Donald MacInnes: Of all the fake gin joints in all the world...

In The Red

Last week I led you by the fez tassel into the chaotically aromatic shadows of the old market in Casablanca, where I had bought my wife and I a new pair of quality sunglasses each for a strongly haggled tenner. Sadly, the enthusiastic back-and-forthing with the vendor left me feeling a little, well, cheap. And grubby. That's it: cheap and grubby.

Having said that, as we left the market (at a healthy clip), I consoled myself with the idea that, while Mr Sunglasses may not have made much of a mark-up, he probably didn't fare as badly as his betrayed countenance would suggest. Anyway, we had urgent dinner plans at Rick's Café and couldn't afford to worry too much about a stallholder who was probably still keening like a kabuki performer even as we were taking our seats in Casablanca's most revered and, frankly, made-up gin joint.

Rick's Café is clearly not the original venue for Bogie's white-dinner-jacketed stalking of Bergman's Swedish meatball. It is, like the sunglasses lined up on that market stall, a facsimile. However, it may be a bogus construct put there to vacuum up tourists' wedge, but they have done a fine job. It may not resemble the actual sound stage on the Warner Bros lot, but the real (fake) thing doesn't half make you feel as if you are dining right in the middle of the movie. I was even unable to control my top lip from tightening across my teeth like Bogart from time to time.

The biggest challenge was to resist the temptation to forget my 18 months of nicotine sobriety and back-slide like a newly slim Ricky Gervais in an all-you-can-eat pastry buffet. In Rick's, like the rest of Morocco, lighting up after (as well as before and, in many cases, actually during) dinner is positively encouraged. In fact, each course is delivered with a freshly lit Rothmans stuck in the top, like some twisted birthday candle.

The only way I could take my mind off the magnificent fug of smoke vortexing around the restaurant was to get royally wasted on Moroccan rosé wine and try to remember that, while a cigarette may look right, proper and beyond cool in the tight, menacing mouth of Humphrey Bogart, it just makes me smell. And, given that fags now cost about eight quid, who has that kind of money to throw away?

Twitter.com/DonaldAMacInnes

d.macinnes@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sales Executive - Central London /Home working - £20K-£40K

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Executive - Ce...

    HR Advisor - 6 months FTC Wimbledon, SW London

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - 6 Months Fix...

    Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

    £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

    Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

    £75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

    Day In a Page

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor