Top 10 Entertainment at Night
Cafe Haftad-o Hasht:
A good place to get in touch with Tehran’s hip young artistic community is this cafe near Park-e Honar Mandan and other galleries. The coffee, wide range of teas, snacks, service and conversation are all good.
Underneath the Hotel Naderi, this historic if somewhat tired cafe has long been a favourite of intellectuals and artists – think sculpted beards and berets in a setting that is circa 1950s Paris (unrenovated). The cafe fare is limited to Turkish and French coffee and perhaps a pastry or two, but the adjoining restaurant has a full menu and is known by generations of Tehranis for its chateaubriand. Don’t expect much service (or change) from the grumpy-grandad waiters.
This underground place is modern Iranian social interaction in microcosm, full of young Iranians flirting, drinking tea, smoking and eating (in that order) under attractive vaulted and tiled ceilings. The dizi (US$4) and kababs are reliably good and well priced for this location, though at busy times you won’t be allowed to linger. It’s tucked away down an ornately tiled staircase.
Located above beautiful Iranshahr Theatre in the middle of the Artists’ Park, Cafe Gallery is hard to beat in Tehran as a place to sit and soak up the scene. You can soak up some art (it’s a functioning gallery) and some sun, too, if you get a seat on the balcony. The cafe fare includes pastas, salads, burgers and toasted sandwiches that satisfy without stunning.
The huge, circular Tezatre Shahr, opened in 1968, is Tehran’s biggest and most impressive theatre and the place you’re most likely to see Iranian stage actors at work – performing in Farsi, of course. Some booking staff speak English so call to find out what’s coming up. Performances are normally at 6.30pm or 7.30pm and cost about US$4.
At more than 75 years old, the very compact Gol-e Rezaieh is one of Tehran’s oldest cafes and, until the revolution, was a favorite of intellectuals, journalists, writers and artists, some of whom still hang out here. It’s a good place for coffee after the nearby museums, and is known for its hard-to-find ‘home-made’ khoresht .
Occupying the garden and library pavilion of a 100-year old mansion in posh northern Tehran, Chai Bar blends traditional Iranian style with a superb garden location (heated in winter). It’s ideal for summer afternoons and evenings beneath the trees sipping the wide range of teas and Illy coffee; it also sells salads, soup and sandwiches.
Azadi Cinema Center:
Burnt down in 1997, the classic Azadi has been rebuilt and its seven screens are the most watched in town.
One of Tehran’s oldest theatres, this beautiful building in peaceful Park-e Honar Mandan always has something (or several things) performing. Use Google translate to see which plays are coming up.
In the lovely gardens of the Film Museum of Iran, this chic cafe serves a wide range of expensive but very drinkable Italian coffees and light meals (for pasta visit Gallery Cafe in the same grounds). It’s an artsy, trendy and international scene. Bokings needed for the evenings.