If you're idea of a perfect night out is slugging cheap pints until 2am while dance music incessantly screeches in the background, then Marrakech is perhaps not for you. The city's central Medina does not have a 'traditional' nightlife scene, chiefly due to the fact that etiquette and law dictate that alcohol should not be consumed within view of a mosque.
That said, trendy nightclubs and cocktail bars are available away from the Medina, primarily clustered along Avenue Mohammed V (and the numerous luxury hotels in the city), but those who head there will be missing the real show.
The Medina's brand of evening entertainment, revolving around the iconic Jemaa el Fna, is refreshing, with sociable street-front cafes functioning as theatres for an assortment of kooky street performers. For more formal evenings, theatres and live music venues are numerous, though don't over plan, the city rewards the impromptus night owl.
Bars in Marrakech
One of the most glamorous hotel bars in the city is undoubtedly Bar Churchill, at La Mamounia Hotel, which has a sumptuous Moorish and art deco interior and a strict dress code. It is named after the hotel's most famous guest and is the perfect place for an aperitif in jazzy 1930s style.Address: , La Mamounia, Avenue Bab Jedid, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 388 600.
Cafe Modele Bar
This little-known bar, tucked away down a Guéliz side street, serves one of the cheapest pints in the city. It's a popular hangout for local men, so can sometimes appear intimidating, but it's ultimately welcoming to respectful tourists. It has a pleasant courtyard and also serves tasty (and cheap) kebabs.Address: Guéliz, Boulevard el Mansour Eddahbi, Marrakesh,
One of the only bars within the Medina that doesn't feel manufactured to meet tourists 'needs', Café Arabe serves cocktails to guests who stretch out on serpentine sofas. The lovely rooftop offers views overlooking the mountains, providing an elegant space that's a world away from the noisy streets below. As you'd expect, drinks aren't cheap.Address: Medina, 184 rue Mouassine, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 429 728.
Clubs in Marrakech
A versatile space, the Comptoir Darna offers indecisive punters a restaurant, cabaret and nightclub experience all rolled into one. The snug outdoor patio is the perfect place to sup on the bar's much-loved signature cocktails, before heading upstairs where diplomats, supermodels and minor royalty rub shoulders while the bassline thumps.Address: Hivernage, Avenue Echouhada, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 437 702.
Famous 555 Club Marrakech
Situated within the Hôtel Ushuaia, a 10-minute drive south of the Medina, hot young things dance and sweat the night away in this glamorous venue where resident DJs (and often special guests) blast mixes of commercial and house music into the early hours. Ladies get free entry and free drinks on Tuesdays.Address: , Hôtel Ushuaia, Avenue Mohammed VI, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 678 181 085.
It's big, it's busy, it's Pacha: the international dance chain brings its brand of mega-club to Marrakech, attracting DJs from Ibiza and the richest residents from all over Morocco. 10 minutes south of Jemaa el Fna, it has room for 3,000 but you'll be lucky to squeeze in at weekends. It houses two restaurants, a swimming pool and a chill-out lounge.Address: , Avenue Mohammed VI, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 388 400.
Live music in Marrakech
Hosting live music nightly, African Chic has two huge bars and a great cocktail menu, which often leads to a hip-shaking dancefloor. This bar, in the Guéliz area, usually has Latin America outfits playing, especially Brazilian samba groups.
John Malkovich and Keanu Reeves once visited and the owners won't let you forget it.Address: Guéliz, 6 rue Oum Errabia, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 431 424.
Jemaa el Fna
Anyone with even a passing interest in music should head for Jemaa el Fna at sunset. The best time to go for music is in the mid- to late evening, as the square gradually empties and the dedicated street musicians take over, playing their repetitive, rhythmic melodies on a mixture of banjos, lutes, guitars, flutes, drums and makeshift violins.Address: Medina, Jemaa el Fna, Marrakesh,
The sandstone dome and columns of the Théâtre Royal provide a grand exterior, for what is sadly an extremely underwhelming interior. The Théâtre Royal is in need of renovation, and remains unfinished. Events, including performances by the Royal Philharmonic of Morocco, still intermittently take place in the open-air amphitheatre outside.Address: , Avenue Hassan II, Marrakesh,
Telephone: +212 524 431 516.