True to Rabat's standing as the country's diplomatic center, nightlife in the city tends to lean toward the cultural spectrum. Théâtre Mohammed V, on rue Moulay Rachid (tel. 0537/707300), is the country's preeminent theater, hosting a wide variety of productions ranging from Moroccan comedy to European classical dance. Cinéma du 7ème Art, on avenue Allal ben Abdellah (tel. 0537/733887), is popular with the student crowd, showing mostly Arabic and European art-house movies nightly. There are also the local cultural centers attached to some of the foreign embassies. The British Council, 36 rue Tanger, Ministères (off the southern end of av. Mohammed V; tel. 0537/218130;, offers a monthly program of functions, as does the Institut Français, 2 rue al Yanboua (tel. 0537/701122;, and the German-aligned Goethe Institut, 7 rue Sana'a (tel. 0537/732650;, in the centre ville.

I find most clubs in Rabat highly overrated, both staffed and frequented by persons full of self-importance and costing an arm and a leg (by Moroccan standards) just to get in, let alone to have a drink. The most consistently popular in downtown Rabat is Amnesia, 18 rue de Monastir, centre ville (tel. 0537/701860). American-themed right down to the diner-style backroom, the music is a mix of European and American chart pop, and the clientele largely well-to-do Rabat 20-somethings. It's open nightly 7:30pm to 2am; admission for men is 80dh Monday to Friday and 100dh Saturday and Sunday; women are always admitted free. For a more relaxed drink, head to Le Grand Comptoir, 270 bd. Mohammed V, centre ville (tel. 0537/201514; fax 0537/707322). A brasserie in its truest French form, the upstairs bar offers somewhere to enjoy a reasonably priced drink without any stuffiness. Weekend nights can get quite busy and provide a fun night out, especially when accompanied by some live jazz or African music. It's open daily 9am to 1am.

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