27 of the best Dubai date night bars that make a great first impression
From cool and casual to ultra-romantic…
There are a lot of variables behind how any given date will go. Some of them are beyond your control (and you can sidestep a good few of those by avoiding a white-cream colour palette for your outfit choice), but others lay firmly within your sphere of influence. Like the setting. Here we’re giving you options for a rendezvous with a view – romantic alfresco terraces, suave cocktail joints, on-trend vibe hives and places with human-navigable windows in the restroom in case things start going down hill fast.
Great for these dates: jazzy nights for artful types
One for the cool kids, and I absolutely understand that using the term ‘cool kids’ immediately excludes you from being under that umbrella. Soul Kitchen is another Beirut-born concept that opened its doors in Business Bay earlier this year. It comes from the creative minds of artist collective, The Factory People (AMH, Isolé), and so it’s perhaps unsurprising that Soul Kitchen has music strumming in the double-bass pairs of its DNA. What’s cooking in the kitchen? Alongside razor’s edge trend-tripping live performances, you can expect funk-framed art pieces, exciting cocktails, and flavours inspired by the culinary wonder of the Levant and Latin America.
Soul Kitchen, Marasi Drive, Business Bay, Dubai. Daily 5pm to 1am. Tel:(0)4 836 0900. soulkitchendxb.com
Great for these dates: sundowners with a sultry stage
It may be less than a year old, but with three nominations in the 2023 What’s On Nightlife Awards, Above Eleven has clearly made its mark on Dubai’s soirèe scene. It was inspired by the original Bangkok concept, which sits above the electric nightlife of street Soi 11. This Dubai incarnation also occupies a lofty perch, dazzling revellers beneath its maze of arching neon branches on Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah’s rooftop. Perhaps its strongest set of USPs is the truly spectacular views of Dubai Marina, Ain Dubai and the wild horizon-chasing blues of the Gulf. Pair that with a vibrant Peruvian-Japanese menu; three distinct spheres of date-nighting (the restaurant, lounge, and sky bar); live entertainment; transportive design themes; an inescapable sensation of sophistication, and you find yourself with one of our top picks for places that show off this city (and your proficiency for ‘knowing a spot’) in the best possible light.
Rooftop, Palm West Beach, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah. Sun to Thu, bar: 4pm to 1am, restaurant: 6pm to 11.30pm. Fri to Sat, bar: 4pm to 2am, restaurant: 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 666 1420, @aboveelevendubai
Bar du Port
Great for these dates: harbour lights and snazzy bites
Bar du Port (or BDP if you insist on Gen Z brevity) sits on the waterfront of Dubai Harbour and is naturally endowed with big date energy. It’s part of the latest wave of high-profile Beirut bar imports, and that is a city that knows how to do romance right. At this Dubai location, you get a rhythmic lullaby of harbour yachts as your backdrop, a menu of mixed modern Mediterranean bites, and a suitably sophisticated drinks menu. The low lighting is forgiving of midweek, post-work meet-ups, and the shipwreck chic thatching gives the whole venue a naughty little nautical vibe.
Bar Du Port, Dubai Harbour, Dubai Marina, Mon to Fri 5pm to 3pm, Sat & Sun 1pm to 3am. Tel: (0)50 969 9820. @barduportdubai
Great for these dates: first dates and sharing plates
The Dubai Edition Hotel welcomed a stunning new cocktail bar this summer, its name is… Agora. With strong Grecian influences (the name comes from the Ancient Greek for open public spaces), a forest jade and weathered gold design theme, a botanical cocktail bar full of exotic sips and an upwardly-leaning social club – this truly is a place that makes a very good first impression.
Agora, The Edition Hotel, Downtown Dubai, open Mon to Thu 6pm to 1am, Fri to Sun 3pm to 3am. @agora_dxb
Great for these dates: serene green scenes
For superb DIFC views and a romantic setting, Ninive is your swanky silver bullet. Overlooking the muse-arches of the gate building and offering pirouetting panoramic skyline views, the Middle Eastern restaurant’s chic Bedouin aesthetic is designed as a contemporary urban majlis set in a secret lush green garden. Completely outside, Ninive consists of a succession of fabric tents arranged around a central open-air courtyard filled with rugs and lanterns, low tables and cosy sofas. A menu of classic cocktails and sublime Turkish and Middle Eastern delicacies, courtesy of chef Gilles Bosquet, make it a favourite among residents and visitors.
Ninive, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sun to Thur 6pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 6pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 326 6105. @ninivedubai
Great for these dates: when vibe is more important than whispered conversation
Putting a tree in the middle of a room is no guarantee of a great night out. Fortunately, a reservation at Iris – which does coincidently have a tree in the centre of its main staging area, does borderline guarantee a great date night out. Buzzy, and full of high-energy charm, this elegant Meydan rooftop lounge is set against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai skyline making it an unreal spot for sophisticated sundowners. Hungry? The menu takes inspiration from Japan, South America, and the Mediterranean.
Iris Dubai, Meydan Grandstand, Dubai, Tues to Sat 5pm to 3am, Sun and Mon 5pm to 2am. Tel: (056) 951 1442. @irisdubai
Tiki’s at Canary Club
Great for these dates: after dinner JLT drinks
With its plant-strewn, open-air rooftop terrace, fans of this Palm Springs-meets-Tulum hotspot from The Maine man Joey Ghazal, absolutely live for alfresco season. This hidden gem, located on the second floor of JLT’s Canary Club, promises a pocket of lush tropical foliage overlooking the city. A superb place for sundowners for the well-heeled, Tiki’s Canary Club has its own drinks menu with 12 exclusive cocktails and a range of sushi sharing platters. It practically screams perfect date night.
Canary Club, Banyan Tree Residences, JLT, Mon to Thur noon to 1am, Fri and Sat noon to 2am, Sun noon to 1am. Tel: (0)4 584 5999. @canaryclubdxb
Great for these dates: vibey winter nights
Straight from the European capital of nightlife concepts that people are willing to queue around the block for, Berlin import Monkey Bar has plugged itself into the Dubai scene from a nest on top of a reputation-appropriate monolith of mode – 25hours Hotel. Come for the scintillating Latin menu, a glimpse of the future (the Museum of the Future), or the beat parade from its nightly lineup of live DJs.
25hours Hotel, Dubai One Central, Trade Centre, Dubai, open daily Sun to Thurs 5pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 5pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 210 2566. @monkeybardubai
Great for these dates: making a good impression
From the team that served Sushisamba, Aura Skypool, Drift Beach Dubai and Signor Sassi (Sunset Hospitality Group) – we present, Attiko. It’s considered impolite to talk about deck size on the first date, but this sleek space sits on a whopper, offering powder palette views of Palm Jumeirah sunsets from the 31st floor of W Dubai – Mina Seyahi. Dine out on modern and classic Pan-Asian dishes as well as an extensive menu of master craft mixology. Open each evening, guests can enjoy tasty bites and drinks in a vibrant atmosphere, with DJs spinning deep, soulful, energetic music.
Attiko, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina, open daily, Sun to Fri 5pm to 2am, Sat 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 2am, Tel:(0)4 350 9983, theattiko.com
Great for these dates: dinner and a show but make it classy
Parisian stunner Josette wears many hats, most of them berets in fairness – but with an interior wardrobe designed by Luke Edward Hall, they were never going to be anything less than extravagantly fabulous. The ICD Brookfield Place restaurant cuts a chic spot for breakfast date pastries, and lingering lunches, but in the evenings – it slips into something more spectacular. Refined cabaret, song and dance numbers with ‘press for Champagne’ buttons on each table, and a menu of full-blooded unashamed French furore. Five ‘regrette riens‘ out of five.
