Bar review: Electric Pawn Shop – big on music, bold on drinks
What’s On heads into Dubai’s hip new bar…
Electric Pawn Shop bills itself as a ‘hedonist, exotic, dystopian counter-culture Asian Mediterranean bar restaurant inspired by the ‘70s Chinatown of New York.’
Once you’ve chewed on that eyebrow-raising depiction for a hot minute, and head on through the side door of the H Hotel, what you’ll find, in its simplest form, is an extremely cool new bar that’s booming.
Combining two vastly diverse cultures, Electric Pawn Shop is unconventional in the sense that it’s a hip Asian-meets-US dive-style Dubai bar. Clandestine from the outside save for a neon green sign of Chinese characters, it opens into a small, dazzlingly red neon interior and furnished with retro director’s chairs, metal diner-style booths and a huge DJ station positioned under a ‘no requests’ sign.
Music is an integral part of Electric’s appeal, which is unsurprising given that the bar was conceived as a passion project between local music legend DJ Lobito Brigante and Lynn Lin whose previous success running Beirut bar Electric Bing Sutt met with ‘World’s 50 Best’ acclaim in 2019.
The food is pretty eccentric. The menu spans kimchi and eggplant (Dhs45) to Penang curry (Dhs119) and with sea bass carpaccio (Dhs64) and beef tartare (Dhs72) thrown into the eclectic two-page list. We’d hoped for more sharing options, but the dishes presented were fun and certainly stand out from the usual ‘bar bites’ afterthoughts.
The cocktails – served in small glass vessels – are near perfect, using aromatic distillations and complex homemade infusions that could rival top cocktail bar offerings around the world. The King of Kowloon (Dhs85) was a particular highlight with house-infused rye cacao cognac and mezcal. Other specialities include drinks with an Asian twist, such as a plum wine martini, a lemongrass and rice elixir cocktail, and even a Bloody Mary with spicy sambal.
Cool music, imaginative cocktails and retro design are where Electric Pawn Shop really shine. Mingle amongst the crowd, drink and dance through the night – you’ll have a great time.
The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, daily 6pm to late. Tel: (050) 5865510. electricpawnshop.com