What's On Nightlife Awards 2020: Here are the winners...
We’ve crowned Dubai’s best party people, performers, brunches and venues. Here, we reveal the winners of the What’s On Nightlife Awards 2020…
WINNER: NATALIE BROGAN
The award for Best DJ goes to a powerhouse who can be seen at some of Dubai’s most popular venues. Natalie Brogan has residencies at Zero Gravity, as well as the newly opened Paros. She’s warmed up for the likes of MK and the late Erick Morillo right here in Dubai, as well as plenty of sets in Ibiza throughout her career. Brogan’s excitable energy can be felt through each track, delivering an uplifting vibe at every performance.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: MADEMOISELLE SABAH
Nikki Beach Dubai wouldn’t be the same without Mademoiselle Sabah’s signature sound. Her special way of building an atmosphere and dropping your-next-favourite tune is something that can’t be taught. Throughout lockdown, she kept Dubai dancing through lengthy live DJ sessions on social media.
WINNER: OMAR DEAN
Australian-Lebanese singer/songwriter Omar Dean is this year’s best act. A well-deserving artist, Omar’s sultry sounds and impossible high notes can be enjoyed at some of Dubai’s best bars. Best known for putting his own spin on classics by everyone from Justin Timberlake to Drake, his unmistakeable sound is one we could listen to on repeat.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: JINDI
Singer, songwriter and all-round personality Jindi has a unique sound you’ll struggle to forget. His upbeat style reminds us of a mix between Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, with songs ranging across multiple genres. Watch just a few minutes of Jindi’s positive personality and uplifting dance moves and we promise you’ll find yourself smiling.
BEST INTERNATIONAL DJ SET:
WINNER: DJ EZ AT ZERO GRAVITY
DJ EZ at Zero Gravity is an event we look forward to every time it’s announced. There’s something about the atmosphere he creates that keeps us coming back for more. From the old school garage tunes to the more modern drops, DJ EZ had us singing from the top of our lungs all night long.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: RUDIMENTAL AT GROOVE ON THE GRASS
Rudimental’s set at Groove on the Grass stayed locked in our minds for a number of reasons. The first was the incredible skill of the live musicians, whose sound boomed through Emirates Golf Club that warm spring night. The second was the electrifying feeling we had while listening to the entire crowd sing along to Waiting All Night.
WINNER: WAKE UP CALL AT W DUBAI – THE PALM
If you weren’t at this inaugural festival, you seriously missed out. With a line-up including electronic dance duo Disclosure, pop princess Rita Ora, and French DJ Mercer, the music was on point from start to finish. Wake Up Call was well organised, with plenty of areas to sit and chill or get up close to the action, a huge feat for a first-time event.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: EMIRATES AIRLINE DUBAI JAZZ FESTIVAL AT DUBAI MEDIA CITY AMPHITHEATRE
This year, Jazz Festival offered something for everyone. The line-up included legendary singer Ms Lauren Hill, the incredible Lionel Richie, and American band One Republic. Whichever night you were there, the festival delivered a faultless performance by all three acts.
WINNER: LIVE NATION AND BOOKMYSHOW PRESENT WESTLIFE AT COCA-COLA ARENA
Dubai went into meltdown when legendary Irish boyband Westlife announced that they would be brining their TWENTY Tour to Dubai. It was one of the first gigs at City Walk’s Coca-Cola Arena, and fans were delighted to hear all of their favourite songs performed live in the huge venue. The concert was co-promoted by Live Nation and Bookmyshow.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: NE-YO AT WHITE BEACH
Our Highly Commended award for the best concert goes to Grammy Award-winning singer, composer, producer and actor, Ne-Yo. The artist’s rare Dubai performance was a brilliant way to bring in 2020 at White Beach’s New Year’s Eve party.
BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
WINNER: THE IRISH VILLAGE AL GARHOUD
From Boyzone to The Proclaimers, the live acts you can catch at The Irish Village are second to none. The Irish Village manages to bring packed-out crowds to its legendary venue, with its comforting, homey vibe.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE BAGGOT AT McGETTIGAN’S JLT
McGettigan’s has long been a go-to for live music in Dubai, and the Irish party pub even kept the live music vibes alive during lockdown, thanks to their feel-good streaming sessions and virtual brunches.
