Meknes is sadly lacking when it comes to offering modern and friendly -- especially for females -- entertainment once the sun sets. In the medina there is the mini Jemaa el Fna spectacle on place el Hedim. Apart from this, you can usually enjoy a wine (the waiters will sometimes ask you to order a salad or similar to accompany it) on the terrace of Le Collier de la Colombe, with its sweeping view of the ville nouvelle at night. At the main roundabout connecting the medina and ville nouvelle is a newly terraced and landscaped garden that is floodlit at night and has quickly become the place for women and children to while away the early evening hours.
There are quite a few bars in the ville nouvelle, especially near place Ifriquia on avenue Hassan II, and along avenue Allal ben Abdallah, although they are all men-only and decidedly seedy. At the southern end of the pedestrian-only section of rue de Paris is Novelty (tel. 0535/521885). Formerly a bit of a dive, in 2006 Novelty was purchased by an elderly Italian gent who has cleaned the place up and added some nice tables and draft beer. It's now very female-friendly, offers free tapas, and is an enjoyable stop for a late-night drink. Novelty is open Monday to Saturday noon to 11pm.
Close by is Le Pub, which besides its fine restaurant is a very popular watering hole. The ground-floor bar is well stocked, has satellite sports TV, and a few tables, bar stools, and a salon to choose from. Downstairs is a smoky -- from both cigarettes and shisha pipes -- bar and lounge that starts filling up late each night with Meknassi men and women coming for a bit of live Moroccan music. It's open daily noon to midnight.
Other choices are limited to hotel bars, of which the Hotel Rif, on the west end of rue Accra (tel. 0535/522591), is usually liveliest with cheap beers, free snacks, and comfortable seats. During the warmer months, treat yourself to an expensive beer (50dh) in the garden of the otherwise overrated Hotel Transatlantique, rue el Merinyne (tel. 0535/525050), in the ville nouvelle. The expansive, shaded grounds at the rear of the property give a sweeping view of the medina and are a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours. Kids will love the large, green lawns; take their swimsuits and ask the staff if the kids can have a swim in one of the hotel's two pools.
If your French is up to par, call the Institut Français, on the corner of avenue Moulay Ismail and rue Ferhat Hachad (tel. 0535/515851; fax 0535/510170; www.ambafrance-ma.org). They have a monthly calendar of cultural events such as movies, plays, concerts, lectures, and exhibitions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.