Many expats in the city play as hard as they work. This has led to Dubai developing a very lively and active night life. Many of the most popular night spots are attached to five-star hotels which means that they have licenses to serve alcohol.
British and Irish Pubs
There are a number of pubs where British and Irish expats can feel as if they’re back home. They provide relaxed atmospheres, friendly environments and even organize regular pub quizzes. Most show Premier League football matches and on match nights they can be packed to the gunnels. These include Double Decker at the Al Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites (http://www.rotana.com) near the Burj Dubai and the ever popular Irish Village (see below).
There are many cocktail bars in the city. One of the most popular is Ginseng at Pyramids in Wafi City (http://www.ginsengdubai.com). It manages to be stylish without being pretentious and, as such, is a popular choice for a relaxing evening.
Vu’s is another popular choice with expats (http://www.jumeirahemiratestowers.com). Located on the 51st floor of the Emirates Towers Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, it offers magnificent views over the city. It does have a strict dress code with men required to wear a collar and shoes.
One of the trendiest cocktail bars is Left Bank (http://www.theoldtownisland.com). It has venues in several locations around the UAE, but the most popular is the new bar in the Souk al Bahar near the Burj Dubai. It has a friendly atmosphere despite its exclusive up-market image.
Al Fresco Bars
Most expats eventually find their way to the Irish Village (http://www.irishvillage.ae). Located in Al Garhoud, winter evenings see expats sitting outside around a duck pond with a beer or a Guinness in one hand and bar snacks in the other. It also hosts live music on a regular basis from local bands to what seems to be becoming a regular St. Patrick Day’s performance by Sir Bob Geldof.
Another al fresco bar in the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina is the massively popular Barasti Bar (http://www.starwoodhotels.com). It is located in one of the most popular tourist areas of town but it still attracts a very large number of Western expat residents. Barasti has an exotic atmosphere with a Polynesian theme. It is built on two levels both of which offer idyllic views of the sea. The upper level is more laid-back with large TV screens showing sporting programs and in-house band playing covers of hits from the last two decades. The downstairs bar attracts a much younger clubbing crowd with live DJs blasting music out over the wooden decking and the beach beyond.
Hotel nightclubs offer a variety of different experiences. The busiest night is Thursday followed by Saturday. This reflects the Friday-Saturday weekend in Dubai. Most of the nightclubs close at 3 am. Nearly all nightclubs have a cover charge of between AED 50 and AED 100 for entry. This may include free drinks. Prices go up considerably if the club is hosting a guest DJ. Many clubs have ladies nights where entry and drinks are free for women. It is illegal to wear local dress in the nightclubs and as an extension of this, men are often not allowed in if they are wearing sandals.
Popular nightclubs include:
- 360° at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (http://www.jumeirahbeachhotel.com)
Live DJs and chilled-out electronic music
- The 400 Club at the Fairmont Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road
Arabic music, house, UK club music, R&B
- Alpha at Le Meridien, Airport Road (http://www.starwoodhotels.com)
Electro-infused indie music, drum & bass music
- Chi at the Lodge in Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha (http://www.lodgedubai.com)
Hip-hop, funk and soul
Time Out Dubai (http://www.timeoutdubai.com) provides information about bars and nightclubs including opening hours, special events and guest appearances. Some of the evening shows on the English language radio stations also announce special events and give advice about places to go that night. You can also find out about social gatherings and events, or start your own, by searching for Dubai at http://www.meetup.com.