Top drinking places that are fresh on the Dubai scene
Time Out Dubai staff
Cargo, Pier 7 The Asian eatery has a lively atmosphere daily with an industrial vibe. The high ceilings, exposed pipes and a bar designed from wooden crates add a funky, cool laidback feel to this Pier 7 destination. The decor of the venue is appealing for groups of friends who can sit at one of the high top tables, as well as couples and groups who want to relax over dinner at one of the more intimate tables on the terrace. The venue has a great atmosphere, views and tasty bar food. Open daily 6pm-2am (last orders for food: 1am). Pier 7, Dubai Marina, www.cargo-dubai.com (04 3618 129).
Cielo Sky Lounge, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Dubai Creek’s answer to 360°. The sunset views make this an al fresco bar to rival long-term favourite QD’s in this end of town. Cielo Sky Lounge appeals to fashionable sorts and hipsters with its Ibiza-like vibe and decor featuring liberal use of cool blues and whites, as well as top DJs. Cielo certainly looks the part – crisp white couches with a nautical touch of blue, sail-like canopies and uninterrupted views of the water and skyline. Al Garhoud Road, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Open daily 4pm until late. Telephone: 04 295 6000
Tr!beca Kitchen & Bar, JA Ocean View Hotel This place takes a great deal of its inspiration from Manhattan. Despite being in a very Dubai location on The Walk, JBR, inside a very Dubai-looking hotel, walking into Tribeca feels like a breath of fresh air. The design detail is the real excitement here – colourful, eclectic, witty, and full of pop-art and pop-culture references. