Dozens of new bars, nightclubs, posh restaurants with international cuisine, and pubs in Erbil have opened their doors since 2003 causing some to call Erbil “the other Iraq” or “Iraq’s Dubai.” Currently, the city has no less than 60 liquor stores, which is astounding to some who have lived there before 2003.
David Hughes, the American owner of Erbil Speed Center, which includes the hot spot Monza Bar & Lounge, still calls the nightlife in Erbil “quiet” but admits it’s a huge improvement from before 2003. Hughes’ assistant, Sara Mojaddidi, a young Afghan-American who has lived in Iraq for four years, has a different take. According to Mojaddidi, “there is a lot of competition here and the city’s nightlife is expanding and modernizing in a very quick way.” She went on to say that Erbil would soon be just like Dubai with international restaurants and dozens of swanky nightclubs and bars. Mojaddidi further proclaimed that Monza is packed each night.
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