Josette Dubai, ICD Brookfield Place, DIFC. Daily from 9am to 11.30am, midday to 3pm, 7pm to 3am. @josettedubai
TVM @ The Fridge
Great for these dates: bar vibes without the booze
A few years ago the idea of an Irish bar without alcohol might have seemed like an unfathomable contradiction. And although the faint chimes of cognitive dissonance will still clink in the background for some, the growing global TVM (The Virgin Mary) project is a beautiful symbol of progress. Located in Alserkal live music hot spot, The Fridge – this bar delivers all the vibes, all the mixology, all the craic, just none of the skull-cracking hangover the next day. She’s a spicy one, this TVM.
he Fridge, Warehouse 5, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, Tues to Sun, 12pm to 9pm, @tvmatthefridge
Level 43 Sky Lounge
Great for these dates: awe and amour of the city
A neon-hemmed rooftop lounge on top of the Four Points by Sheraton, Level 43 is one of the best rooftop bars in Dubai for drinks with a view of the sparkling city skyline. From this lofty spot, you get to enjoy views of Sheikh Zayed Road in all its frenetic glory, while dining on quirky tapas and sushi. They have some great promotions throughout the week and some very snug pashminas for the cooler months.
Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Bur Dubai, daily from 2pm to 3am. Tel: (056) 414 2213. level43lounge.com
Great for these dates: Martini moments
Dubai has more than its fair share of leafy terrace bars but you’ll find few with the romantic grandeur and easy Gallic charm, as that of La Cantine du Faubourg. The breezy botanical showpiece of this pinnacle of Parisian chic, the terrace, has now reopened and is welcoming guests back to the great outdoors. Found in the arrondissement of Dubai Financial Centre, La Cantine du Faubourg serves up a menu of French and international dishes. Chef Gilles Bosquet uses premium seasonal produce to put together statement signatures such as beef short ribs, yellowfin ceviche, veal Milanese and lobster spaghetti. It’s a venue described by its creators as “an artistic rendezvous, a lifestyle statement” and one that speaks with a strong French accent, whispering of art, music, images, food and l’amour.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 352 7105. @lacantinedubai
Great for these dates: sophisticated speakeasy sips
From Soho London to DIFC, Alma Bar is the newest cocktail bar in DIFC. Located within Sucre, Alma Bar is an enchanting venue that celebrates the union of art, creativity and culture. Inspired by vintage glamour and the spirit of the modern-day Middle East, the venue is a fusion of eras from across the globe while also paying tribute to the past and the present. Come here for cool cocktails and a glam crowd.
Alma Bar, inside Sucre, Podium Level, Gate Village 5, DIFC, Mon to Thu 6pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 6pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 227 5569. @sucredubai
Great for these dates: late nights in a Latin jungle
Dubai’s DIFC is arguably the city’s most cosmopolitan district and if you haven’t checked out rainforest-inspired Amazonico then it’s time to get it on your must-visit list. The beautiful restaurant boasts an equally stunning rooftop terrace, complete with a DJ booth, fabulous cocktails and Latin American-inspired nibbles.
Barfly by Buddha Bar
Great for these dates: beats, eats and lofty seats
Taking up residence on the rooftop of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah is Barfly by Buddha-Bar, a Paris-born, internationally-renowned concept. Perched atop the 13th floor of the hotel, the expansive terrace gazes out over Palm West Beach below, and across to Dubai Marina and Bluewaters. For alfresco drinks with a view, few can rival Barfly by Buddha-Bar in this part of town. Though as much as the food offering is extensive and the decor befitting of the theme, it’s in the extravagant cocktails and panoramic views where Barfly by Buddha-Bar really shines.
Barfly by Buddha-Bar, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, The Palm, 5pm to 1am weekdays, 5pm to 2am weekends. Tel: (0)4 423 0000, barflydubai.ae
Great for these dates: chic speakeasy rendezvous
Located within the Jumeirah Al Naseem Lagoon, Blind Tiger is a modern-era speakeasy that brings a little after-dark amusement to the Jumeirah Al Naseem restaurant roster. The luxurious venue features emerald green hues with warm hints of Japanese opulence, complete with an outdoor terrace to make the most of the beautiful winter weather. Offering an array of immaculate drinks and mouth-watering bites, the menus have been carefully curated by expert mixologists who will be on hand to ensure that your beverage is replenished at all times.
Caña by Tamoka
Great for these dates: a certain special occasion
Tamoka is nestled right on the beachfront at JBR, meaning visitors are treated to incredible sea views and the Ain Dubai. Beyond the restaurant is seating right out on the beach, with a winding path leading to Caña by Tamoka, the venue’s very own circular beach bar, which has its own DJ booth and is the perfect spot for sundowners. It’s a breezy spot with no reservations, so just come as you are and enjoy the live music and incredible sunsets.
