20 stunning top secret bars in Dubai for incognito sipping
Well, not-so-secret anymore…
Everyone likes to feel as if they’re ahead of the curve, having insider knowledge about what’s hot in Dubai. Well if you want to show your friends how well you know your bars, hit them with some of these top-secret nighttime venues.
Here are 20 top secret bars in Dubai to sip your cocktails incognito:
From the creators of Miss Lily’s and Indochine in the UAE comes Honeycomb Hi-Fi a new, homegrown concept. With a big focus on music, it’s described as a first-of-its-kind listening bar in the city. Inside, it’s got the feel of a secret record store for audiophiles in the know, with a High-Fidelity sound system, minimalistic interiors, and dim lighting. Found behind the wall of a cosy vinyl record shop inside the Pullman Hotel Downtown, inside Flip Side Record crew from Alserkal Avenue have curated a great showcase of vinyl collectables and classics to browse or purchase.
Pullman Hotel Downtown, Sun to Thur 8pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 8pm to 3am, Mon closed. Tel: (0)4 412 6666. @honeycombhifi
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It’s all in the name at Secret Room. Hidden behind an inconspicuous door inside F.R.N.D.S Grand Cafe this secret bar, has a rather intriguing vibe to it. Inspired by Japanese culture but it is so exclusive, to get in you have to apply via their website here and receive your own personalised code for entry. We will be signing up.
Secret Room, inside F.R.N.D.S Grand Cafe. secretroomdubai.com
From the moment you enter Nonsense’s interiors mystify the mind with 3D mural projections, artistic lighting that changes according to the vibe, and baristas wearing psychedelic masks. Open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11pm to 3am, the cocktail bar is infused with the atmosphere of the 1920s with plush purple velvet chairs, cosmic neon colours, soft lighting, and eccentric design.
Bund Lounge by Shanghai Me
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Stowed away inside Shanghai Me, we find ourselves at Bund Lounge. This is one of the secret bars where you see and be seen. Splash out at the venue with dark and enticing interiors. Elegance is everything at this swanky venue.
Bund Lounge by Shanghai Me, located inside Shanghai Me, Gate Village, DIFC, open Thu to Sat from midnight to 3am. @bundlounge
This new high-end after-dark bar is located at Turtle Lagoon, Jumeirah Al Naseem. What’s really unique about this new bar, is that it is hidden in plain sight. But while it may be hard to find, once you’re at the venue, you’ll find it hard to leave. The menu brags an array of mouth-watering bites with delicious sips created by an expert mixologist. And of course, your night will not be complete without some toe-tapping rhythmic soundtracks put together by a live DJ. The venue also boasts an outdoor terrace which will be perfect to soak in the moonlight and make the most of the beautiful winter weather.
This ultra-luxury late-night lounge is ranked number 45 in the World’s 50 Best Bars. But if you haven’t yet made your way inside the space-themed venue, you would be forgiven… Galaxy Bar runs on an ‘if you know, you know’ profile, and with capacity for only a handful of guests at a time, it’s not easy to get a reservation but it’s worth the wait.
Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors is an impressive drinking and dining scene at SLS Dubai. Tucked behind grand steakhouse Carna, Smoke and Mirrors is a Latin-inspired jazz bar with a prohibition-era feel. Dark woods, soft leathers and sparkling chandeliers all add to the speakeasy-feel, backdropped by sky-scraping city views. The extensive beverage menu pairs signature cocktails and spirits with an array of cigars.
Smoke and Mirrors, SLS Dubai, Business Bay, daily, 6pm to 3am. Tel: (056) 508 0655, @smokeandmirrorsdubai
The Green Room
You’ll find Green Room through a restricted corridor, and once inside you’ll see a sophisticated space with private booths and lush green velvet armchairs placed under dramatic chandeliers. A grand marble bar is lined with green bar stools, facing three large arch-shaped mirrors lit up with LED. An oriental floral wall paper adds pops of red and pink colour to the space, while a black and white striped flooring gives a retro feel.
Green Room, Soho Garden, Palm Jumeirah, daily 7pm to late. Tel: (0)54 233 5555. @greenroombysoho
Basko opened its doors as a 1960s-inspired Mediterranean restaurant at the end of December 2022, but did you know it’s also home to a stylish speakeasy bar upstairs? Called Suave, the hidden first-floor bar is reached via a mirrored, chandelier-adorned spiral staircase, where ruby red tassels fall from the ceiling to create a rose-like artwork above your head. Transporting you back in time to a world of glitz and glamour, a library of over 200 vintage records adorn the walls, with eclectic DJ sets of jazz, disco, old school funk entertaining guests until the early hours.
A sole black telephone in a box-like room is the indicator you’ve made it to Hudson Tavern, a speakeasy-style bar that’s bringing New York cool to Business Bay’s Hyde Hotel. This dimly lit, two-sided drinking den oozes date-night appeal: one more laid-back with leather booths built into cosy corners, the other sees a grand bar take centre stage, backed by a trio of alcoves packed with rainbow-coloured bottles and fancy glassware.
