Old Dubai vs New Dubai
New to Dubai? Here’s your guide to the city’s legendary stomping grounds. Been here forever? Well try something new at the city’s hippest new hangouts…
Whether you’re new to the UAE and ready to see Dubai’s classic hangouts, or a long-time resident eager to keep up with the Joneses, get out of your comfort zone and explore a new side of the city.
Are you more team Al Reef or team Zaroob? Either way you’ll learn something new with our line up of the legends versus the latest hangouts. There’s something for everyone…
THE LADIES’ NIGHT
THE LEGEND: Trader Vic’s
Nothing says fun night out quite like sipping from a coconut, which is why Trader Vic’s and its Polynesian tiki-themed ladies’ nights have stood the test of time. Women enjoy 50 per cent off the fruity mixed drinks every Monday and Tuesday between 8pm and 1.30am.
Crowne Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Mon and Tue 8pm to 1.30am. Tel: (04) 3311111. Metro: Emirates Towers. tradervics.com
THE LATEST: Nola
The secret’s out about Nola – a New Orleans-inspired bar hidden in JLT. The decor oozes cool, the dimly lit patio is a great alfresco spot and the food and drink are top-notch. Throw in four free drinks and 50 per cent off food for the ladies on Tuesdays and that’s all the enticing you’ll need.
Armada BlueBay Hotel, JLT, Dubai, Tue noon until 6pm (free coffee), 6pm to midnight (ladies’ night). Tel: (04) 3998155. Metro: Damac. facebook.com/noladubai
THE LATE NIGHT SNACK
THE LEGEND: Al Reef Bakery
Prepare to leave this classic hangout with handfuls of freshly baked manakeesh that’s literally dripping in cheese. It is the quintessential midnight munchies hotspot and has been serving crowds for decades.
Near Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 24-hours. Tel: (04) 3945200. Taxi: Opposite Wasl Square.
THE LATEST: Zaroob
We’ve never seen the place less than lively, thanks to its quirky tasty eats and cool crowd. Eat your weight in shawarma then wash it down with one of their enormous juices.
Jumeirah Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Bur Dubai, Dubai, daily 24-hours. Tel: (04) 3276060. Metro: Emirates Towers. zaroob.net
THE OUTDOOR CINEMA
THE LEGEND: Movies under the stars
Sink into a beanbag with a box of popcorn, and watch a movie at Wafi – the original outdoor cinema.
Rooftop Gardens, Wafi, Dubai, Sun 8.30pm, free. Tel: (04) 3244100. Metro: Healthcare City. pyramidsrestaurantsatwafi.com
THE LATEST: Vox Galleria rooftop
Vox has pulled out all the stops for its first alfresco venue located on the rooftop of Galleria Mall. The cinema screens one of the region’s latest releases every evening at 8pm and 10.30pm.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 8pm and 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 3444434. Taxi: Galleria Mall. facebook.com/thegalleria.ae
THE LEGEND: Double Decker
Occasionally raucous, but always good-natured, brunch at this London-style boozer is a classic Dubai brunch that – much like a well-loved teddy bear – is a little frayed around the edges.
Murooj Rotana, World Trade Centre, Dubai, noon until 5pm, Dhs220 with house drinks. Tel: (04) 3211111. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. rotana.com
THE LATEST: Lock Stock & Barrel
Dubai’s hottest new Tecom haunt serves round after round of bar snacks, flatbreads and mussels by the bucket at its boisterous party brunch, complete with happy hour straight after.
Grand Millennium Hotel, Tecom, Dubai, Fri 2pm to 5pm, Dhs199 with soft drinks, Dhs239 with house drinks. Tel: (04) 5149195. Metro: Dubai Internet City. facebook.com/LockStockDubai
THE CHINESE RESTAURANT
THE LEGEND: Xiao Fei Yang
Hot pot is so popular in mainland China that you’ll find a branch of Xiao Fei Yang on the corner of most crossroads. It’s the epitome of communal dining – you order a selection of uncooked items, from cabbage and mushrooms to fish and chicken balls, then place them in a spicy cauldron. The flavours are eclectic, the produce is fresh, and the atmosphere is lively.
