8 great beach bars in Abu Dhabi
Make the most of the cool weather and try one of these beach bars in Abu Dhabi: sundowners in any of these will be totally Insta-worthy.
1. Buddha Bar Beach Abu Dhabi
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
2. Shala Beach Lounge
‘Shala’ is derived from the Sanskrit – meaning ‘home,’ and this venue at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi offers exactly that to the capital’s free-spirited wanderers. Here, sea views are paired with plush cushions bearing macrame cotton tassels, ornamental feathers, a fire pit, soft linen banquets and natural wood finishes. The design of this Abu Dhabi beach bar taps into that same beach-shack soul that you’d expect to find in bohemian haunts like Tulum, or the Ibizan town of Playa d’en Bossa. And with just a thin slip of rugged dunescape between you and the rhythmic gulf surf, it makes an excellent claim for top sundowner cocktail spot.
Shala Beach Lounge, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island, 5pm to 1am Thursday to Saturday. Tel: (0)2 407 1234, @shalaabudhabi
3. Smokin’ Pineapple
At the ultra-luxurious Zaya Nurai Island, everything about Smokin’ Pineapple transports you to the far-flung shores of Bali, Tulum or Thailand. At its centre is a thatched roof beach bar lined with wooden swings, which spills out to an infinity pool, hammocks and teepees where guests can relax and recline listening to the sounds of a live DJ, while sipping fruity cocktails and watching the sunset. To reach it, you’ll need to take a speedboat from the resort’s welcome centre on Saadiyat Island.
Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, open 10am to 10pm daily. Tel: (0)2 506 6222, zayanuraiisland.com
4. Cafe Del Mar
Straight from the Baleric beat factory of Ibiza, Cafe Del Mar has landed on the waterfront next to Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. There’s an infinity pool, a cheeky little manmade beach, a swim-up pool bar, and appropriately slamming soundtrack. Access is free for the adjacent Hilton guests, for everybody else day passes are available for Dhs250 between Monday to Friday (with Dhs150 back as F&B credit), weekends its Dhs350 (also with Dhs150 back as credit). We’ve been told brunch and ladies night will arrive shortly.
Yas Bay, Yas Island, 9am to 12am weekdays, 9am to 1am weekends. Tel: 050 402 2283, @cafedelmarabudhabi
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Although it’s not technically a toes-in-the-sand beach bar in Abu Dhabi, newly opened Raclette deserves a mention for its beachy bohemia decor and stunning setting on Mamsha Saadiyat. Raclette is a licensed venue, with a chic central bar, a perfect spot for those post-beach, shore-view sundowners. A come-as-you-are, beach-to-bar brasserie, the menu includes French toast for breakfast, steaming pots of mussels and tiered seafood towers.
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, 9am to 12am daily. Tel: (0)2 546 2277, @racletteuae
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For relaxed drinks and grazing as the sun sets, Nasma is one of the best beach bars in Abu Dhabi. Located on the shorefront of the Saadiyat Rotana, it brings gorgeous sea views and laid-back vibes to a picturesque setting. Pull up on a bean bag, or snag one of the private cabanas, and nibble on Latin bar bites, sip fruity cocktails or order shisha, all served up to the sounds of chilled Caribbean beats.
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island 2pm to 10.30pm Sun to Wed, 11am to 11pm Thurs to Sat. Tel: (0)2 697 0000, rotana.com
While you’re likely coming to Saadiyat Beach Club for a day of basking in the rays or sipping cocktails in a plush cabana, its collection of restaurants and lounges shouldn’t be missed. For beach bar vibes, head to Safina, where Mediterranean flavours are served up in a breezy indoor restaurant, and on the rustic terrace, with views of the pool and gardens beyond.
Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, 12pm to 10pm Sun to Weds, 12pm to 11pm Thurs to Sat. Tel (0)2 656 3536, saadiyatbeachclub.ae
8. Coming soon: Ting Irie Pon Di Beach
The Abu Dhabi version of Dubai’s popular Caribbean-themed lounge is not open yet, the interior is currently undergoing a thorough Jamaicafication, but when it does, you’ll be able to walk in off the beach at Mamsha Saadiyat. If you’ve already visited the Dubai location, you’ll have some idea of what to expect, and therefore are entirely forgiven for being more than a little excited. It’s all about those good island vibes, soulful reggae music, dancehall bangers, authentic Caribbean cuisine and comes pretty close to replicating carnival feels all year round. This new venture is a skank step closer to its spirit land, being just a few steps away from Saadiyat’s gorgeous Soul Beach. There’ll be no dress code (no pressed shirt, no shoes — no worries) and a terrace space offering island shoreline views, and Arabian Gulf blues.
Mamsha Saadiyat, Coming soon. @tingirieuae