True to its name, some of the city’s classiest bars are found in Downtown Dubai
Armani/Privé With its modern design, VIP-feel and glammed-up crowd, a night at Privé is one of the most quintessentially ‘Dubai’ experiences one can have: you’re in a fashion designer’s hotel in the tallest building in the world, for Pete’s sake. The enormous LED screen – the largest in the region, we’re told – is particularly impressive. Armani Hotel Dubai, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3308).
At.mosphere The tallest bar in the world? Need we really say more? Enjoy unrivalled views of the Dubai skyline, alongside some serious mixed drinks, at this 122nd floor lounge bar, 422 metres up in the sky. Note: there’s a minimum spend of Dhs200 for men. Burj Khalifa (04 888 3828).
Calabar Highly Commended as one of the city’s best outdoor bars at our 2013 Music & Nightlife awards, Calabar’s terrace is easily one of the best in city. Sitting at the edge of the Dubai Fountain, offering views of both the towering water-shows and the thronging masses below, the space mixes a modern chic feel with a relaxed bean bag vibe. Meanwhile the bar regularly programmes decent international DJs, and boasts a wicked drinks list. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 436 8888).
Ember Grill & Lounge While mainly touting itself as a restaurant, Ember’s cosy standalone bar offers an incredible list of grape, and the regular live jazz make it a classy spot well worth hitting up for a sophisticated drink. The Address Dubai Mall (04 888 3828).
Karma Kafé From the team who brought you Buddha Bar, this early Souk Al Bahar opening mixes the same lounge-restaurant-club vibe and pan-Asian cuisine, but with a greater emphasis on dining than its bigger brother. Souk Al Bahar (04 423 0909).
Left Bank Reams classier than its Madinat counterpart, the Souk Al Bahar venue is a much more welcoming spot to dine, and hosts a lively brunch. Souk Al Bahar (04 368 4501).
Neos There are few more gasp-inducing venues in the world – let alone Dubai – than Neos. Facing the tallest building in the world – and sitting on the 63rd floor of the sixth tallest hotel in the world – there simply may not be a better view of Downtown’s glimmering twilight skyline found anywhere. Never mind the fact the mixed drinks are sublime, and the atmosphere in that rare level of class that makes you feel like you’re in a James Bond film. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 436 7700).
Nezesaussi Grill The ‘high-end sports bar’ may sound like a tautology to some, but if there’s anywhere that can pull it off, it’s Dubai. With some series restaurant-quality food on the menu – and a welcome non-smoking policy – it’s the kind of place where men don’t have to watch the match alone. This Aussie and South African-tinged venue is well worth a look. Al Manzil Hotel (04 428 5888).
The Cigar Lounge Before you’re faced with clichéd visions of suited overweight aging men puffing away in a smoky corner, we can tell you the Cigar Lounge is actually rather classy. Yes, it does deal in a long line of specialist tobacco, but the mixed drinks and cheese selection make it well worth a visit for a non-smoker, while the mid-level views across the Dubai Fountain and Downtown offer a fresh perspective on familiar landmarks. The Address Downtown (04 888 3444).
Boutiq Ultra Lounge At the time of writing, we were eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Boutiq Ultra Lounge, which will take the space once occupied by Republique in The Address Dubai Mall. We loved that venue’s laidback charm, and while this new club signals a change of tone, we’re sure it will be worth checking when it arrives. Originally to be called La Boutiq, the new venue will feature a 15 metre high ceiling, more than 35 metres of LED walls – and a ‘VVIP balcony’ overlooking the DJ booth. Opening date TBC.