We’ll surprise absolutely no-one when we say life in Marrakech is frenetic – so you’ll no doubt be expecting a nightlife to match. Well, that’s there for the taking in and around the Medina – but you can also snuffle out some spots to dial back the speedometer and reflect on your day in the souqs, any lofty life aspirations or whether those Moroccan slippers might look a tad flamboyant in the office.
Just like those slippers, some of the best bars in Marrakech always keep you guessing. Is it a library, bookstore, sports bar or all three? We’ll let you decide. Other venues are more straightforward, though don’t be surprised to find many visitors dancing the night away in their hotel. Very much neutral territory when it comes to attitudes to drinking, smoking and fashion sense. Of course, if you’re looking to experience Marrakech nightlife at its very best, you’ll want to sample a little of everything.
Chilled bars in Marrakech
Cafe du Livre
This cafe might look like a library, but rarely will you be told to ‘shhh’. Things get lively when crowds gather. And surprisingly, for a place that looks more suited to a game of bridge, gather they do. Quiz nights fit with the aesthetic – but you wouldn’t expect a rowdy screening of the Six Nations matches. Of course, that’s all part of the charm. Grab Morocco’s latest literary marvel and settle in with a draught beer for a very comfy and cultured start to your night. We won’t blame you if you end up page-turning your way past bedtime. Bar snacks are on hand for sustenance, so you’ll not leave malnourished.
Alcohol plus sunset views, plus anything on the menu other than tagines, can be hard to come by in the Medina. To guarantee the ideal mix of the three, Cafe Arabe is your go to roof terrace. Book a spot, specifying ‘the view’, and you’ll not be disappointed.
Yes, the non-tagine options are fairly standard, we’re talking steak and pasta. But after a fortnight of stews and salads? Your tastebuds will be singing. If you’re not looking for a hearty meal, Cafe Arabe will happily serve up a bottle or red – or a couple of classic hot mint teas, for your sunset-viewing pleasure.
Nightclubs in Marrakech
If you find yourself in Morocco looking for an Ibiza nightclub experience, you’ve either got something very wrong with your travel arrangements or you’re looking for Theatro. As tempting as it might be to head to Pacha, this is where Marrakech’s residents come to party. Lavish shows, international DJs and great music are to be expected. But you’ll also find belly dancers, jugglers and acrobats putting this a notch above an ordinary night out. Theme nights vary wildly, so it’s best to check what’s likely to be happening when you pitch up. Dark and subversive may or may not be exactly what you’re in the market for.
The Lotus Club
We’re going to bend the rules a little here. The Lotus Club is many things. But a sweaty, hedonistic nightclub it is not. But before you skip to the next stop on our best nightlife in Marrakech roundup, give the Lotus a chance. That is, if you don’t mind time travelling back to the 1930s.
Here, it’s very much three course dinner and a show territory. But you will find live music, chic decor and plenty of dancing. You’ll probably not hear any trance tracks during the night, but a DJ does feature in the line up towards the small hours. We’d file this one under unique experiences, which is rarely a bad thing.
Some nightlife alternatives…
Djemaa el Fna
Google ‘Marrakech nightlife’ and you’ll find this spot mentioned time and again. We can’t claim it’s anything approaching a hidden gem, but swerve it and you’ll be missing out on quite a show. There’s always a guaranteed crowd gathered around smokey barbecues, limber acrobats, articulate storytellers and mystic psychics – though how you tell the last two apart is anyone’s guess. Regardless, both appreciate a few dirhams as a tip for their word play.
In theory, you can pitch up day or night and the snake charmers will be parping a python out of a basket, but it’s after sunset that things really start to hot up. Particularly the barbecues…
Orbzii tip: there’s an element of animal exploitation in Djemaa el Fna. While we wouldn’t suggest avoiding the main square altogether, we always direct dirhams towards more ethical exploits.
Rarely will you find a night in the casino at the top of our travel to-do lists, but there’s something very Bond-esque about the Casino de Marrakesh.
Glam up and perch yourself at the roulette table for a lingering look at Lady Luck in action. Or sashay between the tables – Martini in hand – for a peek into the world of Morocco’s high rollers. If we can say one thing, you’ll see all forms of life play out over the course of a night in a casino. Wherever you are in the world, it’s a story of high’s, low’s and always a little intrigue. Bring a few dirhams – that you can afford to lose, if you fancy chancing your luck. Or just watch the regulars win – and lose – the sorts of sums we can only dream of.
Orbzii tip: there’s a little-known perk of gambling in a casino. Stay long enough and free drinks – and occasionally food – will start to subtly arrive. Their cost won’t outweigh the coinage you’ve ploughed into the slot machine. But a gratis toasted sandwich at 3am lessens the pain. Just a little
Dinner and drinks a little too staid? Maybe. But after a day trawling the souqs – dancing the night away may be a shuffle too far for your weary feet. These are the nights to head to L’Envers. Part restaurant, bar, club and art gallery, the busy folks at L’Envers also find time to host monthly costume parties. A narrow, yet chic, space where almost every dish is served on a wooden paddle. And, if your tired feet suddenly spring to life – there’s nothing to stop you dancing in the aisles with the rest of the crowd clued up to L’Enver’s delights.
Orbzii tip: Marrakech is known for its steep alcohol prices, but this bar keeps things on budget. Happy hour runs 6-8 daily, with various specials to sample. Though with DJ sets running until the small hours, you’ll want to match any drinks with some solid mains from the menu. This isn’t a time for finger food – as great as it is here.
Ready to experience the best bars in Marrakech and everything else Marrakech has to offer? Download Orbzii to Dream, Plan and Book your way to the Medina. Oh, and check out our guide to what to wear in Marrakech. That’s also the packing sorted.