Why we’re obsessed with this amazing jazz bar in Dubai
Great cocktails, intimate ambience, unbelievable acoustics, and world-class performances – we love Q’s Bar and Lounge, and so will you…
Pre-2020, Dubai had as strong a musical pedigree as any big city, especially when it came to live music concerts: we’ve had everyone from Drake and Liam Gallagher to Lionel Richie and Guns N’ Roses. But all that stuff’s in the past, right? There’s no more live music in Dubai for the foreseeable, right?
No, and no. Apart from the intimate concerts performed by talented local bands in community spaces such as Alserkal Avenue, most of Dubai’s restaurants and bars – including McGettigan’s, Motorino, Jazz@Pizza Express, The Irish Village, The Nine and many more – have a roster of homegrown talent singing away through the night.
But if a moody soul and jazz bar’s more your speed, nothing tops showtime at legendary producer Quincy Jones’ epic Dubai haunt, Q’s Bar and Lounge.
Q’s entrance is almost as obscure as its geographical location, giving your stop here a twinge of hush-hush cool. To get there you must first travel to Al Jaddaf (it’s the bit in between Festival City and Healthcare City) then walk through the overwhelmingly bright and ostentatious lobby of the Palazzo Versace hotel, look for a door that blends into the cream-coloured wall-paper, and walk inside a dark, tiny sound-proofed hallway. Open the next door and, as if by magic, you could be in Lower East Side, Manhattan.
The hyper-intimate space, mostly occupied by large swivel armchairs and smoke makes for a slick Mad Men vibe. There’s a bar in the back with regulars chatting quietly to the bartenders, as they wait for the acts to perform.
Come around 9pm, and most of the seats are already filled with die-hard music fans, sipping fantastic martini’s and old fashioned’s, and tucking into a few of the bar bites. Top tip: Stick to the classic drinks and cocktails, and be sure to order the jumbo tempura prawns, and sliders.
What makes Q’s very special are the world-class music acts. Never have we visited Q’s and been disappointed with a concert there – not surprising really since Quincy handpicks his acts personally. From the electric performance of The Strike, and the vocal power and killer dance moves of Rogelio Douglas Jr, to the delicious vintage jazz sounds of Brenna Whitaker – every resident act who’s performed there over the years has done so from their hearts, building up the audience into a frenzy where by midnight the room is roaring and rapturous.
Come now, and you’ll hear the soothing sounds of Dubai-based star Layla Kardan, who performs an incredible catalogue of smoky jazz and soul melodies backed by an immensely talented jazz band. There’s also a couple of risqué burlesque dances thrown in for great measure at around 11pm, but you’ll have to witness that first hand…
Layla Kardan performs every Thursday from 9pm at Q’s Bar & Lounge until December 24. Book your table ahead (and don’t forget to request a front-row armchair spot – they’re the best seats in the house). There’s a Dhs350 minimum spend per person, and it’s over 21s only.
Palazzo Versace Dubai, West Wing, every Thursday from 9pm. Tel: (0)4 5568865. @qsbarandlounge_dubai