Dubai is a city of superb sunsets. Dominic Beesley reveals best places to make the most of them (and the happy hour deals that coincide)
Thanks to Dubai’s amazing weather, we get sunshine all day long and spectacular sunsets every evening (unless you’re reading this on one of the roughly two days a year that it rains). There’s nothing better than kicking back at a chilled-out spot watching the city go from day to night, and there are dozens of picturesque places across town for this. Whether a beach bar or rooftop lounge is more your speed, we’ve rounded up some the Dubai’s most idyllic offerings.
You’ll find this bar at the end of a walkway that stretches out to sea and around Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s marina – don’t worry, there’s a golf buggy on hand to ferry you back and forth. It’s the name implies, it’s completely circular, giving you 360-degree views of the nearby hotels and waters of the Arabian Gulf.
You’ll get some of the best views of the Burj Khalifa from this poolside bar in the heart of Downtown Dubai. While they’re obviously spectacular at any time of day or night, everything looks better at sunset. The bar itself looks pretty chic, too.
Watch the sun go down over the sand dunes at Bab Al Shams’ rooftop bar. Designed to look like a Majlis, complete with Arabesque lanterns and comfortable cushions everywhere, it’ll put all thoughts of the city out of your head.
You’ll find Bahri Bar around the back of Mina A’Salam, with a terrace that looks across to the Burj Al Arab and out over the Arabian Gulf. If you go along on a Friday be prepared to jostle with the post-brunch crowd. It’s best to go during the week if you’re looking for a quiet night out.
Happy hour: Sat-Mon and Wed-Thu 4pm-9pm. Open Sat-Wed 4pm-2am, Thu-Fri 4pm-3am.
One of the most popular bars in Dubai, it might be tough finding a seat to watch the sunset from here. It’s well worth a visit. Barasti wasn’t named one of the top ten beach bars in the world by Cheapflights in 2013 for nothing…
There are a number of these pubs dotted around the city, but this one in Dubai Festival City, overlooking the Creek, is the original (and our favourite). Sit out on the terrace on the shores of the Creek with a plate of bitterballen and admire the view.
Set by the pool, where there are plenty of sofas and sun loungers from which to watch the sun sink below the horizon, this sophisticated bar is a game changer on the sundowners scene. Looking out to the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, everything at this venue feels just that little bit nicer than anywhere you can imagine – the sand is that bit whiter, the sea that little bit bluer. It’s tastefully laid out and oozes class. For that feeling of Malibu, Miami or the Côte d’Azur in Dubai, there’s simply nowhere else like it.
If you want to get out of the city, set your sights on the casual calm of Captain’s at the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort. The bar looks out over a pristine private beach, so you shouldn’t have anyone wandering past and spoiling the view. Just try to get a table looking towards the Palm Jebel Ali and the waters of the Arabian Gulf rather than the nearby docks.
This bar up on the roof of the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, offers one of the best views in Dubai, with the Creek and the city skyline laid out in front of you – go and have a look if you don’t believe us. It’s styled like an Ibiza bar, with everything in shades of blue and white, and a resident DJ spinning house tunes.
Jumeirah Creekside Hotel’s rooftop bar, which sits on the eighth floor of the hotel, Cu-Ba isn’t as high up as some of the other rooftop bars on this list. But it still offers panoramic views of the sun setting over the Creek and Downtown on the far-off horizon. It’s well worth a visit.
This bar in Business Bay has a small outdoor patio, but inside there are floor-to-ceiling windows, so wherever you manage to find a seat you’re not going to miss out on the view. It’s up on the 27th floor and the bar faces the Burj Khalifa. There’s live music on Sunday and Tuesday evenings and a menu of unique mixed drinks, so you can relax here after a tiring weekend.
Not technically on a jetty, this bar is right on the beach at the One&Only Royal Mirage. With a number of low sofas and comfy sunbeds, it’s a chilled place to sit and watch the sun go down after a long day at the office.
This is the place to go if you want to watch sport – it has many screens. It also has a long outdoor terrace looking out over the nearby pitches, so you can watch the sunset and some football while you’re at it. There’s also a pool table, foosball tables and a hops pong table to keep you occupied.
One of the highest bars in Dubai, this rooftop bar looks out over Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown Dubai. There are plenty of seats out on the terrace, and if the weather’s good, you should be able to make out the sun setting over the Palm Jumeirah. If not, at least you’ve got a good view of the rest of Dubai.
Grab a seat on the terrace behind The Address Montgomerie Dubai’s clubhouse and you’ll get an unobstructed view of the sun setting behind Dubai Marina’s skyscrapers. You’ll also be able to sit and watch people practising their swing on the driving range or playing their way around the par 3, just in case the sunset isn’t interesting enough for you.
Out towards the end of the Palm Jumeirah’s eastern crescent, this bar boasts picturesque views of the rest of the Palm. Inside, there are floor-to-ceiling windows to watch the sunset from, or you can grab a sofa out on the terrace. Since it’s Thai-inspired, it also offers Asian snacks and mixed drinks to enjoy while day turns into night.
This rooftop bar on the eighth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in DIFC offers breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa as well as the towers of DIFC – even after the sun has gone below the horizon, there’s still lots to look at. There’s a spacious terrace outside with plenty of seating, or you can sit inside by the bar and look out through the huge windows.
