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Surviving Riyadh

What Was Forbidden in Saudi Arabia's Restaurants?

What Was Forbidden in Saudi Arabia’s Restaurant?


King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) had a Social Club and hospital employees and their dependents were eligible for membership. It published a bulletin on a regular basis that included a calendar of classes, trips and other events available to members. There was a small monthly fee and offered discounts on varieties of local events and items. Tennis was very popular. From my fourth floor apartment window, I could see ladies practicing at the tennis court. There were championship competitions. Players went to different cities to compete for these events.

Recreation facilities were also available in most of the local hotels. Swimming pools, sauna, ping-pong, and bowling facilities were accessible to members. Membership costs varied according to the hotel and the facilities available.

Alcohol was forbidden in Saudi Arabia's restaurants. There were no bars in Saudi Arabia. Restaurants were quite expensive, but the variety, quality and cuisine were excellent. Dining out was a popular pastime. There were many restaurants to choose from. Some restricted women from dining or they segregated women from men.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, social club, recreation facilities, hospital employees, alcohol, restaurant

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