Can you drink in Iran? In short whilst Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol, the local Christian Armenian population are allowed to produce consume and sell alcoholic beverages. So, yes you can drink in Iran.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the Islamic Republic of Iran and quite how strict it is with things. We will not get right into the debate about Shia and Sunni Islam, but they certainly have different takes on things.
To read about the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam click here .
Can Muslims drink in Iran?
Because Iran is an Islamic Republic muslims are strictly forbidden from both producing and consuming alcoholic beverages, but Islamic law in the country permits different rules for the different ethnic groups, such as the Armenian Eastern Orthodox population, which we will get to later.
For all intents though you will not see Iranians drinking, or drunk Iranians, whether or not a black market for alcohol exists, or not.
Are there bars and beers in Iran?
There are no bars, or “real” beers, but they have a lot of nonalcoholic beers and even a not-alcoholic version of Smirnoff Ice. Quite surreal to drink, but it almost does a job of convincing you it is alcohol.
There is also a vibrant social scene in Iran and it is not uncommon to find groups of people tailgating whilst drinking nonalcoholic beers and eating ice-cream, or the like. Iranians are extremely sociable and you will often get either invited to join, or even come to their homes.
Can non-Muslims drink in Iran?
Christians, specifically Armenians are allowed to produce their own alcohol as well as run their own restaurants/bars with the Armenian Club in Tehran being particularly famous. At these places Armenians make not only their own wine, but also a rather lethal vodka.
To read about the best Iranian drinks click here.
Can you drink in Iran as a tourist?
You can legally drink at the Armenian Club and this is somewhere that we regularly take guests. Muslims are generally not supposed to be admitted, but a Muslim tour guide may take you into the place, although they are not permitted to drink. We can and do arrange this in pretty much all of our tours.
To read about drinking in Sudan click here .
It should be noted though that public drunkenness is not at all allowed in Iran, so whilst we do go and certainly enjoy a few drinks, moderation is the key. This is not spring break.
What is the Armenian Club like?
The Armenian Club is genuinely one of my favorite bars in the whole world, because the Armenians are Christian patrons do not have to wear the hijab and you will see people that come here dressed to the nines – note my shiny suit.
The food is also great and as are the drinks. The Armenian wine, as well as the Armenian vodka are also home made and dare we say very very welcome after what is predominantly a dry tour in a firly dry country.
Have the protests changed drinking in Iran?
For all intents no they have not and you can still grab a brew at the Armenian club, as well as the other outlets. It should though be noted that the protests, while not about drinking in Iran were partly related to the strict rules of the Islamic Republic.
Despite this do not expect any imminent changes with regards to drinking alcohol in Iran.
And that is the story of how you can legally drink in Iran. Check out our Iran tours for more details.