The Time Out verdict on ten of the hottest nights in town
Time Out Dubai staff
We’ve dusted off our dancing shoes and hit Dubai’s night scene to bring you the lowdown on some of the city’s hottest ladies’ nights…
McGettigan’s DWTC What’s the deal? Every Wednesday ladies get five free drinks coupons each on arrival, valid on selected house beverages. These don’t include grape, only premium drinks and mixers.
What’s the crowd like? The Irish pub is invariably busy, and on ladies’ night that’s even more the case, with varied groups of girlies out for a fun night, but also plenty of blokes, either accompanying them or visiting separately. The easygoing vibe seems to attract all types.
Male to female ratio? On our visit this was probably close to 50-50, although this may have been because there was football on the TVs.
What’s the music like? Expect a live acoustic guitarist on the stage behind the bar in the centre of the main space. Sing along, have a dance or choose a table round the back if you’re looking for a quieter night.
The venue? The World Trade Centre McGettigan’s is a comfortable, laidback place with bar stools, standard tables and chairs, comfy armchairs and booth-style seating areas, plus space for a bit of a dance in front of the stage if the mood takes you. There are also several TVs dotted around the venue if you fancy keeping an eye on the game.
Dress code? Come as casual as you like, although we did notice quite a few ladies dressed to impress, too.
Service? Despite the crowds, staff cope very well with demand, and there’s only a minimal wait between ordering and drinking. Wed 8pm-10pm. Free entry, with free drinks for ladies. McGettigan’s DWTC, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.mcgettigansdubai.com/downtown (800 6247).
Loca What’s the deal? Every Wednesday, women get two classic Mexican mixed drinks between 8pm and 11pm.
What’s the crowd like? Mostly a mid-20s to 30s crowd, so a slightly younger lot than some of the other popular Dubai spots. Most people were there for a chance to catch up over a drink, without having to deal with thumping music or fight for a table, aside from the group of lads who were clearly there to watch the footie.
Male to female ratio? About half and half on the night we attended.
What’s the music like? Background tunes with a bit of a cool vibe.
The venue? On first glance, Loca doesn’t appear to be anything fancy. Food and drinks aside, the place lacks any Mexican traces; no ponchos or sombreros to be found here. Instead it’s predominantly dark wood and simple furnishings. Somehow, though, this laidback style really works, and the black and white movies give it some old-school charm. It’s a decent place to spend a Wednesday night catching up with friends.
Dress code? Like the bar itself, the dress code is relaxed and very casual.
Service? The service is one of the highlights of this place, with staff being friendly and attentive throughout the night. The free Mexican mixed drinks are delicious, and taste exactly like the ones you would pay for on any other night, so it’s safe to say they aren’t skimping on quality. Wed 8pm-11pm. Free entry, with free drinks for ladies. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah (04 364 1111).
Glamurai at Kanpai What’s the deal? Every Tuesday, women receive a welcome drink on arrival and, if you let them know you’re coming before 7pm, a tasty sushi platter, too. There’s also a ladies buy one get one free deal as well as a voucher for 25 percent off at West LA Boutique and a weekly raffle prize draw.
What’s the crowd like? It’s quite a dressy affair considering it’s a mid-week event, with many of the girls dressed to impress.
Male to female ratio? Definitely more women than men – we’d estimate around 60 to 40.
What’s the music like? DJ Tony Richards plays a fusion of house, funky house and pop.
The venue? Kanpai is a slick little spot, shiny and sleek with purple accents giving it a bit of a feminine edge. The DJ plays funky hits and a blend of house to keep guests entertained all night long.
Dress code? Smart or glamorous. No flip-flops.
Service? The service is friendly and there’s absolutely no waiting around for your welcome drink. The complimentary sushi platter is a great idea, but the fact you have to pre-book it means you need to plan your night in advance, so not ideal for those impromptu evenings out. Tue 7pm-2am. Kanpai, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 441 9262).
Think Pink Ladies’ Night at Pure Sky Lounge What’s the deal? Every Tuesday between 9pm and 11pm Think Pink ladies’ night offers unlimited pink drinks for girls. There’s no cover charge and you’ll find a selection of five different options, including pink and sparkling grape along with three selected mixers.
What’s the crowd like? Step on the terrace here and you’ll encounter a friendly but sophisticated expat crowd ranging from girls in their early 20s to middle aged women catching up over a drink.
Male to female ratio? This is a predominantly female affair with only a smattering of gents in attendance.