Building B03, China District, International City, Dubai, daily 5pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 4327211. Taxi: Dragon Mart.
THE LATEST: Din Tai Fung
In Hong Kong, the waiting time to get into Din Tai Fung is about an hour. Thankfully, in the Mall Of The Emirates outpost, you can wander around the shops with a buzzer before you get your dumpling fill. Master your chopsticks skills and tuck into the famous xiao long bao soup dumplings. It’ll be the best snack you never knew you needed.
Mall Of The Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai, daily 11am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 2651288. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. malloftheemirates.com
THE SUNSET SPOT
THE LEGEND: QD’s
Nothing says old-school Dubai quite like Dubai Creek, and QD’s still provides some of the best sunset views. Order a tasty wood-fired pizza and watch the city light up across the water.
Dubai Creek Golf And Yacht Club, Dubai, Sun to Wed 5pm to 2am, Thur to Sat 5pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 2956000. Metro: Deira City Centre. dubaigolf.com
THE LATEST: The Terrace
Built as a showroom for the upcoming Creek Harbour development, The Terrace has a pretty patch of grass with beanbags, hammocks and the Vida food truck in prime position. Get there around 5pm and watch the sun set across Downtown.
Dubai Creek Harbour, Ras Al Khor, Dubai, Fri and Sat 8am to 10pm. Taxi: Dubai Creek Harbour.
THE LEGEND: Barasti Beach
Just like having your blood taken for your residency paperwork, a trip to Barasti is a necessary rite of passage for all residents of Dubai. The loveable beach bar has gone through a series of makeovers but its party vibe remains stronger than ever.
Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai, Sun to Thur 11am to 1.30am, Fri and Sat 10am to 2.30am Tel: (04) 3181313. Taxi: Barasti. barastibeach.com
THE LATEST: Zero Gravity
Maybe it’s the Miami-style décor or the stellar views of the Dubai Marina and the ocean, but Zero Gravity has become one of the city’s favourite beach bars. The epic new infinity pool is reason alone to come and check it out. Expect a rowdy crowd post-brunch.
Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai, Al Sufouh, Dubai, 6pm to 3am, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3990009. Taxi: Skydive Dubai. 0-gravity.ae.
THE SPORTS BAR
THE LEGEND: Boston Bar
An old favourite in the heart of Satwa, this laid-back watering hole is loosely based on the bar from TV’s Cheers. We can’t guarantee everyone will know your name, but we can promise hearty pub grub and sports on the telly.
Jumeirah Rotana, Al Diyafa Street, Satwa, Dubai, daily noon until 3am. Tel: (04) 3455888. Taxi: Jumeirah Rotana Satwa. rotana.com
THE LATEST: Brunswick Sports Club
Reward yourself after a shopping trip with a visit to this dark and trendy Aussie bar that’s all about sports, burgers and draft beers – it even has its own packed ‘stubby locker’.
Sheraton Dubai Mall Of The Emirates Hotel, Dubai, daily noon until 2am. Tel: (04) 3529535. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. facebook.com/brunswicksc
THE LEGEND: Shakespeare And Co
Grandma’s living room meets Parisian bistro in a head-on collision of teacups, doilies and buttery scrambled eggs – but boy does it work.
Village Mall, Beach Road, Dubai, daily 7am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3446228. Taxi: Village Mall. shakespeare-and-co.com. ALSO: Palm Jumeirah, Souk Al Bahar, Safa Centre, Dubai Marina Mall, Arabian Ranches, Ibn Battuta Mall
THE LATEST: Skye And Walker
Don’t be surprised if you end up ordering more breakfast dishes than you bargained for. Everything on the menu is delightful. The ABB&J, for example, is banana, almond butter and jam all wrapped in protein bread and served with a shot of Nutella.
