7 new bars to try in Dubai
Fancy a change of scene? Well then raise your glass to these new watering holes in Dubai.
First impressions: Walk beneath the wooden archways to the door that leads outside. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into a secret wonderland with an enormous leafy roof, gold armchairs and purple flooring.
Vibe: Glamorous. Dubai’s well-heeled come here to enjoy the soulful house tunes, while sipping on an equally glamorous cocktail.
Look out for: The ornate décor is the focal point here. Every nook and cranny has been well thought out, from the lawn-covered air conditioning units, to the shimmering chandeliers. It’s Dubai meets Alice In Wonderland.
Ideal for: A girls’ night out – there are big tables in the back to relax around and plenty of space to dance by the bar.
Insider info: VII is located on the seventh floor of the Conrad hotel, hence the name, which is written in roman numerals. Say “Hey, let’s go to seven,” not “Meet you in vee.”
Happy Hour: No happy hour but ladies get two free drinks on Tuesday nights from 8pm as part of the EnVii ladies’ night.
Price of a pint: Dhs46.
Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 8pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 1696777. Metro: World Trade Centre.
First impressions: Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the marina make this bar feel as bright and fresh as the juniper-scented beverage for which it’s famous.
Vibe: Smart yet funky, this is the perfect place to kick back and de-stress after work with some tapas and tipples.
Look out for: There are 24 types of gin (with more on the way), eight types of tonic, and fruit-infused ice cubes. The bartenders know their stuff when it comes to making the perfect combination of all three.
Ideal for: A pre-dinner aperitif as you watch the sunset over the marina, before being ushered into the restaurant Accents next door for dinner.
Insider Info: It’s one of the only bars in Dubai to serve slimline tonic, which is handy if you’re counting calories.
Happy hour: A daily special of three select gins for Dhs99.
Price of a pint: Dhs40.
InterContinental Dubai Marina, Bay Central, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 4466777. Metro: JLT.
First impressions: This swanky bar has echoes of a gentlemen’s club with lots of mahogany and leather chairs.
Vibe: Elegant yet relaxed, you’ll feel like you’ve wandered on to the set of Mad Men. On Friday nights there’s live jazz.
Look out for: The gin trolley with specially designed glass bottles containing different flavours of gin such as cucumber, rose and black pepper.
Ideal for: A post-dinner nightcap. It would make a great date venue too.
Insider Info: Check out Cigar Social Tuesdays, when you can sample spirits paired with a selection of customised aroma-infused cigars.
Happy hour? Check out Wind Down Wednesdays, for two-for-one deals on selected wines.
Price of a pint: Dhs55.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 4pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 2707777. Taxi: Four Seasons Hotel.
The Pub at Stereo Arcade
First impressions: From the copper bar and exposed brickwork to the reclaimed pallets used as shelves, everything about Stereo Arcade oozes cool.
Vibe: Lively, relaxed and unpretentious, it’s the type of place where you can turn up in trainers and still feel at ease.
Look out for: The arcade, of course. When you’re not busy socialising, or tucking into tasty bar food such as pizza spring rolls and duck sliders, relive your childhood with games like Mortal Combat and Street Fighter.
Ideal for: A big night out, especially on Thursday and Friday nights when the Stereo Arcade club comes alive with hits from the 1980s and ’90s.
Insider info: Dubai rockers The Boxtones take to the stage every Wednesday night, playing nostalgic rock covers.
Happy hour: Daily 8pm to 9pm.
Price of a pint: Dhs40.
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel, JBR, Dubai, daily 8pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 5586062. Taxi: Hilton JBR.
First impressions: Hidden away on The Palm, heavy wooden doors open up to reveal a smart sports bar and restaurant.
Vibe: An upmarket ‘local’, somewhere you’re as happy ordering a burger and a pint as you are a cocktail and plate of wild mushroom arancini.
Look out for: The Sunday roast. Homesick Brits will be happy to hear Barrel 12 serves a traditional roast every weekend.
Ideal for: A catch up with friends after work, grazing on bar snacks or, if you’re peckish, tucking into fish and chips or burger and fries.
Insider info: It shows sport at the weekend and, whatever the time, every match coincides with a deal – from a burger and a pint for Dhs99 or full breakfast and a drink for Dhs89.
Happy hour: 4pm to 7pm.
Price of a pint: Dhs36.
Palm Views East, Palm Jumeirah, Sun to Thur noon to midnight, Fri to Sat 8am to 11am and midday to midnight. Tel: (04) 5524000. Taxi: Palm Marina East, behind Marina Residence 4.
Nippon Bottle Company
First impressions: This hidden bar is found behind not one, but two secret entrances. First, walk through a bookcase (yes, really), then a corridor of mirrors.
Vibe: It’s a small but lively bar with posters of Tokyo on the walls. The dim Edison bulbs create a back alley feel.
Look out for: The primary ingredient behind the bar is Japanese whisky, while the drinks list is a who, what, where and when of Samurai culture; the Hattori Hanzo, the Blushing Geisha and Hello Kitty drinks are particularly popular.
Ideal for: Fans of speakeasies.
Insider info: Nippon’s other entrance is a side door at street level, the lock of which requires a code given to members only.
Happy hour: Daily from 6pm to 7.30pm. Ladies who arrive in pairs on Monday nights receive a bottle of free prosecco.
Price of a pint: Dhs45 (Heineken bottle only) or Dhs50 (Asahi draft).
Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Downtown Dubai, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 3570779. Metro: Financial Centre.
First impressions: With whitewash tables, floor tiles and orange trees, this bar and restaurant has Mediterranean feel.
Vibe: It’s stylish and chilled without being pretentious. A picturesque spot where you can share a sunset, sangria and small dishes – the grilled halloumi with mint and strawberries is delicious.
Look out for: The Friday brunch is a laid back affair from 5-8pm. It’s Dhs202 for six sharing dishes and three drinks.
Ideal for: Impressing visitors with sundowners gazing at the marina views.
Insider info: Ask for a window-side table. Not only are the views great, but the small partitions give you a little more privacy.
Happy hour? 5pm to 8pm
Price of a pint: Dhs36
Palm Views West, The Palm, Dubai, Mon to Sun noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 3759333. Taxi: Palm Views West, before Marina Residence 1.
Plus: 4 revamped bars
Bahri Bar has a new look and new deals, such as unlimited bar bites and selected drinks for Dhs295 on Thursdays from 7pm to 10pm.
Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Mon 4pm to 2am, Tue to Fri 4pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 3666730. Taxi: Mina A’ Salam.
This Palm bar has been relaunched as a sports-friendly gastropub. The private karaoke room is still for hire.
Rixos The Palm, Dubai, daily 5pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 4575555. Taxi: The Palm, east crescent.
Now a smoke-free pub, Nezesaussi Grill have upped their game in the kitchen with excellent pub grub.
Manzil Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai, Sun to Wed 5pm to 2am, Thur and Sat noon to 2am, Fri 9am to 2am. Tel: (04) 4285888. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
A 2,000 square metre expansion plan is underway with a refurbished interior and infinity pool set to open this year.
Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai, Al Sufouh, Dubai, Sun to Thur 10am to 2am, Fri and Sat 10am to 3am. Tel: (04) 3990009. Taxi: Skydive Dubai.