By Maryam Montague
November 14, 2014
Alvaro Leiva

Marrakesh has a vibrant café culture.  Perhaps it’s because of the French colonial heritage—or perhaps not—but cafés are ubiquitous.  Moroccans (particularly Moroccan men) will linger over a single mint tea for, well, hours.  And who can blame them?  Most cafés have terraces either on the sidewalk or on the rooftop, creating a perfect vantage point for that favorite pastime, people-watching.  In the old city (or medina), cafes surround the famed Jemaa el-Fnaa square with its madcap cast of characters on display, from snake charmers to fortune-tellers.  While in the new city, cafés with chic seating line the main boulevards, giving you plenty of options.  But whether you are in the new city or old, cafés offer an easy way to while away a very pleasant hour, drinking a nouss-nouss (half coffee, half milk), writing postcards or planning your next trip into the Sahara desert.  Here are some of my favorites.  

Kechmara

This is where the local hipsters and beautiful people hang out in the Marrakesh new city, Gueliz.  With mid-century modern seating and an ever-changing collection of art on the walls, this is a great address.  In addition to good strong espressos, the food options are plentiful and alcohol is also served.  Hang out on the rooftop terrace on a beautiful day. 

Café des Epices

Right smack in the midst of the spice souk (ahem, hence the café’s name) a coffee is obligatory at the Café des Epices.  This three-story café gives you plenty of seating options, but is almost always packed.  If it seems to crowded, try the newer Café des Nomades across the way; it's by same owner but some would say its has better food. 

Café de la Poste

Ah…… Café de la Poste.  This is practically an institution in Marrakesh.  With its wicker seating, ceiling fans and wood-slat blinds, this café boasts a serious colonial vibe.  While I am not a great fan of the food (continental, and meh) the terrace is one of my favorite places to drink a cold Casablanca beer (or a pastisse) with friends. 

Café Clock

One of the newest cafes on the Marrakesh scene, Café Clock follows in the footsteps of its more established sister café of the same name in Fez.  In addition to very good (if simple) food and drinks, this café acts as a sort of cultural launching pad, where you can listen to Moroccan storytellers, learn Arabic calligraphy or take a Moroccan cooking class. It definitely has a funky, cool vibe. 

Café du Livre

Café du Livre is the hangout for local expats, particularly the Anglophones.  Ownership has changed hands several times but the theme has stayed the same: English-language books, free Wi-Fi and food that would be just as at home in Seattle as it is in Marrakesh. 

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