In every town, however small, a buzzing café culture thrives. Most will serve drinks and snacks well into the late evening: grab a chair, sip mint tea, smoke a shisha pipe and people-watch.
Most cultural events and festivals take place in summer and typically span drama, dance, circus, poetry and song. The theatre season lasts from October to June when local and foreign (especially French) companies stage a wide variety of different plays. On “World Theatre Day”, in March each year, Tunisian actors stage mini-performances on the steps of the “Theatre Municipal de Tunis” in Habib Bourguiba Avenue. Several of the Roman amphitheatres host Tunisian folklore performances, classical music and modern pop concerts from opera and salsa to rock.
Cinemas are popular in the larger cities but a tendency to re-run old films is common complaint. There are fantastic nightclubs (some outdoors and with top DJs) in most beach hotels, as well as in the big city hotels - but many of these close once the holidaymakers fly home, especially those in the main tourist resorts. Clubs change hands, go out of favour and close down – so it pays to ask around. Cabarets and dinner shows are common with belly dancing and lively local bands playing traditional music. Major hotels will carry flyers for these events that may also offer ticket discounts or a complimentary drink.
You’ll also find good bars in the principal resorts of Port el Kintoui, Sousse and Hammamet – there are even British Pubs with dart boards, pool tables and draft beer. Large casinos offering everything from roulette, blackjack and poker tables, to plush bars and restaurants, are found in Sousse, Hammamet, Port El Kantaoui and Djerba. Open only to visitors, a dress code applies, requiring men to wear a suit and tie.