Our thoughts on this popular city-centre hang spot…

Waves Bar and Outdoor Lounge occupies a neat terrace space on the first floor of Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan.

It’s a venue that has somehow cultivated a reputation as being a casual after-work hangout, a weekend alfresco soiree spot and even a bit of a sports pub. Can it be all of these things? Should it be all of things? There’s only one way to find out.

We arrive in daylight hours, and so are able to appreciate the bar and its surroundings in its natural state. There’s a sense of deliberate modularity to it, different identities living in different parts of the outlet, possibly explaining why it is many things to many people. There are design crests, and huddle lulls, big screen TVs and broad-tabled booths.

Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan, is a city-locked hotel and Waves is only on the first floor so it’s not somewhere that draws its tribe on the basis of view. There’s is a warm charm to Waves, sure it doesn’t pout in that sophisticated fashion some of the swankier city bars do, but we’re champions of variety and believe a space should always be made for a place like Waves.

The kitchens here frequently run theme-months with limited edition collections of cuisine such as poutine, Vietnamese food and paella. Some of the items from these menus prove so popular, that they — by sheer will of the people — are coerced into permanent rotation.

That means the menu is as delightfully eclectic as the venue that offers it. And amongst the international plates and gastronomic relics from themes past, you’ll find some genuinely enjoyable bites.

We peruse a list of big substantial plates (steaks, grilled salmon, lamb chops and more), but we follow the voice within that tell us ‘at Waves we share’. We love the spicy wings (Dhs40) —but they are genuinely not recommended for the sort that sweat through a lemon and herb Nando’s; the mac and cheese balls (Dhs38) are a cute carby remix of the arancini conept; the Japanese-style baos are well executed and come in a combo of four for just Dhs84.

It is licensed of course, but we’re finding the bar to be a great resource for Mocktail mixology too. The passion lemonade (Dhs32) is an attractive tropical drop and our pick of the lot.

Verdict: Waves Bar and Outdoor Lounge isn’t concerned with disrupting the world of hospitality, it busies itself with providing a hub for an enjoyable night (or day) out. The cuisine is a solid pub grub showing, with a few welcome exotic curveballs, and the frequently updated promotions also add to the allure. Rating: B

Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, 11am to 1am daily. Tel: (02) 501 6444, @waves_abudhabi

Images: Provided