It's quite strange that a country doesn't have it's own beer for sale. Eritrea has as far as I know two kinds of beer. But it's hard to get due to shortage of ingrediens (malt and hops). The country give priority to food and use the ingrediens to bread instead of beers.
The "Asmara" is the best known beer, but wasn't available when I was there in the the end of january 08. "Golden Star" (see photo) is another beer. Golden Star taste good. The price is about 15 Nakfa for a bottle, and was available at one restaurant there.
Anyway, imported Chineese beer is available in Asmara. But the price is 80 Nakfa for a can of Tsingtao beer (see photo)
You may see Asmara Beer in guidebooks and on menus, but ask for it and the waiters laugh. It apparently hasn't been available since 2006, when the brewery ran out of ingredients and closed. Now the only beer you can find is Heineken or Chinese beer (if you're lucky) at an eye watering cost of 80-100 Nakfas a can ($7). The only local beer, which we found tasted of petrol, was found, after much hunting and asking of locals, at the Khartoum Hotel bar. Eritrean wine and imported wine are available at most restaurants - at a cost. Locals seem to drink Asmara gin neat... or sparkling water served tantalisingly in old beer bottles, or a cup of tea...
We tended to drink mostly in restaurants, ordering wine or beer with our meal. However we were very impressed by Zara cocktail bar next to Blue Bird restaurant - great cocktails and an impressive selection of drinks. Almost feels like a London cocktail bar! If you want to try the only local beer, the Khartoum Hotel bar will oblige, but be warned - it tastes of petrol!
Massawa seems to have the best bar life in Eritrea - there are an array of little bars scattered around the main square on Massawa Island and the atmosphere is nice.
The best option is the Red Sea Hotel on the Giro Fiori roundabout. We bought a bottle of Asmara Spumante. The staff looked incredulous. It wasn't great... As per everywhere else in Eritrea, the only beer available cost about $7.
Both Asmara and Massawa have their share of nightclubs and restaurants that triple as night bars and discos and scenes of live music, too.
I had great fun going to a couple of these, neither of which were rowdy.
Dress Code: Quite informal, dress up for the occasion you are on. If you want to look astonishing, this is the place to do it, if you want to hang out and be left in peace that can also be signalled by dress...
Arrived at the hotel after a late night flight from Frankfurt. Staff was always pleasant especially...more