Entertainment and Nightlife

As a Muslim country, Tunisia is not somewhere to go for wild nightlife, and even in Tunis the opportunities for cultural entertainment are limited. Tunisians like to spend time with their families and friends, and conversation is all the entertainment that they usually need.

It can sometimes seem that there are two parallel worlds in existence in the evening, and the two seldom meet. Foreign visitors stay in their hotels, or perhaps venture out in search of a restaurant, while the local people are either at home or simply hanging out in cafés.

All major tourist hotels have bars, and often younger Tunisians will wander in to use them and perhaps meet their friends or start chatting to foreigners. Most bars are usually readily open to non-residents. There are regular bars in Tunis, which are almost exclusively filled with Tunisian men, but because drinking alcohol is forbidden by Islam they tend to have a rather illicit feel to them and are not very welcoming.

There are also discos in many of the tourist hotels and again these are there for the benefit of the tourists and the younger Tunisians who want to meet them and show their sophistication.

Nightclubs also exist primarily for the benefit of foreign tourists, being found in many hotels, often with shows of Tunisian music and dancing. Sometimes acts such as snake-charmers and belly-dancers will be added, though these are mainly for entertainment value and are not a big part of local culture.