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12 of the best alfresco bars and restaurants in Abu Dhabi

A grand return to the great outdoors…

We’re calling it, the alfresco dining and drink season is now well and truly upon us, and the shores of Abu Dhabi are once again alive with the sound of outdoor sound systems.

So if you’re in the mood for some lazy weekday sundowners, starlit rooftop banquets, seafront shmoozing or on-terrace brunching  — this is our ‘outside-of-the-box’ pick for the best Abu Dhabi alfresco experiences.

Annex

This sophisticated terrace venue is a chic pick for after-dark fun. Enjoy marina views, a roaring fire pit, and some Annex-t level theme nights. Wednesday is a she-centric night with three hours of limitless sips for the ladies for Dhs128. Thursdays are all about that Motown and soul tip, with smooth grooves and two hours of unlimited mixology for Dhs195. And on Fridays, it’s an evening brunch ‘shook’ by the rhythms of Cape Town’s buzzing soundscape — the Amapiano brunch, from Dhs288.

Annex, The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen Marina, Wed from 7pm to 1am, Thu and Fri 7pm to 4am. Tel: (0)2 208 0000. @annexabudhabi

Belgian Café

Perched on the brim of a Marina, Belgian Café squares up as a cool Côte d’Azur character, despite its landlocked namesake. And those traits transfer seamlessly into its ‘Santé to the Weekend’ brunch (from Dhs225) which delivers a well-executed feast filled with Euro-flavours, seafood towers, the venue’s signature mussels and live cooking stations. Taking place on the venue’s roomy terrace, the whole thing feels appropriately inter-continental.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, , b. Tel: (800) 423463. abudhabi.intercontinental.com/belgian-cafe

Balcon

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This poolside courtyard positively vibrates with zen-level chill. Hemmed by cabanas, and floating lanterns it’s a bar with more than a few reasons to choose as your gang get-together spot of choice. There’s the shisha, the fine-dining tapas plates and the daily 6pm to 9pm free flow beverage package that costs just Dhs115.

Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiya, Tourist Club Area, open daily 5pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 818 4888, tsogosun.com

Brick

We do so love an evening brunch with a breeze and the rooftop soiree at Aloft Abu Dhabi’s Brick on Thursdays provides just that. It’s set to the sounds of live acoustic music and takes place every Thursday, with dishes coming straight from the venue’s signature brick ovens. The brunch line-up includes such culinary delights as slow-cooked rib eye, four-cheese pizza, cedar plank-cooked salmon and, for the final flourish — campfire s’mores… all from Dhs235.

Brick, Aloft Abu Dhabi, National Exhibition Centre, open daily 5pm to midnight. Tel: (052) 837 0047, @brick.abudhabi

Buddha Bar Beach

This outpost of the global vibe emporium has a privileged Saadiyat seaside appointment and it’s all bout the beach chic. It features the brand’s signature on-trend soundtrack, luxurious shore view lounge area, and a menu that dances playfully between east and west. Buddha Bar Beach has two seatings for its Friday Nikkei Brunch (from Dhs325), an afternoon session and an evening one, both are accompanied by Latin beats and fuego Japanese-Peruvian eats.

Buddha Bar Beach, The St Regis Sadiyaat Island, open Mon to Wed 5pm to midnight, Thu to Sat midday to midnight. Tel: (02) 498 8888@buddhabarbeachabudhabi

Cove Abu Dhabi

This barefoot wonderland has a packed weekly schedule of beachfront entertainment. Amongst them there’s Bijoux (Dhs500) on Mondays — an extravagant seven-course fine dining menu, with a thrilling cabaret-esque collection of live music and glittering theatrics. Tuesday are dedicated to live music with the Unplugged sessions. Featured artists include Jay Abo, Dina Stars, Aston Wylie, and Clarita de Quiroz and there’s a bottomless drink package for Dhs199. And things get a little caliente under the collar on Wednesdays with Little Havana. Latin sounds, Latin food and an unlimited drinks package for Dhs199.

