I am fairly famous for liking a drink or two on our tours, and Iran is one of our most popular destinations, but can these two things be combined? Can one consume alcohol in Iran? The answer as with many things is not all that simple.
Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979 Muslims were banned from the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages, so, therefore, alcohol in Iran is pretty much illegal.
But, unlike Saudi Arabia, which genuinely is completely dry, Iran has a few interesting nuances. In Iran, non-Muslim minorities that are represented in the Iranian parliament are allowed to produce a small amount of booze for personal consumption. In this case the Armenians, and the Assyrians who are both Christian, and therefore people of the book (and are represented in the Majilis).
This means that in general, our groups do not drink in Iran, save for what is usually our last night when we legally visit the Armenian Club in Tehran. The drink on offer tends to be homemade vodka and wine which is actually of a really high standard. And after a week of dryness in Iran makes for what is a pretty good last night out in Iran. As Iranian nightlife goes, we like the Armenian Club.
So, what do we do for the rest of the tour? Well! Believe it or not, we are more than capable of doing a few nights off the naughty soup, but interestingly one of the most popular drinks in Iran is non-alcoholic beer.
For me, personally, non-alcoholic beer is a bit like Chinese water torture, but they had one “malt beverage” which was basically non-alcoholic Smirnoff Ice. It turns out I actually like Smirnoff ice, it’s not just to get drunk on.
Do you want a weird night? Sitting outside of juice bars watching Iranians tailgating whilst drinking beer without booze in it.
Tehran nights baby!