BEST PUB/SPORTS BAR
WINNER: BRIDGEWATER TAVERN AT JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS
Forget about sticky carpets and an old darts board… Bridgewater Tavern is not your average sports bar. Settle in to this smart Business Bay space to watch your favourite match on the live screens, while dining on gastropub classics with a pint in hand.
HIGHLY COMMENDED BEST PUB/SPORTS BAR: GARDEN ON 8 AT MEDIA ONE HOTEL
Offering casual vibes in a relaxed setting, Garden on 8 is great all year round thanks to its expansive terrace, which gets covered through the warmer months. It’s plenty spacious to hang out with friends and watch a game, soak up the sun in winter or tuck into the varied dining menu.
BEST BEACH CLUB
WINNER: DRIFT BEACH DUBAI AT ONE&ONLY ROYAL MIRAGE
Whether you’ve booked out the VIP cabana or a beanbag on the sand, the service provided at DRIFT is equally attentive. There is no job too small for the incredibly hard-working staff, who run around serving fresh fruit and cold water to all the guests. The food here is, in a word, outstanding. Poke bowls teem with fresh ingredients. Tacos make the perfect pool accompaniment, and the fries are our favourite in the city. And the drinks list ranges from signature cocktails to ice-cold Angel rosé. In short, all rise to the classy, sophisticated yet unpretentious beach club at One&Only Royal Mirage.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: WHITE BEACH AT ATLANTIS, THE PALM
A newcomer to Dubai’s beach club scene, White Beach got people talking from the moment it opened. With a stunning beachfront infinity pool, epic Atlantis view and chic bohemian style, it’s no wonder that the venue is packed out every weekend. The beach club also saw some brilliant performances from big name artists such as Ne-Yo and Tinie Tempah.
BEST OUTDOOR BAR
WINNER: THE JETTY LOUNGE AT ONE&ONLY ROYAL MIRAGE
Sundowners don’t get better than at this longtime favourite spot. Nestled away on the private beach of One&Only, The Jetty Lounge offers premium service and stunning Marina views from its sophisticated lounge on the sand. The perfect date-night spot, a walk along the jetty also provides a blissful moment of serenity once the sun goes down.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: TREEHOUSE DUBAI AT TAJ DUBAI, BUSINESS BAY
Whether you’re looking to party, or catch a late-night acoustic performance, Treehouse has it all. With Burj Khalifa views you’ll struggle to beat, and a lively after-brunch atmosphere, this popular venue is likely to remain at the top of our recommendations list for a long while.
BEST LADIES’ NIGHT
WINNER: CRAZY RICH LADIES NIGHT AT MAIDEN SHANGHAI DUBAI, FIVE PALM JUMEIRAH
This year, after hundreds of votes, you named Crazy Rich Ladies Night at Maiden Shanghai your favourite ladies’ night in Dubai. And, we can’t blame you. The popular spot offers a great deal for the guys, including both food and drinks, as well as exciting live entertainment every Wednesday evening.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: JUST FINE CUTS LADIES’ NIGHT AT STK DUBAI JBR
Another well-deserving ladies’ night award goes to the popular Just Fine Cuts at STK JBR. If you love great food (especially steak), upbeat vibes and refreshing cocktails, then this is the ladies’ night for you. Taking place every Tuesday, it’s definitely one to be ticked off the Dubai bucket list.
BEST PARTY BRUNCH
WINNER: SECRET GARDEN BRUNCH AT FLAIR 5
Last year, Secret Garden Brunch was a newbie on the block and took home the Highly Commended award. In 2020 you loved it even more and voted the Flair 5 brunch your favourite party brunch. The Secret Parties brunch has gone from strength to strength at the beautiful outdoor venue, with pop-up bars serving colourful drinks, memorable live entertainment and resident DJs setting the perfect party vibe.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: SUNDOWN BRUNCH BY LUV EVENTS AT SEVEN SISTERS DUBAI
Sundown Brunch is perfectly timed for an awesome afternoon. Kicking off at 3pm guests can enjoy a lively ambience that builds as the sun begins to set. Hosted by Luv Events, the popular brunch delivers an unbeatable atmosphere, great food selection and value for money, every time.
