Last Updated on: 16th March 2023, 06:53 am
Are you thinking of visiting Morocco and wondering if you will have to forego a refreshing beer or relaxing glass of wine? You might be surprised to learn that alcohol is available in Morocco, although not as readily as in non-Muslim countries.
Steve and I spent two and a half months in Morocco in the winter of 2022-2023. During that time, I was able to find beer and wine. It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always cheap.
Here’s the lowdown on drinking in Morocco.
All money is in U.S. dollars.
Is Drinking Legal in Morocco?
Yes. Drinking is legal in Morocco. Since Morocco is an Islamic country and the Quran forbids consuming alcohol, it plays a much smaller role in daily life than in non-Muslim countries. Even so, it is not illegal and can be found in bars, liquor stores, and some restaurants.
How Easy is it to Find Alcohol in Morocco?
Not so easy.
Most restaurants do not serve alcohol. They usually offer a wide variety of soft drinks, including delicious fruit juices and mocktails. Non-alcoholic beer is often available too.
If you want to check online before you visit a restaurant to see if they serve alcohol, you can try finding their menu online. Don’t be surprised if the restaurant you are interested in does not have a website. Many don’t. Sometimes the website is a FaceBook page.
You can also call and ask if they serve alcohol. Many people in food service speak English, but French and Arabic are the primary languages.
My best advice is to assume the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, particularly if it’s a traditional Moroccan restaurant. If it does, consider it a bonus.
We spent time in six Moroccan cities, and in each one, there were liquor stores. You can get beer, wine, and hard liquor in these stores, but in our experience, you cannot get non-alcoholic beer or wine. That is available in some supermarkets, including Carrefour.
Supermarket chains like Carrefour may sell alcohol in some locations but not in others. When they do, it is sold in a separate store connected to the supermarket.
Google is your friend when hunting down your favorite libations in Morocco. I’ve had good luck Googling “where can I buy alcohol in name of city.”
Except for drinks at the Barcelo Tanger bar, where we were the only customers, we had no first-hand experience with Moroccan bars. We didn’t notice any bars as we explored, but some hotels have them. Again, you can check their websites or call to see if they have a bar.
We have never seen alcohol for sale or served in a medina. Your best bet is to look outside the medina.
How Much Does Alcohol Cost in Morocco?
As expected, you will pay a premium for alcohol you purchase in a restaurant. I found the cost in restaurants that offer alcohol equivalent to the high end of what we have seen in our travels.
When buying beer at a supermarket, I paid $2.00 for 50 ml of Flag Special. Some liquor stores were in line with this, while others were a bit higher.
As expected, wine prices vary depending on quality. I found the wine prices in liquor stores to be reasonable.
Our Experiences by City
Here are my experiences buying alcohol in five Moroccan cities.
On our first night in Tangier, we went to the Barcelo Tanger hotel for drinks. I had one glass of wine and Steve had two 33ml non-alcoholic beers. We were shocked that the total was $23.
We ate dinner at the Barcelo Tanger hotel one night. My 50ml beer, with alcohol, was $10.
My go-to liquor store was a little hole in the wall on the waterfront. I do not have its address, but it is on Ave. Mohammed VI near the Marina Bay Hotel. They only accept cash.
Steve and I enjoyed a few meals at Anji Chinese Restaurant. It is at 156 Av. Youssef Ibn Tachfine. Their menu included alcohol, and it was more reasonably priced than at the Barcelo Tanger hotel.
During our few days in Chefchaouen, we discovered a great bar and restaurant, Bar Oum Rabie. It is just outside the medina at Bd Hassan 2.
Not only can you get drinks at relatively reasonable prices, but you will get free food, including a plate of fries, when you do. You can also order meals here.
I didn’t bother going to a liquor store since the ones I found online were too far away.
It was easier to find alcohol in Rabat. We stayed in Quartier Hassan and had three places to buy alcohol within a 10-minute walk.
My go-to place for beer in Rabat was at the Carrefour Market Hassan Rabat on Ave. Moulay Ismail. The street-level grocery store did not sell alcohol but had plenty of zero-alcohol beers and wines.
The alcohol was sold in the basement, which was named Cave. The size of Cave and its stock could rival many Western liquor stores.
There was a large liquor store called La Bonne Maison on Rue Henri Popp not far from Carrefour. Their selection was impressive, but they were slightly more expensive than Cave.
There was also a small store near these two on Rue Mahamed El Jazouli, but I didn’t shop there.
Steve and I enjoyed four nights in Marrakesh. Since we stayed in the medina and most of our sightseeing was there, I decided to stick to soft drinks. But serendipity intervened.
One day, we went to Jardin Majorelle, which is outside of the medina. While walking there, we noticed a large liquor store called Mini Marche Majorelle. It is at 7 Ave. Yacoub El Mansour. I bought a bottle of wine since I didn’t have a way to keep beer cold in our riad.
Check out our experiences in Marrakesh in “Marrakesh: Colorful, Crowded, and Just a Little Crazy.”
Finding alcohol in Casablanca was pretty easy. I mainly shopped at the Carrefour Market Yacoub El Mansour. Keep in mind that not all Carrefour markets sell alcohol.
I also discovered a chain of liquor stores called Nicolas. In addition to several stores in Casablanca, they have stores in several other Moroccan cities, including Rabat and Marrakesh.
Moroccan Wine and Beer
It may surprise you that beer and wine are produced in Morocco.
There are three brands of Moroccan beer: Casablanca (a lager), Flag (a pilsner), and Stork (a light lager).
You won’t find craft beer, but you will find many international brands, including Heineken and Budweiser. Heineken is even bottled in Marrakesh.
Forty million bottles of wine are produced annually in Morocco. This is more than one bottle for every resident of the country. About 75% is red wine.
Learn about Moroccan wine in this article from Wine Enthusiast.
Things You Should Be Aware Of
I’m sure your Moroccan bucket list doesn’t include spending time in a Moroccan jail. Here are tips to keep in mind if you plan on drinking in Morocco.
The drinking age in Morocco is 18.
According to this U.K. government website, it is illegal to drink alcohol on the street or anywhere accept a licensed bar or restaurant. Of course, you can take it back to your accommodation.
Even on New Year’s Eve, we didn’t see any drunks on the street. To keep out of legal trouble and to avoid insulting the people of your host country, do not walk the streets while tipsy.
As it should be, there is zero tolerance for driving under the influence.
As you can see, those of us who choose to drink do not have to give it up in Morocco. We just have to work a little harder to find it and be aware of the cultural norms.
Until Next Time
I hope you find this information helpful. Feel free to add suggestions on how you handled drinking in Morocco.
Feature photo by Andreas M. on Unsplash.com