The winners of the 2015 Time Out Dubai Music and Nightlife Awards are...
Time Out Dubai staff
Best Ladies’ Night The winner: Q43 Ladies get three complimentary drinks from an impressive menu covering everything from grape to shorts and mixed drinks, all served by friendly, well-trained bar staff. Add a lively and trendy crowd, good commercial music and a laid-back vibe and you’ve got an event that both women and men enjoy. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 443 5403). Highly commended: Mahiki, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 380 7731). Aquara Restaurant and Lounge, Dubai Marina Yacht Club (04 362 7900).
Best Alternative Night The winner: Superheroes With a crowd of dedicated followers, this alternative music night offers something truly unique to Dubai’s nightlife scene. A cool, funky crowd turns out for a mix of house, garage and bass music, and you can expect a few dance-offs throughout the night. The Dek on 8, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (052 646 1764). Highly commended: Sunny Vibe Up, Dusk Terrace, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 366 9111). Electric Days, various venues.
Best House Night The winner: Velocity Featuring a smart rotation of skilful resident DJs, plus a fleet of international DJs on the roster over an incredible past year, this house music night attracts a large and lively crowd. The stunning outdoor venue has an impressive set-up and top production levels. Overall, each event is good value for money and very well-organised. Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009). Highly commended: Audio Tonic, 360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8741). Shibuya, The Basement, Boutique 7 Hotel & Suites, TECOM (04 434 5555).
Best Urban Night The winner: 411 Nights A true urban music night featuring a roster of DJs from The Real Flava group playing old school hip-hop and R&B tracks, from Notorious BIG and 2 Pac to modern tunes from Drake and Rick Ross. The crowd here is clued up on their music and know how to party, while artists such as Kid Ink and Shaggy have performed. People by Crystal, Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (050 297 2097). Highly commended: URBN Saturdays, White Dubai, Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (050 443 0933). Rosay, Cavalli Club, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 9260).
Best Comedy Gig The winner: John Bishop Live Selling out weeks in advance, John Bishop left audiences in stitches with his polished routine. It was a gig that had people talking for weeks and with great organisation it was money well-spent. Promoter: Done Events. Highly commended: Kevin Bridges Live, Promoter: Done Events. Jason Manford, Promoter: The Laughter Factory.
Best Festival The winner: RedFestDXB Upping the ante in Dubai, RedFestDXB truly came into its own this year. Attracting huge crowds (and selling more tickets than ever before), this festival added to and improved upon the model it launched in 2014 to spectacular effect, taking the city’s party scene to a whole new level. Promoter: Done Events. Highly commended: Blended, Promoter: Done Events. Sandance ft. Clean Bandit, Promoter: Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah.
Best Gig Under 3,000 The winner: Boyzone At just Dhs225 a ticket, the 20th anniversary concert was great value for money. With an energetic crowd and loyal fans, the concert was a memorable evening for all involved. The Irish boy band thrilled audiences with a blend of their biggest hits and new material from their latest album. Promoter: The Irish Village. Highly commended: Sub-Sonic, Promoter: Fred Perry. Flamingods, Promoter: The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai.
Best Gig Over 3,000 The winner: Ed Sheeran From the moment Ed Sheeran walked on stage, guitar in hand, the audience was wowed and wooed. From his impressive vocals, witty banter, and quirky remixes of his songs, the singer-songwriter delighted UAE fans. Entertainment aside, the venue’s layout was equally as impressive and easily accessed. Promoter: DGT Events. Highly commended: Michael Bublé, Promoter: Louder Entertainment. Gary Barlow, Promoter: Louder Entertainment.
Best International DJ Set The winner: Steve Aoki The American DJ played an energetic two-hour set featuring his biggest hits. Outdoor venue Eden was ideal for fans to interact with Aoki from all angles, whether VIP or in among the crowd. Show antics included crowd surfing in an inflatable raft and his signature cake-throwing. Promoter: Eden Beach Club, next to Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah. Highly commended: David Guetta, Promoter: Live at Atlantis, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. Zedd, Promoter: Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina.
Best Theatrical Performance The winner: Mamma Mia! The international touring production featured an all-star cast from both its Broadway and West End shows. The musical was family-friendly and featured classic Abba songs all brought to life with a colourful set, lively dance routines and impressive vocals. Promoter: Yak Events. Highly commended: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Promoter: Danu Theatre Company. The Illusionists 2.0, Promoter: Alchemy Project.
Best Dubai Act The winner: Two Tone In less than a year we’ve seen the Dubai-based rap artist perform at RedFestDXB, sharing the stage with huge artists such as Bastille and Kieza. His songs – ‘Senorita’, ‘Keep on Going’ and ‘In it for Love’ – were summer anthems and received massive airplay on Virgin Radio Dubai. www.twotonedxb.com Highly commended: Hollaphonic,www.wearehollaphonic.com. Adam Baluch,www.facebook.com/adambaluch.
Best Dubai DJ The winner: Smokingroove The duo have played smashing house sets in numerous venues across the city, consistently attracting a large crowd. Over the past year, they’ve shared the stage at Sandance with Rudimental, Empire of the Sun and Clean Bandit and opened for David Guetta at Live at Atlantis. www.smokingroove.com. Highly commended: Raxon, www.facebook.com/djraxon. Mr. Shef Codes, www.facebook.com/mrshefcodes.
