Nightlife in Damascus is fairly quiet. Shopping in Souk al-Hamidiyeh (open until 2100) followed by a café stop to smoke a nargileh (water pipe) and play backgammon, is a popular way to spend the evening. The an-Nofara, just beside the Umayyad Mosque, stays open late at night and has a traditional storyteller. Damascenes often head up Mount Qassioun at night to watch the city lights.
Plush hotels like the Cham Palace, Four Seasons and Sheraton all have bars and nightclubs, but the Christian Quarter, near Bab Touma, is where it's at, with a cluster of lively bars with dance floors and DJ beats.
The Syria Times and Syria Today (www.syria-today.com), both daily English-language newspapers, provide listings and descriptions of cultural events in Damascus. You can also check out the Ministry of Tourism's website for listings; however, it is updated sporadically (www.syriatourism.org).
Bars in Damascus
Laterna, situated behind Cham Palace, is a very trendy bar-restaurant.
Sharia May 29, Damascus
Tel: (011) 232 3185.
MarMar, near Bab Touma, is a small but very lively bar with a DJ after 2200 on weekends.
Sharia ad-Dawanna, Damascus
Tel: (011) 544 6425.
If you're after a quiet drink in plush surroundings, head to XO bar in the Four Seasons Hotel, the capital's first cigar lounge. They have a wide selection of quality cigars and spirits.
Four Seasons Hotel, Sharia Shukri al-Quwatli, PO Box 6311 Damascus
Tel: (011) 339 1000.
Clubs in Damascus
Tornado, located 10 minutes from downtown on the Damascus-Homs Highway, is the trendiest nightclub in town with a DJ playing good rap, hip hop, techno, or Arabic music.
Live music in Damascus
Classical music in Damascus
Dance in Damascus
Theatres in Damascus
Music and Dance in Damascus
The British Council organises many cultural events in Damascus.
Sharia Maysaloun, PO Box 33105 Damascus
Tel: (011) 331 0631.
Dar al-Assad Opera House
The Dar al-Assad Opera House, near Midan Umawiyeen, holds concerts, theatrical performances and exhibitions arranged by the Ministry of Culture. It is the main cultural venue in Damascus.
Sharia Shoukri al-Quwatly, Damascus
Tel: (011) 245 7422.
Culture in Damascus
French Cultural Centre
French Cultural Centre, opposite the Alaa Towers Hotel in a side street off Sharia Yussef al-Azmeh, also organises several cultural events in Damascus.
Off Sharia Yussef al-Azmeh, Damascus
Tel: (011) 231 6181.