Cafe culture - some of the best coffee shops in Abu Dhabi
What’s On reviews some of the best coffee shops in Abu Dhabi, featuring healthy, organic and educational spaces and live music venues.
There’s more to cafes in Abu Dhabi than a quick bite and a cup of Joe. Find out where to go for live music, art exhibitions, yoga classes and more.
The Third Place
Best for: a good stretch
This villa-turned café in Khalidiyah offers more than just eating. Pitching itself as a community space, its upstairs rooms can cater for special events and is where the café currently holds Flow Yoga classes on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8.30am. Evening yoga classes are expected to start soon.
The Third Place, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6811877. Taxi: Corniche Street, Villa T3, near Al Hilal Bank and across from the Chevrolet showroom. facebook.com/TheThirdPlaceuae
Best for: secret dining
Opened by Emirati entrepreneurs Buthaina al Mazrui and Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, the No.FiftySeven Boutique Café launched in December 2014 in Al Bateen. In the two years it took to plan the space, the girls drummed up interest for their restaurant by creating secret, invite-only pop-up dinners throughout the UAE. But while you don’t need an exclusive invitation to visit the café, there still are some mysteries worth exploring – like its secret dining room hidden behind a sliding door.
Al Marasy Apartments, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 4416100. Taxi: Al Marasy Apartments, Al Bateen Marina. no57.co
The Art House Café
Best for: going green
A small space within the Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Al Bateen. Colourful and quirky, the materials inside – from the décor, to the furniture and even the structure itself – are made from reused and recycled goods. Organic fruits and vegetables, picked from the owner’s farm, make an appearance on the menu and there are glass bottles refashioned into plant holders, repurposed suitcases for shelving and colourful, recycled canvases used for floor pillows. While you are there check out some of the artworks from the gallery also on display.
Etihad Modern Art Gallery, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thurs 10.30am to 11.30pm, Fri 3pm to midnight. Tel: (02)6210145. Taxi: Al Bateen Mall. etihadmodernart.com
Best for: cakes
A self-proclaimed cross between a high-end restaurant and a café, Lilies in Al Raha serves a variety of French and international dishes but is best know for its cakes. Flavours include the best seller vanilla Nutella Oreo, Moist dark chocolate, pistachio Nutella and red velvet cheesecake. They also do cake pops (a small cake on a stick), mini cakes and cupcakes and deliver custom cakes to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Al Muneera, Al Raha, Abu Dhabi, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 5577911. Taxi: Al Muneera. facebook.com/lilies-restaurant-and-café
Best for: art lovers
The What’s On Award-wining Café Arabia in Al Mushrif is best known for its artworks and revolving exhibitions. The converted villa is decorated a bit like a living room but the most interesting thing in the cafe is its dedication to hosting art exhibitions. Past participants/artists showcased in the space have included Aussie artist Jen Simon, who is famous for her colourful cityscapes of Abu Dhabi, American artist Emily Gordon, who uses resin and paraffin in her works, and by local photography collection Wednesday Group Photographers (pictured here).
Mohammed Bin Khalifa Street, Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 6.30am to 11pm, Fri to Sat 9am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6439699. Taxi: Opposite Choueifat School. facebook.com/CafeArabia
Best for: music fans
Located in the bustling streets of Khalidiyah, the aptly-named Urban Bites is providing local musicians with a free space to play. Pairing up with White Cube, a local music hub and recording space, the café hosts Metronome nights every third Saturday of the month from 6pm to 10pm. This allows musicians, DJs and singers to perform and gain experience in front of an audience.
Shining Tower, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thur 8am to 11pm. Tel: (800) 87226. Taxi: Shining Tower, near Khalidiyah Mall. urbanbites.me
Best for: learning a skill
Everybody can sit together at The Space, by Khalifa Park in the twofour54 building. Featuring one long, giant table (there are small couches on the side if you prefer to be antisocial) the venue feels more like a college library than a café. But that’s a good thing. The large workspace allows for plenty of crafty workshops. Past activities have included meditation lessons, Japanese flower arranging, acting classes, oil painting and silk screening.
The Space, twofour54, Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm. Taxi: twofour54, by Park Rotana. facebook.com/thespaceAD
Best for: healthy foodies
This independent Afghan-American café focuses on healthy cuisine. In addition to fare like mini sandwiches and kale salads, you can sample more unique flavours such as sweet potato pakawras, and build your own smoothies (think protein powders). Nolu’s has recently opened a second venue at The Galleria.
Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm, Fri to Sat 9am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 5579500. Taxi: Al Bandar. noluscafe.com
The Living Room Café
Best for: kids
In addition to a custom designed interactive Dr. Seuss play area, this café also hosts movie nights that include a special childrens’ meal and popcorn and are typically hosted on Thursday evenings. Previous screenings have included Frozen and Home Alone.
Khalidiyah Village, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 7.30am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6396654. Taxi: Khalidiyah Compound, near Khalidiyah Mall. thelivingroomcafeabudhabi.com