Hyde Hotel, Marasi Drive, Business Bay, daily 4pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 871 1111, @hudsontaverndubai
Hiding behind another business (La Cantine Du Faubourg, in this case) is an exciting concept for Dubai, but Gohan can’t conceal the crowds waiting to win entry to its small windowless barroom. Dimly lit cube lanterns, red hues, low ceilings and occasional intimate DJ shows create a slick Tokyo meets Flat Iron New York speakeasy aesthetic. Once inside, diners will experience elegant Japanese street food with a refined menu of skewers, sushi and gyoza, that use top quality ingredients, throwing the likes of fois gras and caviar into the mix to up the dishes to a Dubai ‘high life’ level.
Gohan, La Cantine Du Fauboug, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Mon to Fri noon to 4pm, daily 7pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 352 7105. @gohandubai
Off The Wall
Inspired by the back streets of Satwa, this quirky cocktail bar asks you to walk through the unassuming door and through a dark neon-lit tunnel. Once inside it’s surprisingly large, with a mix of high tables and cushy sofa seating. The spot prides itself on creating the best cocktails in town, with expert mixologists behind the bar.
Off The Wall, Hotel Indigo, Downtown Dubai, daily 5pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 210 2213. hotelindigodubai.com/social-spaces
CLAP’s hidden room, Ongaku, is located behind a mysterious discreet red door. Translating to music’ in Japanese, Ongaku is a high-energy late-night hangout drawing inspiration from Tokyo’s electric nightlife scene.
Ongaku, inside CLAP, DIFC, Gate Village Building 11, level 9. Tel: (0)4 569 3820. claprestaurant.com
Paramount, the Hollywood-themed hotel in Downtown Dubai, has a secret speakeasy bar that you may not have heard of yet. Called Flashback, it’s located behind a secret door, and you’ll have to ask the team at the front desk for its location. The theme is full 1920’s prohibition era, complete with furry barstools and retro gramophone. Pull up a chair and watch the mixologists get to work on creating you a theatrical cocktail. There’s even a happy hour every day from 4pm to 8pm.
Flashback, behind a secret door, Paramount Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai. (04) 246 6666. paramounthotelsdubai.com
Storyteller by BABA
You might think you’ve explored every corner of the popular Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi hotel, but did you know there’s a hidden bar inside? Storyteller by BABA claims to be the smallest bar in the city, seating only 25 guests at a time. We challenge you to find the hidden door and uncover the 1920s-esque decor, sample the whimsical cocktails and take pride in the knowledge you knew about it before everyone else.
Storyteller by BABA, Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, daily, 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 511 7373. marriott.com
Voyage by Amelia
Amelia Lounge is a jaw-dropping spot for partying in an incredible setting. Now the brand has unveiled a secret room upstairs, called Voyage by Amelia, and it’s an exclusive club you’re going to want to be a part of. Accessed via a private elevator, it’s a secret spot for those in the know. The venue’s dedication to the 1920s steampunk era continues with plush velvet vintage-inspired furniture designed to resemble retro pieces of luggage, heightening the senses of space and time. Open every Thursday to Saturday from 11pm until the early hours, the musical focus will be deep house, ensuring the vibe is always on point.
Voyage by Amelia, Amelia Lounge, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Thur to Sat from 11pm till late, Tel: (0)4 328 2805, @voyagebyamelia
KnoX is a lesser-known bar on the Palm Jumeirah, inside Andaz Dubai the Palm. It’s described as an ‘underground playroom set to challenge the status quo’, a cocktail bar with industrial design and vibrant furniture. To gain access, all you need to do is give ‘two knox’ on the large metal door and leave your cares behind.
KnoX, Andaz Dubai the Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Tues to Thur and Sun 7pm to 3am, Fri and Sat 7pm to 5am, closed Monday. Tel: (04) 581 1234. hyatt.com
Wander up the stairs that circle around the bar at City Social, and to your left, you’ll find a door. Through that door – 7 Tales awaits. Another Japanese-inspired venue, the walls are coated with depictions of geishas and other traditional art. The menu is unique featuring signature cocktails such as the Crimson Deamon, a gin-based drink.
7 Tales, inside City Social, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, open Mon to Sat 7pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 402 2222 7talesdubai.com
Behind the Yellow Door
Behind the Yellow Door is the speakeasy found at the back of JW Marriott Marquis’ Weslodge. The hidden venue promises an intimate and expedient ambience, where high-energy funk meets electronic disco and dancers dressed in Victorian Steampunk outfits. To help keep the space under the radar, guests must follow the rules, including no flash photography while in the venue.
Behind the Yellow Door, Weslodge, JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay. Tel: (04) 350 9288. @weslodgedubai
If you’ve paid a visit to the restaurant on everyone’s lips, Gaia, you might have come away thinking it’s a charming, Greek taverna. But, hidden underneath is a secret club called NYX which has hosted the likes of hip-hop superstar 50 cent. Information on how to gain access to this club has been kept tightly under wraps but we’re sure it won’t be long until the venue reveals itself to the world.
NYX, Gaia Dubai, DIFC Gate Village 4, Dubai. Tel: (04) 241 4242. gaia-dubai.com
Images: Supplied and social