Guide to Nightlife in the Middle EastMiddle East — By Mary on June 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm
The Gulf tends to show one of two faces to people who haven’t had the opportunity to travel within the GCC – one of veiled women in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the other the skyscrapers and overwhelming materialism invoked by new Dubai. Reality of course is somewhere in between, and if you find yourself in Doha, Manama, Abu Dhabi, or Kuwait City there are some things you should keep in mind when hitting the town.
1) People will see you. If you’re just visiting you might not care, but if you’re living in the region you might want to be careful about where you go or have a reputation of going.
2) Travel in pairs or with a large group, preferably with a man you can trust. If you don’t know the area well, it’s helpful to have someone with a bit of experience.
3) Go places with a good reputation. Prostitution is a reality throughout the GCC, and regardless of how you’re dressed or why you’re in the club, you could end up in a rather interesting situation.
4) Always have a designated driver or take a taxi. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance. There are consequences that you don’t even want to have to deal with by ignoring this suggestion.
5) Have valid ID that shows your nationality. Some places only allow foreigners in, and if you’ve waited in line to go dance with your friends then you don’t want to get turned back.
6) It’s always ladies night somewhere. Do you really want to spend $20 on a drink? Check the local newspaper for ladies night specials, and go where the free food and drinks are.
7) You’re not going to be in the club the entire time, dress appropriately. If that means a long jacket or abaya, then bring a big purse or check it at the door.
If alcohol is prohibited by customs then do yourself a favor and don’t try to sneak it in.
9) Avoid clubbing or drinking during religious holidays or the holy month of Ramadan. Generally remember it’s a culture that tolerates a night club or a downtown scene, not the other way around.
One of my best experiences clubbing happened in Doha with a group of expatriates. Live music, fun people, and we all made it home in one piece.
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