Since the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970’s in Iran, the country has strict laws regarding alcohol. Non-Muslims require a licence and special permission to produce and consume alcohol, and Muslims are strictly forbidden from acquiring it. Nightclubs and pubs do exist but are accessible to only a few and are under private permission. Plenty of hotels, restaurants and cafes serve a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages and the popular salty yogurt drink ‘doug’ is a hit amongst locals.
The nightlife and evening social activities of Tehran begin promptly by sunset and there are plenty of activities and leisure options available for all. Most Iranians prefer to spend the evening having a meal with family and close friends. Dining out is preferred once the air is cool the evening, although many families host elaborate home-cooked dinners and private parties. Iranians love to go out to the beach for a walk, take stroll around busy streets, play in the park or just relax with friends while smoking some sheesha.
Cinema plays a big role in Tehran culture. Iran produces a large variety of commercial films and in the recent years has been lauded for its contribution to art cinema. Popular cinemas in Tehran include Africa Cinema, Farhang cinema, Bahman cinema and Mellat cinema. Other evening activities in Tehran include shopping, camping and trekking. Music also plays an important part in Iranian culture. Although public performance are heavily regulated, many rock bands, performers and artists do obtain special permission to hold live concerts and shows and are very popular amongst Tehran’s youth.