You know that moment on a Thursday afternoon when your work buddy asks what you’re doing this weekend and your mind goes blank? Well worry no more, friends, because What’s On has the perfect solution, whatever mood you are in.

Walk for Education
Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization working to tackle poverty through education in developing countries, holds its fifth ‘Walk for Education’ on Friday February 7 at the Jumeirah Beach Park.

The event symbolizes the average 3km walk undertaken every day by children on the way to school, and registration cost on the day (between 8am-9am) costs just Dhs30.

For those who complete the walk – which should be all of you – post-walk fun and games will be provided by local radio personality Kris Fade, while a face-painting booth, games arcade, photo booth for photo souvenirs as well as performances by acrobats and the Dubai Police Band will keep the kids plenty distracted.

To register and pay online, or for more information, visit

Family Fun Day
The whole family is invited to Al Tamini Stables this weekend to get up close and personal with over 500 domestic and exotic animals and birds with nature trails across  30 acres of lush farmlands.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the stables in Sharjah, the centre is laying on a day dedicated to family enjoyment on Friday February 7. The Family Fun Day says it will focus on the ‘educational facilities and unique Heroes Programme that fuses the school curriculum with active, outdoor and experimental learning’.

Tickets for the event cost just Dhs85 for adults and Dhs45 for kids over the age of three. For more information visit

Meet Sea Lions
Visitors to Atlantis have a new attraction to enjoy after the world famous hotel announced the opening of Sea Lion Point, home to a family of South African Fur Seals.

Visitors can get up close and personal with these beautiful mammals, even enjoying a cuddle and kiss. Of course, the special meeting between man and cuddly beast takes place under the supervision of Marine Mammal Specialists, who insist our flappy-footed friends are as excited to see you as you are them.

Atlantis, The Palm. Tel: (050) 7381388. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm. January 24, 9pm-3am. Dhs150, ladies free before 11pm.




Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture and that’s why this new Chinese restaurant on The Palm has taken the name. It’s also why there are 88 dishes on the menu (just in case you were wondering, the waiter told us there were 88 – we’re not weirdos who count things on a menu).

It’s a very pretty place: high ceilings, lots of flattering orange lighting, large vases stuffed with green bamboo and nice artwork. The tranquil terrace has superb views of the marina skyline. All in all, this is a place for a romantic dinner date.

Fairmont The Palm, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7pm to 11.30pm, Thur and Fri 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4573338. Taxi: Fairmont The Palm.

Johnny Rockets
Fans of the burgers, hot dogs and shakes at Johnny Rockets will be pleased to see that red and yellow sign back on Jumeirah Beach Road. It closed in the summer, but a spanking new restaurant has now opened its doors in the Jumeirah Centre Mall.

Johnny Rockets, Jumeirah Centre Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3447859. Taxi: Jumeirah Centre.  

Maison Mathis
Maison Mathis bake their own bread, mince their own beef, and make their own red onion jam, aubergine chutney, truffle mayonaise and gravy. They even marinate cherry tomatoes overnight to serve with the beef carpaccio. If you want home-cooked flavours, head to the tranquility of Arabian Ranches and pay a visit to this beautifully decked-out Belgian style café/restaurant overlooking the golf course.

Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Dubai, Mon to Sun 7am to 2am. Tel: (04) 4501313

Comptior 102
Jumeirah café Comptoir 102 may not be able to make you look like  Gwyneth Paltrow but, with their new super-healthy macrobiotic menu, at least they can help you eat like the Hollywood star. Devotees of the eating regime say avoiding animal products and focusing on grains, vegetables and unrefined foods is a sure-fire route to a more energetic and balanced lifestyle. If you’re keen to try it, Comptoir 102 has invited macrobiotic specialist chef Eva Barril Roig to work her magic on its dishes during February. The menu includes ingredients that aim to aid digestion and strengthen the blood and features dishes such as miso squash soup or sweet potato quinoa with greens. Whether the menu will win you an Oscar is doubtful.

