beers can be taken out onto the pavement tables, the only other place that allows this is the Café Atlas, place Abdel Moumen, also off the avenue Mohammed V.

The Palais des Congrès, avenue de France, is a huge ritzy complex that boasts 4 café-bars.
Café Oued el Had, avenue Casablanca, just outside the town, is a smaller complex of 3 bars, open until 2.00 am.

The most glamorous hotel bar in the city is undoubtedly Le Churchill, the bar of the Hôtel La Mamounia, avenue Bab Jedid, which has a sumptuous Moorish and Art Deco interior, and a very strict dress code, turning away shorts, back-packs and trainers, depending who is on the door.

Le Comptoir Marrakech-Paris, avenue Echouada, Hivernage, both gourmet restaurant and cocktail bar is still 1 of the hippest places in Marrakech, but has been joined by Palais Jad Mahal, another restaurant/ bar but with subterranean nightclub that gets going after midnight. Guests are welcome to drink alongside the mostly French residents in the interior and rooftop bar at Le Marrakech hotel, place de la Liberté, Guéliz.

Casinos

The Mamounia Casino located in the Hôtel La Mamounia, avenue Bab Jedid (telephone number: (044) 388 600), has a Grand Casino, with roulette, craps and blackjack. A less grand alternative is Es Saadi Hôtel, avenue Kadissa, Hivernage (telephone number: (044) 448 811). Entrance to both is free but a jacket and tie are required. These casinos require fairly high minimum stakes to play, which makes them not so attractive for the novice gamblers.

Clubs

Marrakech has a reputation in Morocco for nightlife activities, but do not expect to find the Western style clubs much. Morocco is, after all, an Islamic country and nightclubs that they have tend to be geared towards visitors and found mainly in hotels and the music tends to be a mixture of Western pop music and Moroccan hits, some local girls who hang out there are prostitutes so tread carefully.

Avenue, at the Hotel Le Meridien N’Fisthe ground floor, avenue de la Menara, is 1 of the newest and most sparkling discotheques in Marrakech. Although the dance floor is quite small, it has been sumptuously decorated and on the right night, it is a very popular place. For glamour head to the Cotton Club, Hôtel Tropicana, Lotissement Semlalia, while the slightly camp Diamant Noir, Hôtel le Marrakech, place de la Liberté, avenue Mohammed V, although not very trendy, they have an easy-going party atmosphere. Palais Jad Mahal, Fontaine de la Mamounia, Bab Jdid is a restaurant/bar just outside the medina and has a young and trendy subterranean nightclub playing an excellent mix of music. The greatly popular New Feeling, Palmeraie Golf Palace, Circuit de Palmeraie, is still the pick of the bunch, although it requires a petit taxi to get there and is the most expensive clubs listed.

Live Music

For all types of live music, Jemaa-el-Fna is the place to go and you may sometimes find a group playing in the grounds behind the Koutoubia Mosque on Avenue Mohammed V. The National Festival of Popular Arts (see Special Events page) held over a fortnight each summer in el Badi Palace and offers the chance to listen to a wide selection of Berber tribal music.