Tehran, the capital of Iran, was settled about 9000 years ago and is now the third largest metropolitan area in the Middle East, with nine million people. If you are going to Iran for a visit and wonder what you are going to do at night during your stay, here are some tips on Tehran’s nightlife.
Alcohol Is Banned
Nightlife and Tehran are two words which often don’t often occur in the same sentence: In Iran alcohol is banned, so drinking and partying are done only behind closed doors. There are underground parties, but be aware that it’s illegal here and you could be arrested or forced to pay a large fine.
On the other hand, there is a thriving café and restaurant scene where you can sit and watch the world go by over coffee, soft drinks, or a non-alcoholic beer which tastes surprisingly good after a day plodding the streets as a tourist. The further you go into the city, the more chic, modern, and expensive the restaurants become. Some have benches by the water and will serve you in a garden.
In northern Tehran, just above Tajrish Square and at the beginning of a popular hiking track, is the night spot location called Darband (or Sar-e Band). Darband is a collection of street-side cafes and open air restaurants that will show you the real side of Iran. In a relax atmosphere, dining on flat benches covered with Kilims, you will be served all kinds of kebabs, yogurt drinks, dips, and you can even smoke a ghelyoon, or water pipe, while drinking tea.
You’ll meet Tehranians from all walks of life who are taking advantage of their time off from work. You’ll see people enjoying life with their families and scores walking around talking and laughing loudly. Make sure you sample some of the candies and sour delicacies offered by the street side vendors. Iranians start their nights out late. So, don’t expect things to get busy before 10:00 PM.
The Shabestan Restaurant on Hafez Street hosts musicians that play live music. They do not serve alcohol. Another restaurant where you can find live music is Azari on Gomrok Square.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about nightlife in Tehran.