You’d be forgiven for getting lost somewhere in the vast expanse of new bar and club openings on the JBR scene over the past few months. There’s Lock, Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk, Inner City Zoo, a new McGettigan’s and a second Dubai Black Tap is due to open soon, too.
Then there’s Scarlet Cardinal, a live music venue that this part of town has been crying out for.
And it’s a live music venue that puts live music first. It’s also a live music venue that has wildly differing styles from one night to the next. From throwback acoustic pop from the ’60s one night to electro swing the next – no one can say that Scarlet Cardinal isn’t trying to get the JBR music scene moving.
When we turn up to the Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach on a Wednesday night, we’re optimistic. It’s easily found (follow the loud music and the sound of partygoers emanating from inside), and we’re delighted when we walk in – it’s very busy. Not so full that we can’t get to the bar (which still could do with one or two extra barmen, pumps and tills), but it’s busy enough to have a great vibe.
The interior is, as expected at a cabaret-style club, all swathes of red leather with a handful of sofas, high stools around the bar, plus a prominently positioned stage complete with stereotypical red velvet curtains.
The live act we see could be pleasantly nostalgic, but comes across a little too cheesy for our liking.
Expect to pay something of a premium on drinks with no obvious promotions – but this is a lively bar that has potential.
The bottom line A fun – and welcome – live music spot in JBR.