Time Out cruises Dubai’s hotels in search of our favourite lounges. Click to see 10 of our highlights
While the rest of the world packs its buckets and spades and heads off for a fortnight of fun in the sun, we Dubai-dwellers are donning our finest lightweight fashions and keeping movement to a minimum.
But that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on all of the holiday action.
We’ve found 10 Dubai bars with drinks lists that will have Tom Cruise shaking in his stack heels. Let the summer commence.
Vista: At least one Time Out editor ranks this Creekside watering hole as being the best in Dubai. The view (as the name suggests) is among the best in Dubai. Hanging from the back of the Intercontinental Hotel (just 2 minutes walk from Festival City mall) Vista overlooks the dhow ship building yard, a helicopter landing pad and the world’s tallest building. Like Intercontinental hotels the world over (menus show off the delights of sister-bars in Bora Bora, Bali and Sydney) it is a sight to remember. But the view is not the only breathtaking aspect of this ultra-chic venue. A range of drinks are freshly made and imaginative. Watching the sun set while supping a Superb Colada (a creamy combo of raspberry and coconut) gives you one of those special Dubai chills: the type that make you want to phone friends back home and brag about what a wonderful life you are living. Could you really ask for any more?
Ginseng: If you ignore the drab surroundings and buttock-numbingly uncomfortable seats, a drink or two at this well-established Wafi spot is the perfect way to while away a midweek evening. Ginseng is slightly let down by its location, relying on established locals for most of its trade and this often means it lacks atmosphere. Luckily, the drinks and friendly service make up for it. The kiwi flavoured James Bond favourite rank among the best of the bunch, closely followed by their espresso-infused neighbours.
Sky View Bar: As the spiritual, and official, home of the world’s most expensive drink, if it’s luxury you’re after, a tipple at the top of the Burj Al Arab will not disappoint. What the décor lacks in taste, it makes up for in bling and for those to whom money is no object, the ultimate indulgence is only an order away. Mega-rich guests can now eschew the usual list in favour of a glass of a 55-year-old Scottish beverage, complete with ice cubes made from water near the Scottish distillery, served in an 18-carat gold Baccarat tumbler, and all for just $7,440 a glass. We’ll take a dozen. Well, we would, but creators have promised to make no more than 10 of them with each buyer receiving a certificate to prove their ultimate poshness.
Trader Vic's Mai-Tai Lounge: Trader Vic’s has a reputation and an extensive menu. Try the pineapple-based mixture or the non-alcoholic Coral Reef, a mix of fresh strawberries, mango puree, pineapple and ice and let the live band give you a taste of Polynesian paradise.
Bahri Bar: A favourite venue among the Mina A’Salam’s Friday brunchers, due to its polite proximity to the downstairs dining, and glam interiors, Bahri Bar is a top spot for a quick drink at this end of town. The drinks match the magnificent views and will satisfy traditionalists, while those in search of a more unusual beverage will find a range to impress any dedicated connoisseur on the bar’s innovative, though predictably pricey, menu.
Crossroads Cocktail Bar: If you, like us, find it impossible to separate a trip to Raffles from a colonial-style beverage, Crossroads Cocktail Bar, the hotel’s latest venture in our fair emirate will not disappoint. As with all things Raffles-based, their finely muddled drinks don’t come cheap but the smooth service and sumptuous surroundings go some way to make up for spending your hard-earned Dirhams on one of these fancy numbers. And if the excitement of sipping in style wasn’t enough to tempt you through the doors, they have their own version of an iconic Singaporean beverage.
Après: Après is the emirate’s only ski lodge themed bar and eatery, and the perfect place to take the kids after a hectic couple of hours on the slopes. What you may not have realised, is that it is one of the more surprising places to try one of Dubai’s top beverages.
Buddha Bar: If you like to incorporate one of you five a day into your evening tipple, then one of Buddha Bar’s berry-themed creations will be right up your street. Blackberry-infused beverages, expertly crushed with fresh fruit and ice, blend to create the bar’s signature concoctions. For a touch of celebrity glamour with your drink, try a Blueberry & Ginger Sour, said to be the preferred mix of Hollywood favourite Jonny Depp when he stops by.
Vu's Bar: In the ilk of many a Dubai establishment, Vu’s does what it says, or at least intimates, on the tin. Plush interiors add to the glamourous look of the place while an elegant list and a mouthwatering array of snacks go some way to softening the blow of the hefty bill. If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, soak up the panoramic views of the city over one of the bar’s signature concoctions while congratulating yourself on your fabulous life.
Senyar: As The Westin flung open its doors earlier this year, so did its in house bar, Seynar. Minimal interiors make way for a comprehensive list and while snacks are thin on the ground, quality ingredients, live music, and eager to please staff make a trip to one of the city’s newest spots thoroughly pleasant experience. For a real taste of what this new venue has to offer, let staff knock you up a creation of your own with ingredients of your choice.