Best Resident DJ The winner: Tony H Playing a range of genres, from deep to progressive house, Tony H has manned the decks in major clubs in Lebanon and is resident DJ at People by Crystal. Always keeping the crowd entertained, Tony commands a loyal following. People by Crystal, Raffles Hotel, Oud Metha (050 297 2097). Highly commended: Adam Graca, Mahiki, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 380 7731). Chuck Wonderland, VIP Room, JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay (052 881 8888).
Best Live Music Venue The winner: Jazz@PizzaExpress The casual venue is a breath of fresh air in Dubai, offering a fairly priced and laid-back, fun night out. For music lovers looking for something different, the cosy spot has open-mic nights and live bands. Cluster A, Mövenpick Hotel, JLT (04 441 6342). Highly commended: MusicHall, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (056 270 8670). The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 501 2534).
Best Lounge Bar The winner: Iris This indoor-outdoor venue attracts a cool crowd nightly and offers great drinks, as well as friendly service in a relaxing environment. While reservations are required mostly, it isn’t as inaccessible as other nightspots if you want to pop in for a drink. The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 951 1442). Highly commended: 40 Kong, The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 355 8896). Zuma, Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Best Outdoor Bar/Pub The winner: 40 Kong This rooftop spot is both elegant and trendy and offers stunning views of Downtown Dubai. The sophisticated design and chic layout, allows guests to relax and unwind in the intimate setting. Reservations are required mostly which makes it more exclusive and restricts over-crowding. Friendly staff, funky music and great drinks make it a go-to spot. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 355 8896). Highly commended: Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road (04 318 1313). Nasimi Beach, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).
Best Sports Bar The winner: The Underground Pub The popular bar is a go-to spot for diehard sports fans whether it’s football, American football, ice hockey, basketball or rugby. Always busy, there are great drinks deals during matches, plus heckling and camaraderie to add to the atmosphere. Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000). Highly commended: Loca, Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 346 1111). McGettigan’s DWTC, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 6247).
Best Wine Bar The winner: Cave Lively and elegant with an extensive grape menu and an unbeatable selection by the glass. There’s plenty here that is fairly priced and the knowledgeable staff can help you choose and pair your choices with the delectable food. The impressive interior (which actually looks like a cave) instantly transports you away from the bustle of Sheikh Zayed Road and into a place of romance and tranquility. Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 444 7448). Highly commended: Oeno, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road (04 399 4141). The Agency, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 5866).
Best New Bar/Pub The winner: Cargo A trendy urban warehouse-style bar, Cargo is hip and rammed, with lively music most nights. Guests can sit inside and soak up the atmosphere or take a seat outdoors and enjoy fantastic views overlooking Dubai Marina. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 361 8129). Highly commended: TR!BECA Kitchen + Bar, JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (04 814 5923). Cielo Sky Lounge, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
Best Pub The winner: The Irish Village A Dubai institution and a favourite for a pint of the black stuff. The IV’s massive outdoor space is ideal for live music gigs and offers a laid-back yet lively atmosphere. The staff are friendly, the food is good and the drinks are fairly priced. Garhoud (04 282 4750). Highly commended: McGettigan’s DWTC, Dubai World Trade Centre (800 6247). Fibber Magee’s, Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
Best Bar The winner: Barasti Packed to the rafters all year round, this popular al fresco hangout offers international live acts, local bands, themed nights, heaps of sports coverage and a beachside location. We’d recommend this to any visitor without hesitation. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road (04 318 1313). Highly commended: Bahri Bar, Mina A’Salam, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730). Q43, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 443 5403).
Best New Club The winner: Zero Gravity With a fantastic line-up of DJs including Groove Armada, Zedd, DJ Yoda and Krafty Kutz, this new club has an expansive indoor and outdoor area. Combined with a good drinks selection, fair prices, friendly staff and a stunning scenic setting, you’ve a recipe for a great night out. Dubai Marina (04 399 0009). Highly commended: Provocateur, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (055 211 8222). Eden Beach Club, next to Rixos The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (055 277 1477).
Best Club The winner: White Dubai It was the setting for Tinie Tempah’s music video last year and saw leading DJs such as Andrew Rayel take to the decks as well as performances from Ace Hood and Cody Wise. With spectacular views of Dubai’s skyline and stunning design, this luxury club goes a step further to provide top-class entertainment. Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (050 443 0933). Highly commended: People by Crystal, Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (050 297 2097). VIP Room, JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay (052 881 8888).
Outstanding Contribution This year’s outstanding contribution award goes to Bong Guerrero, one of the biggest forces in this industry. Having spent more than two decades in the city – emigrating to the UAE in 1990 – Bong has arguably pioneered the club and nightlife scene here. Working in a fashion house from 1990 to 1998, he moved into nightlife in 2000. Bong created some of the city’s legendary club nights, among them Poizon, ELV8, Fresh Nights and Wicked. He was responsible for some genuine firsts for the region; namely, he was the first to adopt a guest list-only policy at his events, and he started a Friday night party scene at a time when Saturdays were by far the more popular. Managing partner of Dubai events and management company Brag, Bong is also co-founder and CEO of the successful Dubai-based Middle East fashion event Fashion Forward.