Le Bar de la Marine, MarseilleIts bar culture still remains a little under-developed - especially late at night - but Marseille offers a wide variety of brasseries, cafés and friendly spots.

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In the city's spicy melting-pot, the choice is yours: drink mint tea and eat honey-drenched patisseries at a North African café, take coffee and croissants or sip an icy pastis on the Old Port, enjoy an English afternoon cuppa in the Old Town or neck a beer amid the adrenaline of a live Olympique de Marseille football match. Many also serve light meals.

Here are some excellent places to do any or, indeed, several of the above; where available, the links will lead you to further details. For full reviews of these and other Marseille bars and cafés, check out our gastronomy section.

Things are trickier if you're after late evening action. A local joke goes that Marseille is like buzzing Barcelona by day and boring Barcelonette (a sleepy small town in northern Provence) by night.

That's all slowly changing, though. The best places to head for are the Cours Julien (try WAAW, a "cultural café" at 17 rue Pastoret) and the area around Saint Victor Abbey. The backstreets behind the Opéra are best avoided after midnight.

For a nostalgic remnant of Marcel Pagnol's Marseille that's still popular with a modern crowd: Bar de la Marine (pictured top left), 15 quai de Rive Neuve, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 54 95 42.

For a historic, classic brasserie on the Old Port: La Samaritaine, 2 quai du Port, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 31 41.

For a calm, shady terrace in a beautiful Old Town monument: Le Charité Café, 2 rue de la Charité, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 91 08 41.

For a place to chill, surf the net, listen to jazz and keep tabs on the Old Port: La Caravelle, 34 quai du Port, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 36 64.

For late - very late -night drinks and music near Saint Victor Abbey: La Ruche, 128 rue Sainte, 13007 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 21 62 03.

For watching OM matches live on the Old Port with a crowd of supporters: OM Brasserie, 3 quai des Belges, 13001 Marseille‎. Tel (+33) 4 91 33 80 33.

For a neighbourhood bar with great, cheap home cooking in central Marseille: Café de l'Abbaye, 3 rue d'Endoume, 13007 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 33 44 67.

For excellent artisan real ales and a cosy atmosphere near Cours Julien: Bière de la Plaine, 16 rue Saint Pierre and 59 rue des Trois frères Barthélémy, 13006 Marseille.

For tasty, imaginative veggie, vegan and organic eats: Green Bear Coffee, 17 rue Glandèves and 123 La Canebière, both 13001 Marseille.

For, quite simply, the best pâtisserie in Marseille: Sylvain Depuichaffray, 66 rue Grignan, 13001 Marseille. Tel (+33) 4 91 33 09 75.

For bourgeois-bohemian cool and excellent, cheap food near Saint Victor Abbey: Bar de la Relève, 41 rue d'Endoume, 13007 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 95 09 87 81.

For fragrant speciality teas and coffees, ices, gifts and more: Torréfaction Noailles, 56 la Canebière, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 55 60 66.

For super, cheap vegetarian / organic teas, drinks and light lunches: Le Grain de Sable, 34 rue du Bagnoire, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 39 51.

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