Our go-to spots for a guaranteed good time… 

Heading on a first date in Dubai? Whether you’re looking for something cosy and affordable or to impress with a wow-worthy backdrop, these are the city’s best bars for a cool atmosphere, tasty food, and eyebrow-raising cocktails.

From American-inspired dive bars to hidden drinking dens, here we’ve rounded up 10 of the best bars to book for a first date in Dubai:

Above Eleven

New bars in Dubai

A Bangkok institution since 2012, Above Eleven, serves a menu of fine Japanese Peruvian fusion flavours, colourful cocktails and a top array of live tunes that range from salsa nights to a rotation of live DJs. The industrial-chic interior comes with exposed brickwork and large windows that will make the most of the stunning skyline views. Huge trees, dim lighting, and pops of teal and ruby are sure to pack Above Eleven with Instagrammable moments.

Above Eleven, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, The Palm open daily 4pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 666 1420 @aboveelevendubai

Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey is set over a gigantic two-story space complete with a 12-lane bowling alley, arcade, pool tables, plus a restaurant serving up tasty tacos, sliders, pizzas, quesadillas and old school desserts. Downstairs you’ll find the bowling alley and old arcade games. Upstairs there’s three pool and snooker tables, basketball machines, a dedicated game room with more arcade games including Pac-Man to take you on a nostalgia trip. Bowling is priced from Dhs75 per person, per game. A play card for the arcade games is priced from Dhs100.

Brass Monkey, Bluewaters Island, Dubai, open 4pm to 1am Mon and Tues, 4pm to 2am Wed, Thurs and Fri, 4pm to 3am, Sat 12pm to 3am, Sun 12pm to 1am, bowling priced from Dhs75 per person, per game, play cards start from Dhs100 and don’t expire. @brassmonkeysocial

Café Isan

cafe isan

This gorgeous and authentic Thai staple in Dubai now has a licensed rooftop venue in JLT, perfect for a fun and unpretentious first date night. Its rustic vibe will transport you straight to the shores of Thailand, and in true form will make for a dinner date under Dhs500, which won’t leave you hungry. Most mains here are around the Dhs50 mark, with a wide selection of spicy soups, curries and noodle dishes as well as a plethora of delicious starters. Their drinks menu is humbly priced with house wines costing Dhs29, five bottles of beer for Dhs189, and buckets of spirits for Dhs99 which includes a triple shot and a mixer.

Café Isan, JLT, Armada Avenue, Cluster P, Dubai, Daily, 12pm to 1am., Tel: (0) 58 529 1003, cafeisan.co

Claw BBQ

Claw BBQ is as close to an American dive bar as we’re going to get in Dubai, with a lively atmosphere, games galore, and a wild, mechanical bull to conquer. Perfect for a casual but fun-filled date night, Claw BBQ has two locations in Dubai: The Pavilion JBR and the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Pool table? Check. Good music? Check. Delicious food and drinks? Check. Keeping the party going all week long, you can also expect DJs playing every day.

Claw BBQ, Pavilion at The Beach, JBR and Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah. 12pm to 2am weekdays, 12pm to 3am weekends. Tel: (0)4 577 4357, @clawbbq

Galaxy Bar

If you’re looking to impress your date with delicious cocktails and a cool late-night vibe, this is the place. Thanks to its consistent ranking on the World’s Best Bars list (it’s currently number 45), Galaxy Bar has become one of Dubai’s most internationally renowned drinking dens. But despite its global status, it’s still a venue that feels cosy and intimate. The clue is in the name; with the interiors of this venue being out-of-this-world, transporting guests to a celestial ambiance with soft velvet seating, a twinkling ceiling and a marble black bar. With its later opening times, this is a bar to head to when you’re finishing late, or you’ve bar-hopped around a few other DIFC spots first.

Galaxy Bar, Ground Floor, Gate Village 9, DIFC, Dubai, Tues and Wed 8pm to 3am, Thur to Sat 9pm to 4am, Sun and Mon closed. Tel: (0)50 513 5908, galaxy-bar.com

Iris Dubai


Iris brings a free-spirited energy to Dubai’s nightlife scene with unrivalled vibes, handcrafted cocktails, and chilled-out rhythms. Located in Meydan, the elegant rooftop lounge is set against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai skyline making it the ideal sundowners spot. The menu takes inspiration from Japan, South America, and the Mediterranean with dishes such as crispy feta, soft shell crab bao buns, sea bass ceviche, and steak frites.

Iris Dubai, Meydan Grandstand, Dubai, Sun to Wed 6pm to 3am, Thurs and Fri 6pm to 4am, Sat 1pm to 4am. Tel: (056) 951 1442. @irisdubai



For a first date night with a view, make a date with the Park Hyatt’s NOEPE. It’s got that instant on-holiday vibe, thanks to its whitewashed colour scheme with nautical interiors, and it’s location perched on the edge of the marina. As the sun sets, the palm trees light up with twinkly lights, and cosy sofas round the fire pit serve as the ultimate date-night location to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

NOÉPE, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (0)4 602 1814hyatt.com

Salmon Guru

Located on the ground floor of Zaha Hadid’s glorious Opus building in Business Bay, Salmon Guru’s vibe hits different to other bars in the city. For starters, it’s a very intimate space that’s big on crazy. There are neon lightning bolts lining the ceiling and comic book ‘BAM’ signs fastened to the walls. It’s a heady mix of colour and lights, but don’t let the fun, in-your-face style of the bar fool you – the drinks and food here are world-class. Visit Salmon Guru daily between 5pm and 7pm and enjoy its special happy hour deal: Dhs195 per person, which includes three cocktails (from a choice of five, and one non-alcoholic), plus crisps, chips and dips and soya pods.

Salmon Guru Dubai, The Opus by Omniyat, Business Bay, daily 5pm to 2am. Tel: (052) 8149537. @salmongurudubai

Siddharta Lounge

If Dubai Marina is your choice of setting, Grosvenor House is the go-to pick for high-end restaurants and a buzzing atmosphere. As pretty as this bar is inside, it’s even better out on the terrace, where you’ll find a glam crowd mingling around the pool or lounging on leather cushions. The vibe is chilled in the week, with a more lively vibe with dancing and DJs until the early hours on the weekends. Pick a cosy spot looking out to the Marina, and settle in for an upscale, glamorous evening.

Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, open 5pm to midnight, Fri and Sat 5pm to 1am daily. Tel: (04) 317 6000. siddhartalounge.com 

The 44

Fancy a game at the world’s highest bowling alley? You’re in the right spot. Located within an American-style sports bar, you’ll find a double-lane alley complete with pool and pinball tables. During the week bowling is Dhs35 per person, per game. On weekends bowling is Dhs80 per person, per game.

The 44, Hilton, Al Habtoor City, daily noon to 2am. From Dhs35. Tel: (054) 5811758 @the44dubai

Images: Social/Provided