What’s the music like? In keeping with the venue and crowd, the music is pretty chilled out, with funky house that’s played at just the right volume, allowing you to enjoy good conversation without needing to shout, while still creating a lively buzz.
The venue? Perched on the 35th floor of the Hilton on JBR, this terrace bar is modern and sleek with a sense of space and views stretching out as far as the Palm. We’d recommend reserving a table, as on our visit the place was packed even before the ladies’ night promotion had started. Luckily there’s also plenty of seating available around the sweeping bar, so most late arrivals gravitate towards there.
Dress code? While there’s no strict dress code, most folk make a bit of an effort; think high heels and makeup.
Service? The staff are friendly, prompt and knowledgeable. Free entry. Drinks for ladies on Tue 9pm-11pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residences, Dubai Marina (04 374 7888).
Pin Up Tuesdays at Mahiki What’s the deal? Pin Up Tuesday is all about the ladies with free nibbles after 8pm followed by unlimited selected mixed drinks from 9pm to 11pm. On top of that, if it’s the first Tuesday of the month, you can also enjoy pink bubbly and try out the instant photo booth.
What’s the crowd like? It was fairly quiet before 9pm, but groups of ladies came flowing through the doors shortly thereafter. The venue attracts quite a young crowd and it’s a good place for a mid-week girls’ night out; hitting the dancefloor felt almost compulsory.
Male to female ratio? We were there fairly early and it was definitely female dominated. That being said, as we left we noticed quite a few men waiting to head inside to even things up.
What’s the music like? The music is, for want of a better term, cheesy. If you’re on a girlie night and want to reminisce and spin around on the dancefloor, then you’ll probably love it, especially after sampling a few of the complimentary drinks. Everyone else, probably not quite so much.
The venue? Once you get past the pretentious door policy (men, make sure you are dressed to impress and don’t arrive too late or you’ll be sent packing), Mahiki is a pretty cool spot. Channelling a Polynesian/islander vibe, there’s bamboo, leis, treasure chests, seashells and even mermaid-inspired mugs. Grab a seat if you can to catch up with the girls before joining everybody else shaking it on the dancefloor.
Dress code? Glamorous and strict about it, especially for guys.
Service? Again, don’t judge this place by the standard of service you’ll get on the door, which wasn’t the friendliest. Inside it’s a different story, with the bartenders being some of the nicest we’ve come across. In between mixing endless rounds of drinks, they perform crazy bottle-throwing and glass-spinning tricks that really add to the evening. This place does tend to get very crowded, so you may have to be a little patient at the bar, but just enjoy the entertainment as you wait. Tue from 8pm, with free drinks starting at 9pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8999).
Senorita Night at Maya What’s the deal? Every Sunday night is Senorita Night from 7pm-10pm. Women get three drink tokens upon arrival, which can be exchanged for a selected beverage. There’s also the option of pooling your tokens together for a bottle of grape or a pitcher of mixed beverages, and you can nibble on a few Mexican-themed canapés, which are complimentary, too.
What’s the crowd like? Predominantly female, 20 and 30 somethings, with a mix of demographics.
Male to female ratio? Heavily dominated by female guests in small groups of friends having a girls’ night out.
What’s the music like? A DJ plays lively Latin tracks with a twist of cool. No novelty world music here.
The venue? Maya is a beautiful spot for drinks, with a lower-level terrace and an upper-level space designed with sky blue tiles, plants and trickling water features. With views over the sea during daylight hours, it is a highly ambient spot. There’s also indoor seating available.
Dress code? Smart causal.
Service? Friendly and efficient, if occasionally a little too keen to ask guests if they need another beverage. Sun 7pm-10pm. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5555).
Goddess Night at Oeno What’s the deal? Unlimited bubbly for the ladies every Tuesday from 7pm-11pm.
What’s the crowd like? Though there is a real mix, the bulk of the patrons at this ladies’ night are in their 20s and 30s, with most of them seemingly not concerned about the consequences of unlimited bubbly on a school night. A small amount seem to have come straight from work for a catch up, while the rest are dressed up and ready for a night out on the tiles, some free drinks and a spot of dancing.
Male to female ratio? While the patrons are primarily groups of women, the night also attracts a fair number of male punters, but it’s not really the place to go if you’re a couple.
What’s the music like? Forgettable – the emphasis is on the free bubbly and the nattering that goes with that.
The venue? A smart grape bar with high ceilings and an impressive rack of beverages on display. There’s room for live music, but sadly the balcony/terrace space that could make a fantastic extension is wasted by poor positioning of couches that fail to make the most of a sizeable square footage and what is a pretty decent view. High tables and stools similar to those indoors would work very well here.
