Cafe culture in Dubai
What’s On has details of Dubai’s independent cafe scene in Dubai including Make Business Hub, Urban Bistro and Cafe Rider. Check out where to find cafes with wifi in Dubai and what coffee is on offer.
Not so long ago, stumbling across a quirky café in Dubai would have been almost as unlikely as snowfall. Today, it’s a different story. The independent café scene has exploded in Dubai recently, with exciting venues popping up all over town. This emerging café culture raises some important questions. Who serves your favourite coffee? Which ones have Wi-Fi? And where would Ross, Rachel and Co hang out if they lived in Dubai?
Make Business Hub
A freelancer’s dream, Make Business Hub has communal workspaces, numerous charging stations to plug in your laptop, and expansive windows with views of Dubai Marina – perfect for gazing into the distance while plotting your next career move. It also has private pods for meetings and offers packages like the Start-Up, which gives you five hours of Wi-Fi, two hot drinks and any meal for Dhs99.
Lingering potential: Excellent. The whole idea is to treat Make as your own office.
Best for: Freelancers and creatives.
Al Fattan Office Tower, Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, Sat to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 10am to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3929216. Metro: Dubai Marina. makebusinesshub.com
Usually abuzz with media types, Urban Bistro does a nice line in breakfasts, with a selection of healthy options alongside the challah French toast and huevos rancheros. The emphasis is on fresh produce and the café also does salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and burgers for lunch or dinner. It’s largely table seating, but there are a few squishy leather sofas you can set up camp in. If you’re killing time, the shelves are lined with books and magazines.
Coffee: Boon Coffee.
Lingering potential: Varies. At lunchtime during the week the turnaround is fast, but in the morning and at weekends you’ll see customers there for the long haul with their laptops.
Best for: A working lunch.
CNN Building, Dubai Media City, Dubai, Sun to Thur 7am to 6pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 5pm. Tel: (04) 3624330. Metro: Nakheel. urbanbistro.ae
And now for something completely different. At Café Rider, you can sip your macchiato while admiring the custom-made motorcycles displayed like works of art in the vast warehouse. It’s also home to a workshop where the team assembles custom Bobbers, Café Racers and Choppers – all of which are unique, and for sale. The draw for biking enthusiasts is clear, but Café Rider has plenty to offer the average Volvo driver too, namely excellent coffee, served up by the in-house barista. If daydreaming about hitting the open road on your hog makes you peckish, the café has a small selection of crepes and sandwiches.
Coffee: Raw Coffee Company, Coffee Planet, Caravan (UK), and Sight Glass (US) to name a few.
Lingering potential: Ample. The bikes on display beg to be looked at.
Best for: Coffee with something quirky to talk about.
Umm Suqeim Road, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3214411. Metro: First Gulf Bank. café-rider.com
Nestled in the heart of old Dubai, this new café aims to offer its visitors food for thought as well as for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Billed as a contemporary cultural space, Creekside offers exhibitions, bookbinding workshops, film screenings and more, as well as coffee and a menu of Emirati-inspired dishes. It opened in June, but Creekside has already hosted pottery classes and fashion and costume design workshops, so it looks set to become a hub of activity in the most historic part of the city.
Coffee: Raw Coffee Company.
Lingering potential: Lots. You could easily while away an afternoon exploring everything this venue has to offer.
Best for: Learning something new about your city.
Next to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai Creek, Dubai, daily 8am to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3599220. Taxi: Grand Mosque. creeksidedubai.me
The Hamptons Café
This three-storey villa on Jumeirah Beach Road takes inspiration from the Hamptons – the summer playground of off-duty A-listers and their mega-rich neighbours outside New York. Its hardwood floors and cream furniture conjure up a breezy, beachside vibe, and the Montauk eggs – like Benedict without the carbs – would no doubt appeal to America’s image conscious elite. While this café doesn’t quite live up to its namesake in the style stakes, the menu is extensive, the staff super friendly, and the little touches – like the dainty macaroon served alongside your coffee on a woven tray – make it feel like a treat.
Coffee: Bon Café.
Lingering potential: Minimal. The café is busy, and the restaurant-style seating means you’re likely to move on once you’ve eaten.
Best for: A girls’ catch-up over breakfast.
Villa 12, Umm Suqeim 1, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3315118. Taxi: The Hamptons Café. facebook.com/thehamptonscafe
VIDEO: How to taste coffee
VIDEO: How coffee is roasted