Marriot Executive Apartments Dubai, daily 6.30am to 12am. Tel: (04) 2131221. Metro: Al Rigga. skyeandwalker.com
THE PARTY MINI BREAK
THE LEGEND: Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort, Snoopy Island
Dubai veterans wax lyrical about Snoopy Island, and for good reason. Swimming around this infamous island – which gets its name from its resemblance to the cartoon dog Snoopy – is a lot of fun, as is the wonderfully retro Sandy Beach Hotel just next to it.
Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort, Fujairah. Tel: (09) 2445555. Taxi: Sandy Beach Hotel, Fujairah. Sandybeachhotel.ae
THE LATEST: Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Relaxing is low priority for revellers at this seaside hotel. The all-inclusive packages cater to the UAE’s party scene so expect a loud and boisterous weekend.
Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Ras Al Khaimah, Marjan Island. Tel: (07) 2020000. Taxi: Rixos Bab Al Bahr. babalbahr.rixos.com
THE MINI BREAK
THE LEGEND: Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort
Perched at the northern tip of Fujairah, Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort was – and still is – a favourite for a UAE mini-break. The fresh seafood shack on the beach will make you feel like you’re chilling off the coast of Sri Lanka, rather than Snoopy Island.
Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah. Tel: (09) 2449000. Taxi: Le Méridien Al Aqah. lemeridien-alaqah.com
THE LATEST: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
Grand, palatial and over-the-top. When it comes to hyperboles, the Waldorf Astoria is next level. The beach is stunning, the rooms are huge and Lexington, the award-winning steakhouse, is reason alone to visit.
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Tel: (07) 2035555. Taxi: Waldorf Astoria RAK. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
THE QUIZ NIGHT
THE LEGEND: Fibber Magee’s Easy Tiger Quiz
Always a good shout for a fun night out, Fibber Magee’s combines its quiz night with its ladies’ night every Tuesday, so girls get four selected drinks on the house while working their way through the popular Easy Tiger quiz.
Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Tue 8pm, free. Tel: (04) 3322400. Metro: World Trade Centre. fibbersdubai.com
THE LATEST: The Dubai Quiz
Test your general knowledge skills against Dubai 92’s Catboy (and his wife Lorra) at The Dubai Quiz, held at Industrial Avenue every Monday. The quiz is free, and you can buy vouchers for drinks and a buffet dinner. The arts and craft round gets particularly competitive.
The Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina, Mon 7pm to 10pm, Dhs125 buffet and soft drinks, Dhs195 buffet and three house drinks. Tel: (04) 511 7333. facebook.com/TheDubaiQuiz
THE BEACH CLUB
THE LEGEND: Dubai Marine Beach Resort
Dubai Marine is a relaxing, family-friendly beach village where expats sunbath under pretty parasols with a good book.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily 8am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3461111. Taxi: Beside Jumeirah Grand Mosque. dxbmarine.com
THE LATEST: Nikki Beach
Don’t bring a book to Nikki Beach – the only thing you’ll be reading is the bar menu. A selection of white day beds surround a pool filled with beautiful people, while a DJ blasts music.
Pearl Jumeira, Dubai, daily 11am to midnight, Dhs150 (weekdays), Dhs300 (weekends), Dhs1,500 to Dhs3,500 (day beds). Tel: (04) 3766162. Taxi: Nikki Beach. nikkibeach.com
THE LIVE MUSIC SPOT
THE LEGEND: The Music Room
It’s been more than a decade but this small but mighty Bur Dubai bar is still the go-to nook for quality local musicians, touring bands, and some surprisingly good tribute acts.
Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, Dubai, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 3598888. Taxi: Majestic Hotel. facebook.com/musicroomdubai
THE LATEST: The Pub at Stereo Arcade
Rock out on your air-guitar to the 80s and 90s tunes at this JBR gem and hear some of Dubai’s best bands, including Jet Lag and Sound City, take on nostalgic covers on the weekends.
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel, JBR, Dubai, daily 8pm to 3am. Tel: (05) 26182424. Taxi: DoubleTree by Hilton JBR. facebook.com/StereoArcade