A guide to Dubai's best outdoor terraces
From the best sundowner bars to stunning al fresco brunch settings and the best beachfront dining options…
The city’s best sundowner spots are back in business. Whether you’re drinking or dining, it’s time to get back outside at these top terraces…
This Business Bay lounge briefly opened its doors for a short season before closing for summer earlier this year, and now it’s back with the retractable roof firmly off. The Lebanese export which overlooks the Dubai Canal in the JW Marriott Marquis hosts a weekly Tuesday live music session, Friday night concept inspired by the Orient and dedicates Thursday’s to promoting talented local DJs who will rotate deck duty.
Seven Sisters, First Floor, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Business Bay, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (056) 775 4777. 7sistersdubai.com
This JBR nightspot brought a whole new meaning to selling out ladies’ night when it launched ‘Miss Independent’ last year. Their Wednesday ladies’ night packs out weeks in advance, and you’re advised to book a terrace table plenty ahead of time for their house-music influenced Friday brunch. Their al fresco terrace is now back open, serving a specially themed menu of Sakura cocktails to the backdrop of Ain Dubai and JBR.
DoubleTree by Hilton, The Walk – JBR, Dubai Marina, Sun to Weds 6pm to 2am, Thurs 1pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 12pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 559 5300. Ramusake.ae
Pierchic isn’t the easiest restaurant to get to – you’ll have to take a buggy through the weaving waterways of Jumeirah Al Qasr and an optional rickshaw up a pier to reach it – but for the views alone it’s worth the work. Jutting out from either side of the pier are two circular bars, perfect for an evening of drinks. If you’re heading to Pier Chic for seafood though (and we fully recommend you do) the terrace around the restaurant is open from mid-October – so you can dine literally sea-side.
Pierchic, Jumeiarh Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, daily 1pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 432 3232. jumeirah.com
Folly by Nick & Scott
It’s hard to pick which we prefer at Folly: The modern British tapas-style cuisine by award-winning chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price, or the oh-so-picture worthy Folly pop cocktails (a refreshing ice pop plunged into a glass of fizz). You can enjoy both at this Madinat Jumeirah spot, which boasts two outdoor bars split over three levels, all featuring views over the Madinat waterways and Burj Al Arab.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12pm to late. Tel: (04) 430 8535. Folly.ae
The Scene by Simon Rimmer
This Marina restaurant has become somewhat of an institution for British expats craving some home comforts. But don’t expect to be munching your way through a traditional roast with sub-standard views. From this month, their sweeping terrace will reopen, so you can tuck into beef and Yorkshire puddings with a side of twinkly Dubai Marina views.
4th Floor, Pier 7, Dubai Marina, daily 8am to 2am. Tel: (04) 422 2328. Thescenedubai.com
You might not have heard of Gusto, but you’ll want to add it to your must-visit list. The intimate Italian is perched on the 18th floor of the recently opened Al Bandar Rotana. As well as serving up some homely Italian fare, it’s got some some stunning vistas of the Downtown Skyline and right across Old Dubai.
Al Bandar Rotana, Dubai Creek, daily 5pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 704 2336. Rotana.com
As pretty as this bar is inside, it’s even better out on the terrace, where you’ll find a glam crowd mingling around the pool or lounging on leather cushions. The vibe is chilled in the week, with a more lively vibe with dancing and DJs until the early hours on the weekends.
Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Sat to Wed 6pm to 12am, Thur and Fri 6pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 317 6000. siddhartalounge.com
The Burj Khalifa serves as the impressive backdrop to this urban rooftop bar. It’s spent the summer undercover, but Treehouse will be back outdoors from this month. There’s a bi-weekly ladies’ night served up alongside acoustic sets on Sunday and Tuesday, and its home to one of Downtown’s most popular post-brunch parties on Fridays.
Taj Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai, Sat to Weds 7pm to 2am, Thus and Fri 7pm to 3am. Tel:(058) 827 2763. Taxi: Business Bay. tajhotels.com
La Cantine du Faubourg
Fancy French food is what’s on the menu at La Cantine, the red-hued restaurant and lounge found at Emirates Towers. Tables at this glossy spot are sought after, and even more so on their terrace – an intimate urban jungle of retro art, plants and low seating that could make you feel like you were in a hidden garden in Paris, if it weren’t for the shadows of the Emirates Towers skyscrapers above.