BEST LADIES’ DAY
WINNER: ROSÉ ALL DAY AT COVE BEACH DUBAI, CAESARS PALACE BLUEWATERS DUBAI
When it comes to ladies’ days the top of our list has to be Cove Beach. The event has been running consistently for two years, and sold out pretty much every time. Ideally located, girls can enjoy a day to night experience under the glow of Ain Dubai, with great beats, unlimited drinks and a platter to keep you going.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: NOT ANOTHER LADIES DAY AT WET DECK, W DUBAI – THE PALM
This buzzy day out is great not just for girls, but the guys too. With unlimited drinks as well as something good to eat, guests are invited to relax in the sunshine, top up their tan and enjoy the unlimited fun. In true W style, this colourful ladies’ night is packed full or surprises every Sunday.
BEST EVENING BRUNCH
WINNER: SKYLINE THURSDAY AT THE PENTHOUSE, FIVE PALM JUMEIRAH
Skyline Thursdays is one of the best ways to kick off your weekend. With a host of international DJs on the line-up each week, the brilliant event never fails to draw a crowd. The food menu is always a pleasant surprise, with expertly crafted sushi on a generous platter and refreshing drinks aplenty.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE STAGE BRUNCH BY LOVE PARTIES AT JAZZ PIZZAEXPRESS
It’s no surprise that this Thursday evening party brunch has made it into our top spots again – The Stage Brunch by Love Parties stands out from the crowd. Come for the generous (and delicious) servings of signature Pizza Express dishes, and stay for the brilliant live entertainment. It’s great value for money, too, with the house package priced at Dhs225.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: NIGHTCLUB
WINNER: SKY2.0 DUBAI
When this UFO-shaped nightclub landed in D3 last year, we were instantly hooked. From the artistic and lavish dance shows with epic costume design, to the incredible soundtrack of the resident DJs and energetic, friendly staff, we felt at home straight away. One of our favourite parts of the night is when everyone is given a sparkler or balloon to wave around and feel as one.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: MANTIS DUBAI
The great thing about Mantis is how it effortlessly combines dining and partying in one unique experience. The DIFC club burst onto the scene offering international DJ sets, next-level light shows and delicious dishes straight to your table.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: BAR
WINNER: CÉ LA VI DUBAI AT ADDRESS SKY VIEW
Hailing from Singapore, we had high expectations when Cé La Vi opened in January this year. The initial hype surrounding the opening was immense and, almost a year later, it has yet to die down. The executive chef is consistently creating inventive new dishes, and from day to night, you can always expect a lively vibe. Oh and how can we forget about that next-level view?
HIGHLY COMMENDED: IRIS DUBAI, MEYDAN
In 2019, Iris Dubai made the move to a bigger, better, beautiful new location at Meydan and we couldn’t be happier. The stunning venue gives us authentic Beirut vibes, from the epic skyline view, brilliant entertainment and friendly staff, it’s the ideal spot to enjoy sundowners as the atmosphere builds throughout the night.
BAR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: SOBE AT W DUBAI – THE PALM
This stunning rooftop bar is hands-down the best place to watch the sunset. It has totally uninterrupted sea views on one side, and far-stretched Dubai skyline views on the other. The vibrant Miami style is fun and energetic, with retro arcade games and neon lights inside to the spacious graffitied booths overlooking W Dubai’s incredible pool out on the terrace.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: MR MIYAGI’S AT MEDIA ONE HOTEL
Mr Miyagi’s has been a staple in Dubai’s party scene since its inception. The restaurant side is perfect for brunching with karaoke and unlimited good times, while the colourful bar serves up uplifting tunes, cocktails in plastic bags and beer pong all night long. What more could you want?
CLUB OF THE YEAR
WINNER: WHITE DUBAI
White Dubai consistently delivers an unfaltering experience, from the five-star production to A-list performances including Jason Derulo, Usher and Nelly. It’s the ultimate opportunity to get dressed up and leave your stress at the door for a brilliant night of non-stop partying.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: INDUSTRIAL AVENUE AT THE WESTIN DUBAI MINA SEYAHI
This underground style club is perfect for those who want to rave without the ‘Dubai-style’ tables, bottles and VIP list. With urban style decor and come-as-you-are dress code, Industrial Avenue offers a night for those who are there for the music, the atmosphere and the memories.