Comptoir 102, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 7pm, from Dhs80. Tel: (04) 3854555.

Fro Yo
Frozen yoghurt has a new power player in the form of Yogurtland, which arrives in the UAE from California. With 12 flavours and more than 50 toppings to choose from, thank goodness there’s a team of ‘flavourologists’ to help.

The Dubai Mall, Downtown, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 44533900. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.

With eye-popping light features and a ‘VVIP’ balcony overlooking the dance floor, the new Ultra Boutique Lounge at the Address Dubai Mall is a poser’s dream. High-definition LED technology climbs the 15-metre-high walls, while swirly white chandeliers – reminiscent of an ice queen having a bad hair day, also catch the eye. Live bands play downstairs and DJs work the crowd in the lounge upstairs.

Address Hotel Dubai Mall, daily 7pm to 3am. Tel: (052) 6801855. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.

The highest open-air cocktail bar in the UAE is now open for business. 40 Kong is wowing Dubai drinkers at its position 40 floors up on the rooftop of the H Hotel, which is reached via a private glass elevator.

The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 5pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 2972097. Metro: World Trade Centre.

Steve Aoki
When it comes to pushing out the boat, Steve Aoki does it like no other DJ. The showboat, that is. This weekend you can jump on board as the electro-house DJ and Dim Mak Records boss brings his party antics to Dubai for the first time. To hear more about Steve and his showboat, check out our profile here.

Raffles Hotel, Sheikh Rashid Road, Dubai. Tel: (050) 2972097. Taxi: Raffles Hotel. Thursday February 6, 11.30pm to 3am. Dhs400.

Timo Maas
With a decade-long residency at one of Ibiza’s most notable clubs and a propensity to shape shift sounds in ever mutating sonic experiments, DJ and producer Timo Maas has a key role in defining the underground zeitgeist. To hear more from the superstar, check out our interview here.

Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm. Friday February 7, 2pm to 3am. Ladies free and blokes Dhs100 before 7pm. After 7pm, it’s Dhs150 for all.

Steve Lawler
Chief VIVa Warrior Steve Lawler is heading out to Dubai. Amidst hectic preparations to showcase his record label and fellow Warriors out in Miami at the Winter Music Conference next month, Steve is flying solo for a gig on Friday February 7 at Blue Marlin UAE. To hear more from Steve, check out his top five tracks right here.

Ghantoot Al Jazira Island Hotel, Dubai, Friday, 1pm to 11pm, guestlist only. Tel: (056) 1133400. Taxi: Ghantoot Al Jazira.

Bob Marley’s Birthday Bash
Reggae Beachfest is throwing a Bob Marley Birthday Bash this weekend to mark what would have been his 69th birthday. And they’ve called on Jamaican reggae legend Dawn Penn to mark the occasion. Penn, who began making music in the late ’60s, topped charts worldwide with the much sampled You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No). To hear Dawn reflecting on her career, check out our profile here.

XL Beach Club, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina. Tel: (052) 9934276. Taxi: Habtoor Grand. Metro: Dubai Marina. Saturday February 8 2pm-3am. Dhs100 in advance, Dhs125 on the door, ladies free before 6pm

Fuse ODG 
British-Ghanaian rapper Fuse ODG rocks into town on a mission to spread Afrobeat flavas. Scoring two Top 10 hits in the UK – Antenna and Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) – Fuse made history by being the first UK act to be nominated for a Ghana Music Award. Tio hear more from him, check out our profile here.

Sensation, Crown Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (050) 6750816. Taxi: Crown Plaza. Friday, 11pm to 3am. Dhs195.

Urban Art Festival
Hot on the heels of the fantastic Street Night Art outdoor ‘gallery’ in Al Quoz comes another art event well worth checking out – the Street Con Urban Art Fest. A collection of installations, displays and graffiti, it brings together 15 artists to showcase their work down at the Al Ghurair Centre, in Deira, every afternoon and evening from February 5 to 15. The programme of art events is varied throughout the festival. Illustrator and painter Victoria Viray-Ganzon decorates The Wall over a four-day stretch from 2pm to 10pm starting February 5. Her pop-surrealist mural will become a permanent feature in the centre of Deira.

Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga Road, Deira, February 5 to 15, daily 2pm to 10pm, free. Metro: Union Station.

Pappa, Gulf Photo Plus
In this intensely personal body of work commercial photographer and photojournalist Katarina Premfors turns her lens on her father in the wake of the debilitating stroke he suffered in 2011. It follows his rehabilitation and ultimately fatal cancer diagnosis shortly afterwards in a manner that strikes a fine balance between professional distance in its clear-eyed reportage and the deeply emotional charge such an intimate subject naturally brings. A fine and moving tribute to the mortality we all, sooner or later, have to face.

Golf Photo Plus, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3808545. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue.

Bed Of Broken Mirrors, Al Serkal
Orientalism – that traditional Western take on the ‘exotic’ Middle East – gets a makeover when it comes under the brush of US artist Asad Faulwell. Ornate and elaborate his compositions might be, but these are no mere decorative arts – the women depicted here are drawn directly from historical records of the French occupation of Algeria in the middle of the 20th century, where women fought alongside men in a violent bid for independence. It’s a powerful juxtaposition.

Lawrie Shabibi, Unit 21, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3469906. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue.

Ilya And Emilia Kabakov: A Collective Memory, Sharjah
Last chance to catch this series of large-scale works by Soviet-born US artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Their deceptively simple graphic style may nod to the popular 20th century artistic stylings of their Russian heritage, but the message – that war isn’t just destructive, but futile – has a resonance that’s just as pertinent in this region today.

Sharjah Art Foundation, SAF Art Spaces, Sharjah, free. Tel: (06) 5685050. Taxi: Sharjah Art Foundation.

Short and Sweet
Over three weeks, 200 Dubai-based actors, writers and directors are joining forces to present more than 50 ten-minute plays. Expect everything from comedy, drama, romance and thrillers – all in ten minutes. A celebration of local theatrical talent, Short + Sweet returns after the success of last year’s debut. Most plays will be performed in English, with some in Arabic and Hindi. Think of it as a theatre festival for channel surfers.

Kilachand Studio Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, February 5 to 8 8pm (Sat 3pm and 8pm), Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

Double, double, toil and trouble/Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” When Scottish warrior Macbeth hears a prophecy he will one day be king, he tries to speed things along a bit. But will his fierce ambition be his downfall? Theatre company Shakespeare 4 Kidz brings a musical version of the Bard’s play to Ductac, adding some laughs and enough modern English so no-one gets lost. The best original lines are in there, as well as all the sword fights, witches and murder to keep young and old entertained.

Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, Thursday February 6 6pm, Dhs150 (school discounts available). Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

Art for kids
Happiness is a child with a paintbrush, a sheet of paper and a pot of paint. The people at The Archive are on to this, and host weekly art classes for children. Every week is an opportunity to discover a new medium, from watercolours and collage to sculpture when two dimensions just don’t express what needs to be expressed.

Gate 5, Safa Park, Dubai, Thursday February 6 10am to 11.30am (up to five years), 4pm to 5.30pm (six and over years), Dhs100. Tel: (05) 28208671. Taxi: Safa Park.

World’s slowest clown
The Burj Khalifa proved, good things come to those who wait. No one believes this more than Swiss clown Thomas Leuenberger, who brings his unique style of slow clowning to Dubai this month. Formerly one half of the world’s slowest juggling duo, Leuenberger returns with his solo show, Baldrian, bringing flying balloons and all manner of curious spectacles.

The show also includes a performance by musical artist Martin O, a fellow Swiss who seems to have swallowed an entire choir, along with an orchestra. If you thought beat-boxing was impressive, wait till you hear this guy. A weird and wonderful night from the land that brought us the cuckoo clock.

Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, Friday February 7 8pm, Dhs125. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

Sarah Brightman
She may have made her name on the West End stage singing in musicals such as Cats and Phantom Of The Opera, but classical singer Sarah Brightman isn’t afraid to dip into the pop archives for her Dreamchaser world tour, which arrives in Dubai. Fans can expect opera classics such as Nessun Dorma but also mainstream hits such as Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair, Glosoli by Sigur Ros and Elbow’s One Day Like This. She’ll also break out Time To Say Goodbye, her duet with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. 

Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, February 6 and 7 9pm, Dhs350. Tel: (050) 7686418. Metro: World Trade Centre. 

Belt up
Competitive types will like the new My Zone motivation system being rolled out across Fitness First branches in Dubai. A bit like an iCloud for your exercise regime, the My Zone belt monitors your heart rate to track your effort levels, and clocks the number of calories you’ve burned and the duration of your workout. When you’re done, you’ll get an e-mail telling you how you did. Log into your user account to compare the benefits of different workouts, set personal goals, or challenge your friends to calorie-burning contests.

Fitness First Oasis Centre, Dubai Media City, Motor City, DIFC, Festival City, BurJuman Centre, Mirdif City Centre, Deira City Centre and Knowledge Village, Dhs399.

Learn to swim
If learning to swim has lingered on your to-do list all the way into adulthood, now could be the time to finally tick that box. Fitness First has launched a new Swim Academy in Dubai, offering lessons for beginners – both adults and children. The instructors are qualified members of the Swimming Teachers’ Association and well-equipped to reassure even the most nervous pupil. The classes will run at Fitness First clubs in Mirdif City Centre, Uptown Mirdif, BurJuman Centre, the Meadows and Al Manzil throughout the year, plus Dubai Media City during the summer. Ladies only lessons will be on offer at Mirdif City Centre club, and one to one sessions with an instructor are available.

To enrol, log on to the Fitness First website to register your details.

Fitness First Swim Academy, various locations, Dhs50 for a 30-minute session. Tel: (800) 3486377.

What gym class tones every muscle in your body while teaching a mixture of acrobatics, gymnastics and dance? Zumba? Boxfit, perhaps? No, it’s pole dancing. Or, to give it its proper name: pole fitness. The instructor at Pole Fit Dubai, at the Capella Club in Dubai Marina, is Vlada; if pole dancing makes us look half as good as her, we’re willing to give it a go.

Capella Club, Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9.30am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 4526000. Metro: Jumeirah Lake Towers.

Power walking
Sign up for Total Elliptic’s new weight management programme for a total body workout. Pound your legs and arms simultaneously by using the elliptic machines at this Tecom gym. The programme incorporates fitness assessments and body composition analysis devised by medical professionals. Group elliptic classes using indoor walking machines focus on stamina, strength, aerobic fitness, lower and upper body tone. A weight-loss support group will encourage members to motivate one another and exchange exercise and nutrition tips.

Floor 8, Yassat Gloria Hotel, Tecom, Dubai, Thursday February 6 5pm to 9pm, Dhs500. Tel: (04) 3818931. Metro: Dubai Internet City.

Alpha Beta Peel
When it comes to beauty treatments, the words ‘facial’ and ‘peel’ might fill you with trepidation. But the Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel, new at The Nail Spa, promises a gentle treatment that reduces pore size and improves skin tone in 30 minutes. Unlike most facials, clients sit in a chair rather than lie down. While donning a toweling headband and having your make-up removed amid the bustle of a nail salon isn’t the most relaxing spa experience, this peel is all about convenience and quick results. After cleansing, alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliated and refined the skin and caused a mild tingling. Then a radiance-boosting mask with a head massage while it got to work. 

The Nail Spa, Tunisia Court, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai, daily 9am to 9pm, Dhs270. Tel: (04) 3685070. Metro: Ibn Battuta. 

The newly opened L’Atelier Aquafitness boutique has ten aquabikes immersed in an indoor pool. Right now, only women are permitted to use the facility, with men’s sessions soon to be launched. 

Al Wasl Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 9pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 8pm, Dhs155. Tel: (04) 3388323. Taxi: Near Spinneys on Umm Al Sheif Road.