Tangier nightlife is alive and kicking!
When the sun sets, it is time to experience Tangier nightlife. Streets, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, tapas bars, sheesha bars, chaabi cabarets and discotheques are all packed with locals and contribute to the Tangier nightlife.
Skeletons of the decadent interzone years are still present and the famous drinking institutions remain open. However,Tangier has moved forward and you need to do so to in order to fully appreciate it.
Tip: this is a Muslim society so be respectful. Public displays of intoxication and rowdy behavior is not cool and won’t be tolerated. For people who do not drink alcohol, there is of course lots of options.
Here’s my itinerary to best experience tangier nightlife:
1) It’s going to be a long night and you will need some caffeine. There’s plenty of options available but you can’t beat the Cafe de Paris for sheer authenticity. It is like a throwback to an earlier era – with exceptional waiter service and an interior decor that hasn’t been touched in years (in a good way).
2) I always like to experience the calling of the prayer or ‘adhan’ as the sun sets – this is a very atmospheric time especially as Tangier nightlife does not have to be all about alcohol and bars. From the Cafe de Paris, you can turn right and stroll down the hill to the Grande Socco (the main square, in front of cinema rif). This is a great place to hear the muezzin recite this from the minaret speakers, to reflect and people watch. Alternatively, you can make your way to the Terrasse des Paresseux which is a viewpoint overlooking the straits of Gibralter. (Turn left out of the Cafe, and it’s just a few minutes walk). It’s a poignant experience as you see many people gaze out towards Europe which is so close geographically.
3) Time for an apertif in relaxing and opulent surroundings. You will be close to the Hotel El Minzah and you must visit, even if you don’t stay. Head to Caid’s bar, walking through the tranquil courtyard, with it’s walls lined with past famous guests. A Casblanca beer costs MAD 60 (which is relatively pricey but you’re paying for the surroundings). You can sit outside or in the bar area, and soak up the lush pool surroundings over a good book or discussion with friends. You don’t get proper Tapas but they will bring out some olives, popcorn and crisps.
4) Now’s a good time to experience the Tapas bars, pre-dinner. There’s many options in the new town, and frankly – they are all good. You should try at least 2 each night.
A number can be found around the Hotel Rembrandt (cross junction between avenue pasteur and Mohamed V). There’s also plenty of options close to my restaurant recommendation below (check google map) – just walk around the side streets and look for the illuminated entrance signs,
The deal is that you order a drink and you will receive complementary, small plates of food (1 to 3 plates). Beers are in the 20-25 MAD range. Check out this page for more food information but the tapas usually come out in cycles, cooked fresh from the kitchen. If you keep ordering drinks, over time, your plates will be replenished. The atmosphere in these places is warm and inviting – women shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. They get particularly busy on weekends with a mixture of Spanish expats, Moroccans and tourists. Often there is a game of football or live music too.
5) More food! restaurant recommendation – Anne E Paolo, open from 8pm
Anna E Paulo is a Tangier institution run by Venetian owners and has been around for many years. It offers simple but classic Italian food done well (home made pasta, quality pizza’s, fresh meats & fishes) with a good selection of wine by the glass or bottle. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly which oozes class. The waiters are on point and unpretentious. Mains are around 10 euros. You can find it here:
6) Experience some chaabi music in a local bar.
This is rough and rowdy Tangier nightlife. I have never felt intimidated or threatened in these bars, in fact most people keep to themselves. However, single women could feel uncomfortable. There’s a lot of alcohol consumption going on but the venues are well staffed with bouncers who you wouldn’t want to mess with. There’s no entrance fee, beers (flag) are usually between MAD 17-20 MAD and you pay at the end – the price list is usually visible. If you prop up at the bar, they count how many you have drunk by the number of bottle tops. Sometimes, the music is via a dj, and other times there’s an electric keyboardist and an MC. It’s usually a loud, raucous and in your face affair! If things really get going, sometimes the women in the bar do this ‘headbanging’ movement with their hair which is an interesting spectacle. Tip: sometimes, i have been overcharged by one beer or the bill has been rounded up by 20 MAD or so but personally, I go with the flow on this as a kind of informal baksheesh.
These can be found on the down hill alleys off boulevard pasteur like khalid ibnou el oualid or amr ibnou al ass. Just look out for the bouncers outside the doors, the loud music and flashing nights.
7) If you want to continue the party – go to a discotheque
There are a number of discotheques. Groups of young men reserve tables and order bottles of booze (accompanied with sparklers!) for a totally bling experience. You get some seriously glamorous and dressed up people and on special nights, it’s packed.
Entrance can sometimes be expensive (MAD 100 or MAD 200 on special nights) but this usually includes a free drink. Take a taxi back to your hotel at night and make sure you agree a price.Drinks are expensive!
Tangier nightlife is varied and on the whole, good value. This itinerary is meant to showcase ‘the best of’. For more modest nights out, you can pick and choose one or two options and still have a great time.