Caña by Tamoka, Al Mamsha Street, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR, daily 12pm to 10pm. @tamokadubai
Great for these dates: classy cocktails and a round of ‘would you rather?’
Thanks to appearing on the World’s Best Bars list on multiple occasions, 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 perfect spot for impressing your date with delicious cocktails and a cool vibe. The clue is in the name; with the interiors of this venue being out-of-this-world, transporting guests to a celestial ambience 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
Great for these dates: people watching and gram glamour
With a big focus on music, Honeycomb Hi-Fi is 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 on the second floor of 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. Alongside the main room, guests can also visit ‘The Gallery,’ a smaller, elevated space and ‘The Garden,’ an industrial-looking terrace. The rotation of DJs and music curators is diverse and guests can expect anything on the turntables from electronic to jazz, soul and world music.
Honeycomb Hi-Fi, Pullman Hotel Downtown, 7.30pm to 2am Tues to Thu and Sun, 7.30pm to 2am Fri and Sat. Tel: (0)4 412 6666, @honeycombhifi
Great for these dates: classy, secluded, getting-to-know-yous
Forgoing the usual Dubai mantra that bigger is better, Jass Lounge has seating for roughly 40, but even that many seats feels like a squeeze. The walls are painted in aegean blue with gold accents everywhere from the fully-stocked bar shelves to the ornate gold archway entrance, to a corner bookshelf stacked filled with gold photo frames of the world’s greatest jazz artists. It’s an intimate, cosy spot for a romantic date night with excellent cocktails and a roster of live music acts ranging from soulful jazz classics to Latin jazz and even jazz tunes with Oud.
Jass Lounge, Gate District 2, DIFC, 6pm to 3am daily. Tel: (050) 912 4242, @jasslounge
Great for these dates: sand-under-toe soirèes
Jetty Lounge is arguably one of Dubai’s most famous date-night spots. Perched on the waterfront, you’ve got the option to sit with your toes in the sand at one of the tables that gaze out to the water, or on the elevated terrace. It’s got a chilled vibe, though the setting makes it an uber-romantic location that’s perfect for sunset. For ultimate wow-factor, take a speedboat from the jetty to 101 for dinner after.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, daily 3pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 399 9999. royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com
Great for these dates: putting on the posh fits
The jewel atop of the Four Seasons, Mercury Lounge is a glamorous Dubai rooftop bar with one-of-a-kind views: overlooking the Dubai skyline and the Burj Khalifa on one side, and the Arabian Gulf on the other. It’s got a laid-back feel despite the luxe location, and although this is a lovely rooftop bar, the food is excellent too.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 2707777. fourseasons.com
Great for these dates: vacation sweetheart vibes
For squeezing the most out of alfresco season, make a date with 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.
NOÉPE, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (0)4 602 1814, hyatt.com
The Rooftop at folly
Great for these dates: folie à deux
folly is one of our favourite spots in the Madinat thanks to its now famous folly pops (why didn’t we think to dip ice lollies in prosecco before?) and picturesque views of the waterways. The rooftop at folly is about as romantic as it gets, especially at sunset as you watch the sun sink into the water.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12pm to late. Tel: (04) 430 8535. folly.ae
Salotta by Chic Nonna
Great for these dates: Manhattan dreaming
Above the What’s On Award-winning Chic Nonna in DIFC sits Salotta by Chic Nonna, a beautiful lounge for those in the know. Come here in the week for an intimate, relaxed vibe, where you can enjoy a date night over some expertly crafted tipples. The feel is distinctly more up-tempo on the weekends, with DJs spinning electric sets until the early hours.
Salotta by Chic Nonna, Zone D, South Market, Gate Avenue, DIFC, 7pm to late daily. Tel: (0)4 605 2000, chicnonna.com
Great for these dates: raving and hedonsitic behaving
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, 6pm to 1am Sun to Thurs, 6pm to 2am Fri, 6pm to 2am Sat. Tel: (04) 317 6000. siddhartalounge.com
Images: What’s On Archive