The Arabian Ranches branch of Maison Mathis sits just around the side of the Golf Club. The Belgian bar and restaurant has a long terrace that looks out over the nearby greens and driving range, so you can watch people play as the sun goes down behind them.
You’ll get two great views for the price of one here. In one direction, you’ll see the Burj Khalifa and in the other, you’ll be looking out over the Arabian Gulf. The rooftop bar is a chic place to watch the sunset, too, and there’s a mix of the old and the new, with Arabesque architecture and a futuristic, orb-shaped bar.
Located at the foot of the iconic Atlantis The Palm, Nasimi Beach has unbeatable views of the sun setting over the Palm Jumeirah, and if it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see the rest of the city, too. The beachside club has seen live performances from the likes of David Guetta and Years & Years, but it’s also good for just chilling on the sand with sundowners.
This bar and restaurant is right on the beach, overlooking the Arabian Gulf, so it’s a laid-back place for sundowners – it’s fine to turn up barefoot, for example. It serves up island-inspired food and mixed drinks, too, with a barbecue every Saturday night.
Since it’s up on the 35th floor, try not to look down. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating here, although, there’s no point going inside when, from this high up you can enjoy the unparalleled views of JBR, the Palm or the Arabian Gulf – depending on which way you turn your head – al fresco.
Located on a terrace built out over the Creek, if you’re looking for comfy sofas to sit and watch the sunset from by the water, this is the place to visit. It gets busy at weekends, but it’s worth heading to just for the view.
A relatively new addition to the Burj Al Arab, on a 10,000 square metre terrace that fans out over the water, Scape gives you unimpeded views of the sunset and the waters of the Arabian Gulf. All that’s going to get in the way are a few yachts. Since it’s at the back of the Burj Al Arab, you’ll also be able to see the hotel from an angle you’ve probably never seen it from before.
The terrace backs right onto the beach meaning you’re only steps from the sea at this spot – star of this week’s cover. There are plenty of comfortable sofas and tables on the terrace and even if you’re at a table inside the restaurant, you’ll still be able to see the sun setting, thanks to the huge windows.
Media One’s poolside bar has had a bit of a revamp recently, so if you haven’t been for a while, go back and see what’s changed. It’s more chilled, with plenty of tables and sofas by the bar as well as around the pool. And you get the added treat of another bar from which to see the sun retreat, as Garden on 8 is just around the corner.
At the top of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, you’ll have views of some of the city’s most iconic sights (apart from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, for obvious reasons). The Burj Al Arab is a stone’s throw away, and you can see Downtown in the distance. There are only a few tables at the edge of the bar offering the best views – you might have to fight for them.
The bar is right near the Drop Zone of Skydive Dubai, but fear not, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend your time ducking to avoid parachutists while your sipping sundowners. You can either lounge by the pool or make yourself comfortable on a sofa up on the balcony, while the venue turns from beach club to nightclub for the evening.
Al Qudra At more than 90km long, Al Qudra bike track is one of the best places to go cycling in Dubai. It goes out into the desert, meaning you can watch the sun set over the dunes – and get to do a bit of exercise while you’re there, too. Free. Al Qudra Road.
An Abra Head to the old part of Dubai, along the shores of the Dubai Creek, and hail an abra, a traditional Arabic boat. You can pay a dirham just to cross the Creek, or you can rent a boat for an hour. Dhs100. Bur Dubai or Deira.
Desert barbecue Gather a group of friends and head out into the desert for a barbecue at sunset. Some of the best spots are up Umm Suqeim Street, past Arabian Ranches and Studio City. Check out Al Qudra Lakes and Bab Al Shams, too. Just make sure your car doesn’t get stuck. Free. Various locations including Bab Al Shams, Al Qudra Road.
Desert safari You can’t say you’ve lived in Dubai until you’ve been out into the desert in a 4x4, driving up and down some sand dunes several times. Desert Safari Dubai offers evening tours, and they’ll stop to let you watch the sunset after a dune-bashing session. Dhs175 (adults), Dhs125 (kids aged three to ten. Daily 3pm-9pm, www.desertsafaridubai.com (050 276 8111).
Dubai Miracle Garden The world’s largest natural flower garden, it’s home to more than 109 million plants, including a flower replica of an Emirates A380. It’s open until 11pm, so you can stay long after the sun has gone. Dhs40 (adults), Dhs30 (kids aged three to 12), free (kids aged two and under) Sun-Thu 9am-9pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11pm. Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Barsha South 3, www.dubaimiraclegarden.com (04 422 8902).
Dubai Water Canal The nine kilometre Dubai Water Canal was finished and filled late last year, and now you can stroll along the Canal’s promenade, even passing under Sheikh Zayed Road at one point. When the sun goes down, you’ll get spectacular views of Dubai’s skyscrapers. Free. Sheikh Zayed Road.
Kite Beach You don’t have to fly a kite here – you could just sit on the beach and watch the sunset. There are plenty of other things to do here, though, with cafés and food trucks aplenty to keep you busy. Or you could also play volleyball then have a go in the skatepark. Free. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim.
Yoga outdoors Talise Spa at the Madinat Jumeirah holds daily sunset yoga sessions on the beach. Watch the sun go down while attempting warrior two. Dhs90. daily 5.30pm. Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6818).