Ditch the office in favour of these Wi-Fi cafés and venues in the city
Time Out Dubai staff
Following news that Dubai’s air-conditioned bus shelters may soon be bequeathed with free wireless internet, we thought we’d celebrate the city’s increasing connectivity by rounding up 15 great cafés, restaurants and bars where you can browse the web to your heart’s content on a strong internet connection, while dining on great food. We’ve rated each venue on the vibe, the people and the food served, as well as its unique selling points. So we suggest you leave the office behind and set up shop with a view of Dubai Fountain, in a lush green garden centre, or within many other wonderful free Wi-Fi zones.
Baker & Spice The vibe: This bright, light-filled venue is lined with handsome pale-wood furniture, and tempts the taste buds with beautifully displayed salads, cakes and preserves.
The people: It’s populated by the tanned, toned, annoyingly healthy Marina set.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Where to start? We’re big fans of the breakfasts, so would recommend the blueberry pancake and fantastic shakshouka.
Why go? If you live in or around the Marina, this is as good a spot as any to come for breakfast and/or a light lunch.
Bo House Café The vibe: A faux-bohemian venue with a faux-psychedelic hippy atmosphere. Even the password for the free Wi-Fi fits in with the theme, though you’ll have to pay a visit to find out what it is.
The people: A multicultural melting pot.
What to order with your: Wi-Fi Grab a sandwich – the grilled salmon or steak options are real treats – or go for a full meal.
Why go? It’s a great place to relax, have a bite to eat and browse the web, and the downstairs area is surprisingly quiet if you have serious work to do. The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, www.bohousecafe.com (04 429 8655).
Bunkers The vibe: There’s an old-school feel to this popular golf clubhouse, bar and restaurant.
The people: Expect to see sun-kissed, well-fed golfers and Emirates Hills residents.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: Stick to the club sandwiches and burger options. The venue also holds themed food nights – look out for the Sri Lankan night on Wednesdays.
Why go? It’s the perfect opportunity to tap away at your computer against a backdrop of rolling, manicured green lawns and the imposing Marina skyline. The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills (04 390 5600).
Caribou Coffee, JBR The vibe: A cosy, family-friendly café chain.
The people: Pram-wielding mums, local residents of all ages, and occasional business types talking shop.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: There are a range of pastries and sweet treats, though the draw is the decent coffee.
Why go? The JBR branch is surprisingly cosy, featuring comfortable pleather chairs, and there are a few nooks and crannies where you can retreat for some privacy. Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 427 0543).
Dubai Garden Centre The vibe: Lush, leafy and slightly surreal, the garden centre is a surprisingly popular destination for Dubaians. It might have something to do with the occasional live music and free wireless internet.
The people: Expats in the know.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: The garden centre’s main café serves a selection of nostalgic, simple dishes such as jacket potatoes and beans on toast.
Why go? As you’d expect, Dubai Garden Centre is thick with foliage, making it a nice lush, leafy retreat in which to lose yourself in your work or catch up with your relatives online. Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz, www.desertgroup.ae (04 340 0006).
McGettigan’s The vibe: A convivial, sometimes rowdy Irish-themed pub.
The people: The bar draws a broad range, from young professionals to weathered expats.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: McGettigan’s serves great pub grub, dishing up hearty servings of homely food such as fish and chips or bangers and mash.
Why go? This isn’t the place to finish that all-important presentation – it can get rather boisterous. However, there are few better places to chat to your friends online with a drink in hand. Bonnington Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.mcgettigansdubai.com (04 356 0560).
The people: Think skinny jeans and thick-rimmed glasses.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Try the all-day breakfast (chicken sausages, scrambled eggs and baked beans), confit duck flatbread or Angus beef flatbread. The coffee is particularly good.
Why go? The whole point of Make is to give freelancers and entrepreneurs a place to meet, brainstorm and, ultimately, work. There are also plenty of power points, so your laptop won’t be in danger of running out of juice. Al Fattan House, Dubai Marina, www.makebusinesshub.com (04 392 9216).
Little More Café The vibe: In spite of the ‘Little’ prefix, this place has quite a spacious, relaxed vibe.
The people: The folks that frequent this new venue are a mixed bunch, from the coffee-morning crew to dishevelled shoppers and those wanting a pre-cinema snack.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: The menu is extensive considering the purported smallness of the venue. We enjoyed the Thai mango salad, teriyaki salmon and poffertjes (mini pancakes) on our last visit.
Why go? The food is very good and, considering More’s proximity to the shops and cinema, it’s a perfect place to catch up on your emails before embarking on some fun extra-curricular activities. Dubai Marina Mall (04 432 4608).
The people: Its location in Media City ensures this venue is populated by media types – from journalists to sales execs.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The bakery does a great coffee-and-croissant deal for Dhs16, which can be consumed as you browse the newswires. We’d also recommend the ‘power smoothie’: banana, strawberry, peaches, blueberry, fresh mint and honey.
Why go? Admittedly, it’s taken us a while to warm to Pascal Tepper, which suffered a few teething problems when it first opened in 2011. However, the service has found its feet and the food is much better than it used to be. The pièce de résistance is the speedy Wi-Fi connectivity. Dubai Media City, near Radisson Blu Hotel, www.pascaltepperfrenchbakery.com (04 454 2408).
Saladicious The vibe: Rustic, upmarket and sophisticated.
The people: It’s full of trendy JBR types who are looking for superior café fare than that served elsewhere on The Walk.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The list of breakfasts, sandwiches and drinks is impressive. Order a sandwich and it comes on freshly baked bread with a choice of sides: the home-made coleslaw is delicious.
Why go? The energetic atmosphere and plentiful seating options upstairs and down make this a great place to spend the day working without feeling like you’re actually working… if you catch our drift. The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, www.saladicious.com (04 423 0855).
The people: It’s populated by creative thinkers and young-ish media types, most of whom seem to be armed with MacBooks.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The café serves healthy-sounding sandwiches, wraps and cakes. If you arrive early, the breakfasts are worth a try (we like the eggs Benedict).
Why go? Feeling short on inspiration? The artworks hanging in the Pavilion’s galleries should get the creative juices flowing, or you can browse the arty books on the sizeable shelves. At worst, just sit back and people-watch as you browse the web. Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, www.pavilion.ae (04 447 7025).
The people: Tourists and families looking for a quick feed.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: You can’tgo wrong with Wagamama’s ramen options – we’d recommend the ramen noodles in chicken soup topped with marinated chicken, or the chilli beef ramen. The venue is also licensed, meaning you can order a drink to accompany your web session.
Why go? If you want to sit down for a quick, decent meal and catch up with your emails, this is as good a place as any. Note: customers are given free hour-long Wi-Fi access, which the friendly staff will happily renew on request. Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 305 6060).