The ultimate checklist for the city’s party people
Dance on a beach Love it or hate it, Barasti (or Bar-Nasti as it is often referred to with affection), is both Dubai’s most notorious and most popular bar. Watch as grins spread widely across your visitors’ faces as they first set foot on the sand with a drink in hand. It’s a look that says ‘am I on a night out or am I at the beach ... ?’ The glorious answer is both. Enjoy waves gently lapping at your feet as you plunge your hand into an ice bucket and pull out a bottle of hops. This gleeful look can also be observed regularly at Nasimi in Atlantis The Palm. Open daily 11am-1am, Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Jumeirah, Dubai (04 399 3333).
Drink cocktails at the highest lounge in the world Dubai has more bars than you can wave a cocktail shaker at, but few are as impressive as this lofty venue. Nestled on the 122nd floor of the world’s highest building (that’s 442m from the ground), the bar treats guests to panoramic city views in every direction. Yes, it can be pricey (there’s a minimum spend of Dhs200 per person) and you’ll need to don your glad rags: the strict dress code stipulates no shorts, baggy jeans, flip-flops, trainers or T-shirts with large or colourful prints (erk). Yet the bar is sleek and sophisticated, and the service first-class. Make a reservation at sunset for a spectacular view to accompany your sundowners. Open daily noon-2am. At.mosphere Lounge, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com (04 888 3828).
Watch the sun set at 360° There are few things that capture the spirit of glamorous Dubai like sipping drinks at 360°. This much-lauded circular bar’s international relaunch is on October 11, when the new indoor club will be revealed. This bar at the end of a jetty surrounded by the Arabian Gulf has eye-popping views of the Burj Al Arab. Arrive early at the weekends and you can settle on a beanbag and sup a drink as the sun dips below the horizon. Once night falls, the music ramps up and Dubai’s beautiful people come out to party. Note that this place is pretty exclusive, and you’ll need to sign up in advance to visit: go to www.platinumlist.ae to get your name on the list. We’d also recommend arriving as soon as the doors open, otherwise you’ll be faced with mammoth queues, impatient clubbers and rather surly bouncers. Open Tue-Thu 6pm-2am; Fri-Sat 4pm-2am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 406 8744).
Smoke shisha at dusk by the creek at QDs For creek views, friendly staff and great shisha, you will not find a more picturesque setting that QDs’ beautiful site on the banks of the creek. Visit is on weekend nights, when the large predominantly Arabic crowd socialise through wafts of shisha into the small hours. QD’s closes in the summer months, when the idea of drinking al fresco is rarely harboured, even in the most addled mind. However, when the weather is kinder, you’ll struggle to find a more spectacular setting in the city. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Open daily 6pm-2am (04 295 6000).
Sing karaoke at Harry Ghatto's Dubaians can be split into two camps: those who love karaoke and those who hate it ... but secretly wish they were up on stage crooning 'Suspicious Minds'. If you have accepted your inner diva, then Harry Ghatto's is the best place in Dubai to belt out a few classics. Nestled in the back room of a sushi restaurant, the can't-swing-a-cat cosiness and twin microphone set-up inspires a brothers-in-song ambience. Dutch courage comes courtesy of extremely expensive imported Japanese hops and rice beverages but don't worry if you're still a little nervous: the staff are always on hand to show you how it's done. Open daily 8pm-3am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8088).
Get your bling on! There are some occasions that only your best clobber, er, finery will do. At the Cavalli Club, every night is one of those occasions. Flamboyant, gaudy: with Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli at the helm, this venue was never going to be understated. Yet no matter what your taste, it is breathtaking. Huge chandeliers drip from a jet-black ceiling and sparkling crystal curtains wind their way among the zebra-print furniture, framing Dubai’s beautiful people as they sip eye-wateringly-priced bubbly. Has to be seen to be believed. Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-4pm (lunch). Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-4pm (lunch). The Cavalli Club, The Address, Dubai Mall, Downtown Burj Khalifa, Dubai (04 438 8999).
Dance around your handbag at a ladies' night Historically, Boudoir describes, in French, a ladies’ evening sitting room. Fitting, then, that Boudoir hosts the city’s best ladies’ night. And, best of all, at Boudoir, it is ladies’ night every night! This swanky, wannabe Parisian club ranks as one of the most exclusive venues in the city. Boudoir attracts a predominantly Lebanese crowd and if you want to get past the door staff, you should be dressed to impress and preferably in a couple. Open daily 7pm-3am. Ladies’ night Wed-Mon 9pm-midnight; Tue 9pm-3am.Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah, Dubai (04 345 5995).
Cry with laughter at stand-up comedy The Laughter Factory is firmly established as the city’s most popular regular comedy circuit – and it shows no signs of slowing. The latest round of shows features UK panel show regular Nathan Caton, Portuguese reality TV star Philberto and trained clown (no, really) Addy Van Der Borgh. Various venues across Dubai. For a full list of times and venues, visit www.thelaughterfactory.com
Listen to live music Check out The Music Room’s new house band, Shine, who hail from Australia, Canada, USA, the UK and South Africa and promise to play hits by the likes of AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, LMFAO, J-Lo, Cee Lo Green and Rihanna. Free. 9pm-3am. Ongoing. The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (056 799 6355).
Visit the theatre Theatre and Dubai may not be words that are often associated with each other. But that has not stopped The First Group Theatre from earning a strong reputation in a fast-developing part of the city’s culture. Follow the Souk Madinat Jumeirah’s bazaar-like pathways and find a purpose built theatre that attracts a range of shows, from stand-up comedy, such as Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, to musicals including the ever-popular The Sound of Music. First Group Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah, Dubai (04 366 6550)