Dress code? The surroundings may be chic and sophisticated, but we’ve seen hotpants and flip-flops here.
Service? Surprisingly slow when not busy, but the staff up their game as the bar gets busier. Free. Tue 7pm-11pm. Oeno, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Umm Suqeim (04 399 4141).
Rosso What’s the deal? Every Saturday to Wednesday, ladies get two free glasses of grape or house beverages from 9pm until closing.
What’s the crowd like? A real mixture of in-house guests, JBR residents and groups of friends or couples.
Male to female ratio? More men than women, despite being called Ladies’ Night.
What’s the music like? Nothing overly memorable, but a good variety.
The venue? Despite primarily being a restaurant, Rosso is also a great place for a few drinks. The bar is decked out with lots of high stools and bar tables as well as comfy bench seating that’s ideal for bigger groups. The music is fairly loud, and the bar gets smoky as the night goes on, but the free drinks are decent quality.
Dress code? Smart casual.
Service? The service was efficient enough and staff were polite. Make sure you get the vouchers – if nobody gives you them when you arrive, simply track down a member of staff and ask for them. Sat-Wed. Free entry, with free drinks for ladies from 9pm until closing. Amwaj Rotana, JBR (04 428 2000).
Gossip with the Girls at M-Dek What’s the deal? Wednesday nights are all about girlie fun at Media One Hotel’s M-Dek. The hotel’s mixologists create a mixed drink of the night, which is then free flowing for all ladies. DJ Natalie Brogan, one of the top female DJs in the UAE, takes to the decks to keep everyone entertained throughout the night.
What’s the crowd like? A good mix of women and men, and lots of groups sitting around the pool and enjoying the chilled-out vibe. It wasn’t overly busy on the night we attended, so there were seats aplenty.
Male to female ratio? An even 50-50.
What’s the music like? DJ Natalie Brogan got it just right with chilled-out beats that complemented the relaxed vibe perfectly; think Ibiza sundowner-type music. The volume was also spot-on, so we didn’t have to shout at one another to be heard but could also zone out to the tunes when we wanted.
The venue? M-Dek is located on the 8th floor of Media One Hotel, and the centrepiece of the venue is the brightly-lit swimming pool. There’s a nice vibe and you can enjoy decent views over Media City and beyond. We weren’t overly impressed with the free drinks – none of the three mixed drinks on offer tempted us to order another and we’d have much preferred a choice of some house beverages or grape instead. That being said, it was a relaxing place to go after a busy day at the office, with a chilled-out vibe, good music and plenty of al fresco seating.
Service? No complaints here. Wed 8pm-11pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 4271000).
Caribe Latin Bash at Ocacti What’s the deal? Ladies get free classic and strawberry-flavoured Mexican mixed drinks as well as fruity grape-based Spanish mixed drinks every Tuesday from 9pm. Oh, and you’ll also get a free bowl of tortilla chips with salsa dip to enjoy with your drinks.
What’s the crowd like? The place was lacking slightly in buzz when we arrived, with staff outnumbering guests and only a few lone men at the bar, a scattering of ladies chatting quietly in pairs and a couple or two enjoying a late dinner out on the terrace. But things did slowly pick up, especially when a larger, younger group arrived to celebrate a birthday complete with colourful balloons.
Male to female ratio? Fairly even numbers – probably close to 50-50.
What’s the music like? It’s decidedly Latin – not surprising considering that Ocacti is a Mexican bar and tapas restaurant – and ladies’ night has the addition of a live band, who take to the stage in the centre of the venue to keep everyone entertained throughout the evening.
The venue? Housed within Pier 7 – the ever so slightly difficult to find circular building connected to Marina Mall via two footbridges – Ocacti is Mexican-themed, the large wall mural depicting a desert cactus at sunset instantly giving the game away as you walk in. It’s a large, warm space suited to an intimate get-together, with ample seating both indoors and outside on the balcony that hugs the building and boasts decent views looking out over the marina.
Dress code? According to the website, Ocacti’s dress code is ‘fabulous and stylish’, but from our experience we’d say casual to smart-casual is fine for a night out here.
Service? No complaints here, with staff quickly taking orders and appearing promptly with drinks – no matter how many freebies you’ve already taken advantage of! Free entry, with free drinks for ladies from 9pm ‘til late. Pier 7, Dubai Marina, www.ocactiuae.com (04 452 6699).