Dance your way indoors as outdoor venues shut for summer
With the bulk of the year offering glowing sunshine and warm evenings, many Dubaians spend their most memorable nights outdoors, dancing under the stars with sand beneath their feet. But in summer, things also heat up indoors, with the city’s enclosed venues peaking in capacity and vibrancy. From modern mega-clubs to retro raves and quirky ethnic bars, we’ve found these venues to host some of the livliest dancefloors in town. And with Ramadan likely to begin on or around Thursday July 19, many venues are hosting their closing parties the previous week – so get on the floor while you still can.
Armani/Privé A place of outlandish splendour befitting its Burj Khalifa location and Giorgio’s name, this club hosts strong house and urban DJs who attract a clued-up crowd to the floor. Best nights: Only At (Thursdays), Viva (Fridays).
Casa Latina For most of the week Casa Latina is a forgettable faux-Cuban dive. But at weekends the venue’s relaxed nonchalance offers a perfect home for alternative nights, which flood an electric dancefloor with clubbers lacking in pretension. Best nights: Deep Crates (every Thursday), Loaded (June 29, July 13).
i2 Having moved from the Metropolitan Hotel, we’re glad i2’s unique retro stylings have been kept alive in a new home. Now there are even more TVs pumping ’80s pop videos, meaning even more silly dancing. Best night: Friday.
Mahiki Before you turn your nose up at the low-brow music policy, remember it’s Mahiki’s cheese-tastic approach that ensures the dancefloor is always packed. Call it commercial, but if it’s good enough for Brit princes Wills and Harry… Get there early to avoid huge queues. Best night: Pin Up Tuesday Tiki Ladies’ Night.
Malecon This Cuban-themed restaurant-bar comes alive in the wee hours thanks to the delightfully twee house band, who chip in Latin-tinged covers with more traditional fare. We’ve seen some pretty intimidating salsa-offs here. Best night: Wednesday.
Mansion Just weeks old, Dubai’s newest nightclub is yet to prove if it can hold the crowd, but early indicators are more than promising. The steely, dark theme has an NYC edge, and the credible hard house music policy could make this one floor to watch. Best night: Hypnotiq Thursdays.
Maharlika Café This Filipino nightspot hosts some of the most enthused clubbers in the city. Evenings are split between DJs spinning danceable commercial pop and covers bands playing, well, more of the same – check out their mean Lady Ga Ga medley. A welcome antidote to your regular haunts. Best night: Thursday.
N’dulge The club formerly known as Sanctuary has continued to evolve, the once-scattergun music policy refined into a smart system rotating house, R&B and retro. The main dancefloor remains one of the city’s finest. Best nights: Access all Areas (Thursdays), with Smookingroove (June 28), Kid Massive (July 5), Sneaky Sound System (July 12).
People by Crystal Winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best Club award two years running, People combines the best of the city’s glitz with a solid music policy. Plus you never know who might show up for an impromtu gig. Big Boi, Shontelle and Taio Cruz have all performed last-minute floor-flooding sets. Best night: 411 Saturdays.
Republique Now a year old, Republique is notable for standing against its competition with a liberal music policy and anti-pretentious vibe. The ‘anything goes’ ideals can lead to both welcome and unwelcome surprises behind the decks – from ’80s rock to R&B mash-ups – but the management’s lust for the new is mirrored in the clubbers’ passion on the dancefloor. Best night: ‘No house music’ Thursdays.
Trilogy The best indoor spot to hear international talent in Dubai, you can expect to be enthralled, entertained and challenged by the staggering range of DJs that play here. With the rooftop closed for summer, we’re glad to see the main room rightfully crammed once again. Best nights: Taboo (Thursdays), with Graeme Park and Peter Hook (June 28), John Digweed (July 5), Inner City (July 12). Ill Communications (Fridays), with Jade (June 29), Martin Landsky and And.Id (July 13).