La Cantine du Faubourg, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sun to Weds, 12pm to 2am, Thurs and Fri 12pm to 3am, Sat 12pm to 6pm, 8pm to 2am. Tel: 04 352 7105. lacantine.ae
The jewel atop of the Four Seasons, Mercury Lounge is a glamorous Dubai rooftop bar with one-of-a-kind views: overlooking the Dubai skyline and the Burj Khalifa on one side, and the Arabian Gulf on the other. During the week it’s relatively relaxed, but it’s a different story at the weekend. The Thursday evening brunch of house drinks and Mediterranean dishes is a must try- it comes with a larger than life jazz band parading around the rooftop.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, Sat to Thur 6pm to 2am, Wed to Fri 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 2707777. fourseasons.com
Perched on the roof at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht club, this whitewashed terrace boasts some of the best views you can get across the creek. As well as serving up some more chilled out sundowner sets in the week, this sky bar takes the tempo up on weekends.
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai Creek, Sat to Weds 6pm to 2am, Thurs 6pm to 3am, Fri 12.30pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 416 1800. Cielodubai.com
The literal translation of Spanish ‘vista’ is view, and that’s exactly what you can expect at this Festival City bar. Vista has all the ingredients of a sleek European bar; white furnishings, neon lights and a tapas menu with influences from around the world. Plus, it looks out onto The Creek, with an impressive 180 degree view, making it a great sundowner spot. Stick around until after dark to catch the Festival City light and laser show.
Intercontinental Festival City, Dubai Festival City, daily 12pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 701 1111. Ihg.com
Best for brunch
Dim Sum Disco at Maiden Shanghai
Dubai party brand Candypants recently brought a more upscale version of their all-singing, all-dancing party brunch to a new location – Chinese restaurant Maiden Shanghai. Having soft launched over summer, they’ll be taking over three floors including a rooftop terrace at the restaurant this month for their weekly Friday brunch, as well as serving up a weekly ‘Drunch Disco’ after-brunch party on the top terrace, offering three drinks for Dhs100 until 6pm.
Dim Sum Disco by Candypants, Maiden Shanghai, FIVE Palm Jumeirah, 1pm to 4pm, Fridays, Dhs395. Tel: (050) 220 4638. Facebook.com/CandypantsEvents
It’s no secret that Ruya serves up the city’s best Anatolian cuisine. Executed by chef Colin Clague and his talented team, it’s no surprise that Ruya’s ‘Grand Bazaar’ brunch, which headed back to the terrace last month is a must-try. The four-hour package is three sets of sharing starters served to the table, an a la carte main, and dessert selection. It’s coupled with free flowing beverages, and a funky house set list by the resident DJ.
Ruya Dubai, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Fridays 12pm to 4pm, Dhs299 soft, Dhs399 house, Dhs499 sparkling. Tel: (04) 399 9123. ruyadubai.com
The famed Traiteur brunch is back at the recently revamped The Promenade at the Park Hyatt and extends through restaurants Noepe and Brasserie Du Park. Although it’s got a heavy French focus, you’ll find dishes from around the world from an extensive seafood buffet, to a collection of roast meats, cold cuts and a dessert room that will make you wish you’d saved more room. Drinks are free flowing and glasses always topped up, and chilled beats are mixed with lively acoustic sets to entertain guests. Stay for sundowners, you won’t regret it – the sunsets over the creek are some of the city’s finest.
The Promenade, Park Hyatt, Deira, 1pm to 4.30pm, Fridays, Dhs495 soft, Dhs695 sparkling, Dhs775 premium. Tel: (04) 602 1814. thepromenadedxb.com
Best for… beachfront dining
One of the best looking bars in Dubai, Jetty Lounge is all about classy cocktails, chilled out tunes and stunning sunsets. It’s accessed via a winding path through the lush gardens of the One&Only Royal Mirage, perched right on the sand, with sweeping views of the ocean and The Palm Jumeirah. More or a pre dinner setting, or evening for drinks in a ‘wow-worthy setting’, the food is limited to a bar snacks menu and mezze such as hummus, tabouleh, marinated prawns and beef teriyaki.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, daily 2pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 399 9999. royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com
Back in business after a summer hiatus, this secluded spot in Jumeirah’s Mina A’Salam is just steps away from the sea. On the menu, you’ll find the likes of cold seafood starters, salads, casseroles and a cooked-to-order catch of the day. It’s a casual setting, so you don’t need to dress up, although it sits right on Madinat Jumeirah’s private beach with spectacular views of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – so you might want to for the Instagram shots alone.
Shimmers, Mina A’Salam, Jumeirah, daily 12pm to 12.30am. Tel: (04) 432 3232. jumeirah.com
One of Dubai’s only restaurants where you can dine with your toes in the sand, Fish closes for the hot summer months, and reopened at the end of last month. It sources all of its fish from Turkey, and serves up Aegean inspired cuisine in a whitewashed tavern-style outdoor restaurant covered in fairy lights. For a special occasion, book the teepee table on the beach.
The Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina, daily 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 511 7139. Fish-dubai.com