We check out al-fresco venue ahead of big relaunch 17 Reviews
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It’s only natural to fear change. After five months of anticipation, we were looking forward to the all-new 360° more than anyone. As much as we liked the old seafood restaurant below, we much preferred the idea of a bigger club, with a second indoor room and its own music policy. Talk of a new menu and in-house mixologist made our tummies rumble. And we frankly couldn’t wait to see if there really would be toilets upstairs (at last).
Yet as our familiar golf buggy wound its way round that sweepingly curved jetty, we couldn’t help but feel a small, but very potent, pang of fear.
Disembarking at the entrance, the overhaul is immediately evident. Garish neon lights flash from the same windows where disapproving diners used to sit. And in a statement of intent there’s now a bold sign over the door announcing the venue’s name: what perhaps started as an afterthought bar on top of a hip restaurant has evolved to take over every last inch of this prime, 360-degree vantage.
Thankfully, our fears were uncalled for. Yes, the rumours are true: compared to the 360° we know and love, the new lower deck is markedly more glitzy – or, as some patrons we overheard dubbed it, ‘Dubai-ified’. The globe-lights, swirling screens and especially the flashing strips lining the windows are a bit much at first. But, mainly thanks to the excellent music, on a weekend night it still feels very much like a bangin’ club, not a blingin’ lounge. And with all the main promoters promising special things in the funk/retro/boogie/hip-hop/party ballparks below, we’re looking forward to the new room establishing its own distinct ethos, vibe and regular crew. The only real hindrance to this is the lack of a sizeable dancefloor.
We’re pleased to say there have been no dramatic changes upstairs; instead they’ve kept what made it special, and refined it. Yes, there are new toilets (behind the main bar), and there’s a second bar area, so hopefully there will be less queuing all round. There are a few more seats, but this iconic, irreplicable space has pretty been much been left as is, and we’re glad.
So as much as it’s natural to fear change, we can’t help but be impressed with the tasteful evolution that has occurred here. Upstairs, everything that made 360° special in the first place has been maintained, but some niggles have been ironed out. And now with another deck the party can run later (until 3am while upstairs shuts at 2am), longer (the venue is now set for an 11-month season), and host twice as much music with two DJs spinning at once. We’re sold.By Rob Garratt
Time Out Dubai,
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