Travelers to Morocco are often concerned about the availability of alcohol in this Muslim country. No one has written to me and asked me if an all-inclusive hotel package includes alcohol, others buy alcohol at the airport, thinking that no one sells it locally. In general, the prevailing view is that alcohol is banned in Morocco, so in this article, I would like to briefly tell the whole truth.
Although religion prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol, most Muslim countries disregard these formal prohibitions and produce and consume alcoholic beverages. Morocco follows a simple rule in this regard – although it is not possible by religion, alcohol is widely used.
According to last year’s statistics, Morocco consumed about 120 million liters of alcohol, 68% of which was beer. In Morocco, alcohol is not only consumed but also produced in Meknes, but there are also small private wineries that make their own wine (my favorite is the Domaine du Val d’Argan near Essaouira ).
In Morocco, alcohol advertising is nowhere to be seen, all liquor stores are hidden in the streets, without signs, the windows are covered. Purchased bottles are wrapped/hidden in newspapers. It is forbidden to drink beer at the tables on the restaurant terraces in the open air, only indoors. Agadir is a bit more liberal on this issue, alcohol can be ordered there and on the outdoor terraces.
Where to buy Alcohol in Morocco?
Of the major supermarkets, only the French Carrefour sells alcohol in Morocco. The big cities are full of small liquor stores that, as you mentioned, you won’t see so easily because of the non-existent signs. Just ask the locals and they will point you to the nearest points.
Alcoholic beverages can be bought in Morocco until 20:00 daily. Although, here in Essaouira they are not sold on Fridays. You will often not find liquor stores in smaller Moroccan cities.
Alcohol is not cheap in Morocco. The most popular beer is the local Speciale Flag, which costs 0.33 liters in the supermarket for about 1 euro (10 DH). The cheapest is Stork, and imported beers are really expensive, the price is up to 2 euros for a small bottle. Of the wines, I highly recommend trying only the Moroccan gray wine ( gris ), which has an interesting taste and is a great wait and see. The cheapest bottle of wine costs about 4 euros (45 DH), and a more decent one, like my favorite Domaine Sahari, costs about 7 euros. Spirits are much more expensive, although you can buy cheap but good vodka for 100 dirhams.
Bars in Morocco are probably worth a separate article (I described them in the English text ). These are often dark, unmarked areas, the inside of which is constantly drowned in cigarette smoke. The bars are only visited by men, and for them, the company is often supported by local night hands. Normal Moroccan women will only be seen in more serious bars or clubs that have a good reputation. So very often, if you see local girls at the bar, they are guaranteed to be waiting for customers there. Of course, tourists can go to the bars without any problems, no one will hang them there and they will not be supported by night workers.
In the cheapest bars, Special beer costs about 20 DH (2 euros), in the better ones – about 5 euros. Meanwhile, more luxurious clubs and restaurants may require a deposit of € 10 per bottle. Free tapas – popcorn, nuts, olives or vegetables – are almost always brought to drinks. More serious restaurants also host musical programs with belly dancers or musicians every evening. Admission is usually free, but of course, the menu is expensive.
Where do young people gather? My favorite places in Marrakech: little L’envers (played by electronic music DJs almost every night), Café du Livre (every Monday a battle in English), La Factory’z (industrial design mixed with pop live music), Point bar (for those who want to sit quieter with good DJ music), etc.
By the way, I once had to attend a Moroccan wedding, which, of course, was served only with juice. However, almost most of the young people kept going out to talk in the yard where the barracks in the trunk of the car stood. The sad observation is that in Morocco, drunk driving is a perfectly normal thing, which the police often do not punish, requiring a bribe.
In summary, alcohol does exist in Morocco but consume it consciously. Respect religion, don’t show drinks in public, and finally, maybe a vacation in Morocco is a great time to just beat abstinent?
ps caution should be exercised when consuming alcohol on Moroccan beaches. If you still decide to meet the sunset with a beer, choose a secluded spot, and if you see people coming, easily hide the beer bottle. Just out of respect for the culture.
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