Brunch, beach and big Balearic beats…

Yas Bay’s new beach club, Cafe Del Mar lands in the capital with a 40-year legacy of delivering big beat experiences to a loyal tribe of jet-set vibe chasers. The journey began in Ibiza, at the dawn of the Balearic Island’s house music awakening, and since then has launched an uncountable number of ‘chilled house’ playlists, hosted almost every DJ hall-of-famer, and established itself as a genuine EDM phenomenon.

This UAE outpost of the rave enclave is just a few months old, but, looking around, it already seems to have built up quite the following. It’s 1pm on a Saturday, under bright blue skies and a spring chaleur, in the background a tribal drum loop builds to a drop, and we’ve just picked up our towel for the Cafe Del Mar Barbeque Pool Party.

It’s busy, the beach lagoon with the swim-up bar is several rows of glinting sunglasses-on-heads deep, and it all feels very very San Antonian. This aquatic-fiesta takes place between 1pm and 5pm every Saturday, the price of Dhs499 includes free-flow select beverages, unlimited plates from the barbecue, pool access, towels and a lounger.

After a brief aperitif in the water, we head up to the bar deck to investigate the enticing aromas of flame-cooked fare. There isn’t a huge range of gastronomy to choose from — there are burgers, hot dogs, jumbo prawns, chicken fillets, steaks, veggie skewers, salad, fries, mash potatoes and that’s about it. Crucial to the equation however, is the consideration that what is here, is done well — it’s simple, keenly marinated, precision charred and it pairs perfectly with the vibe.

And ‘the barbecue’ was always going to be secondary to ‘the party’ — this is Cafe Del Mar, where the drinks, soundtrack and pool are Ibiza level chill. It’s hard to explain, maybe it has an old soul, but it almost feels like this place has been around for a while. Perhaps because it’s exactly the sort of venue that Abu Dhabi has been missing, and in the rush of infilled vacuum has left us all a little dizzy.

With the sun sinking low and the speaker volume peaking, we promise we’ll leave after one last song. Not this one though, this one’s a tune.

Verdict: A for vibes, B for food, so let’s meet in the middle and call it a… Rating: A-

Cafe Del Mar, Yas Bay Waterfront, pool party barbecue every Sat, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs499. Tel: (050) 402 2283, @cafedelmarabudhabi

Images: Provided