We’ve reached that wonderful time of year when it’s okay to go outside again. One of the very best things about living in Dubai is the ability to soak up rays of sunshine while chilling with pals, and there’s now a new venue made for just that.
Café Artois has set up shop in the outdoor space along the side of the JW Marriott Marquis that overlooks Dubai Water Canal. It’s essentially an extension of sports bar Bridgewater Tavern with the differences being that kids are allowed, there are no screens for sports and, erm, it’s outside. There’s also a stage for live music, with bands performing on Saturdays (Dubai favourites The Boxtones have a regular slot).
As the name might give away, drinks are of a reassuringly expensive kind. Hops are mostly Belgian, there is grape on tap and there are a selection of bottled craft hops. Food is similar to indoors – but with more grills – and there’s a good selection of burgers, wings, salads.
The space hasn’t been decorated to extravagantly, with pretty standard picnic-style benches and tall tables dotted around. The view to the canal (or more accurately, view from the boardwalk inwards) is obscured by bushes, somewhat boxing the boasts of Canal-side views).
Service needs to improve. On both our visits there are lots of staff members, but all seem confused about what is and isn’t available and take a long time to bring orders – despite the venue being almost empty. There’s nothing spectacular about Café Artois, so the basics need to be done right for it to make waves on the scene. It has potential, though.
The bottom line Could be a decent winter spot, with work.