Cove Beach, Makers District, Al Reem Island, open daily. Tel: (056) 39 87895, @covebeachabudhabi

Cooper’s

This British pub has been a capital favourite for years and although its chiefly known for its prowess as a sports spectating hub, the gloriously shaded ‘Backyard’ outdoor space makes for perfect daytime merry-making. There’s a daily midday to 8pm happy hour with select beverages from Dhs23, a bucket-load of combo deals and the Friday brunch with gastro pub grub classics and DJ Danny on the decks, has packages from Dhs210.

Park Rotana, Park Rotana Complex Road, near Khalifa Park, open daily midday to 2am. Tel: (02) 657 3317, @parkrotana

Hakkasan

Up on the roof of Abu Dhabi’s ultra-luxe hotel, Emirates Palace — sits Hakkasan, an elite Cantonese restaurant with big ‘night out’ energy. Their terrace space offers dreamy Corniche skyline views, big soulful sounds and mood lighting that is quite frankly an absolute mood of its own. To pair with the electric ambiance, there are night brunches, and deals on craft mixology and dim sum.

Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Corniche Rd W, daily 6pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 690 7739, @hakkasanabudhabi

Iris

Known for its exquisite Yas Marina views and full-throttle F1 parties, this popular little spot has sophistication sewn into its genes. And with the outdoor terrace open once more, now is the time to experience the venue in its purest, most elegant form. The modern, international Friday brunch is pretty good value too, with packages starting at Dhs190. Out out? The after brunch package includes three hours of free flowing house sips for Dhs150

Yas Marina, Yas Island, open  Tue to Thu and Sat to Sun 6pm to 3.30am, Fri midday to 3.30am, closed Monday. Tel: (055) 160 5636, yasmarina.ae

Stars ‘N’ Bars

We’re unofficially obliged to start this entry with a rowdy ‘Yee-haw’ and a slap of the thigh, because this bar is a super-sized slice of apple pie Americana. This President of the United States of Sports Bars comes with a dizzying collection of 76 HDTVs, a retro arcade wall, pool table and of particular interest to this round up — a rootin’, tootin’, late night breeze-shootin’ shaded terrace with views of Yas Marina’s boating swag. They also have great deals on weekend roasts (Dhs99), Tuesday 2-for-1 deals, a lads’ night on Saturdays, a quiz night on Mondays, and their Friday ‘Marina Brunch’ begins at Dhs199.

Stars ‘N’ Bars, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Wen midday to 1am, Thu to Fri midday to 2am. Tel: (02) 565 0101, @starsnbarsad

The Green

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The Green is a ‘pop-up pub garden’ on the grounds of Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, offering live entertainment seven nights a week. During the week, between Sunday and Thursday, the timings are 4pm to 1am, whilst on Fridays and Saturdays you get an extended 11am to 1am stint. On Fridays, experience Music Fest with live music from David Howard, Kevin Carey & Friends. Saturday at The Green come fully Dominic Toretto approved, being as they are, for the family. The 11am to 3pm FamJam session includes access to giant bouncy castles, interactive kids’ games and a serenade from The International Playboys’ lead singer, Nicola Warwick.

Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, Al Mushrif, Shakhbout Bin Sultan St, Sun to Thu 4pm to 1am, Fri and Sat 11am to 1am. Tel: (056) 112 2072, @thegreenabudhabi

Wet Deck

W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is a whole on-key vibe, so it follows that their pool complex would be the preferred pool-adjacent lounging space for the capital’s discerning dip connisseurs. Their Sunday to Friday deals ‘Daydream at Wet Deck’ deal is just Dhs150 per adult and you get the full amount back to drop on food and drinks. Relax in sublime supine between midday to 8pm, with a Wet Deck welcome pack that includes a bottle of water, ice lollies and access to those luxurious purple cushion loungers. Pulse is their Thursday night session with big beats and submerged seats and comes with a three hour beverage package (ladies Dhs150, gents Dhs200). And ‘Soak it Up Saturdays’ also come with their own daytime drinks deals (ladies Dhs160, gents Dhs220 for three hours).

W Lounge, W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island. Tel: (02) 656 0000, @WAbuDhabi

Images: Provided

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