Dubai has an effervescent nightlife scene, even though local customs and regulations state that it probably shouldn’t. Nevertheless, the super-high concentration of foreigners has resulted in an eclectic mix of night time fun activities, ranging from nightclubs hosting world-class DJs to super trendy cocktail bars, relaxed and casual beach-bars and everything else in between. By and large the clubs, bars and supper clubs are good, very good. The opulence of Dubai is reflected in the dress code (very smart and dressy) and in the quality of the entertainment options available; bling is all the rage in Dubai…and the more the merrier indeed. Being that the Islamic week-end starts on Fridays, Thursday nights are by far the busiest in Dubai with Saturday nights coming in as a close second.
Dubai Nightlife – Here’s a short guide to a few do’s and dont’s of rocking it at night in Dubai:
- The minimum drinking age here is 21, so do beware, penalties for underage drinking are severe.
- Never offer a local (male or female) an alcoholic drink; unless you’re 100% sure they consume alcohol.
- Alcohol is mostly served in bars and clubs belonging to luxury hotels, so head here if you’d like your sundowner with an extra kick.
- Watch your consumption: being intoxicated in public can result in a jail sentence in Dubai, so do keep it modest.
- Modesty should also be observed in your ‘behaviour’: dancing topless on top of a bar stool in Ibiza is fine, doing the same in Dubai is soooooooo not.
- All bars and clubs close at 3am.
- During the month of Ramadan all clubs and bars will be closed, so if you really can’t live without some night-time fun make sure you plan your trip outside this month.
Dubai hosts some seriously awesome festivals and concerts; A-listers flocking here regularly to play gigs, hold private concerts to celebrate some sheik’s 15yo son’s birthday and open envelopes and stuff. Check out this nifty events calendar to see what‘s on and what’s hot in upcoming months!
Just a decade ago, most of Dubai’s night-time establishments were centred around the Jumeirah area, yet nowadays trendy bars, some featuring live bands, have sprung up in almost every nook of the ultra-modern hub. As with most transient large cities, doors seem to open and close at a head-spinning rate, so check out Time Out Dubai’s guide for the latest and coolest joints around.
There are a few staples which look like they won’t be going anywhere for a while, so here’s a list of our fave hangouts and what they have to offer:
This 27th floor establishment is ultra-cool and schnazzy and offers top-notch beverages to complement the unbelievable views over Dubai’s city skyline and the Creek. Live jazz livens things up a couple of times a week, but aside this, the bar is mostly an elegant option for a few quiet drinks. The restaurant is quite superb actually, yet getting a table here requires booking weeks in advance, but there’s plenty of seating if you just want to enjoy a few cocktails.
If you’d like a livelier scene, head to the Music Room for some live rock bands, great bar food and a few rounds of pool. It’s open every night and hosts rock cover bands from all over the world who sometimes are, it must be said, even better than the original. Considered the best live-music joint in Dubai, head here if you like your music (a little) loud and your nights socially casual.
Sundowners & shisha
If we were pressed for honesty, we would say that it’s the seemingly endless plethora of cool beach-side bars which really hit the spot with us when we head to Dubai. As much as we love live bands and have no aversion to clubbing, we can experience all those things at home. Moreover, the daytime exertions (shopping can be hard work you know!) and unrelenting heat tends to zap most people of their energy, so you may find that the last thing you want to do in Dubai is dance your socks off till 3am.
When in Dubai, stroll along the Creek or by the beach mid-afternoon, take a comfy seat at one of the many waterfront lounge bars (pick a different one each time), sip a refreshing sundowner, enjoy a tasty morsel for dinner and watch the sun set over this amazing city whilst puffing away at a ‘fruits of the forest’ shisha. Best part about this is that if the music gets too loud, or crowd too annoying…you can just mozzie on over to the next one and do it all over again.
Dominic Scaglioni via Flickr
Sarah Ackerman via Flickr
Andrea Mann via Flickr
Moaksey via Flickr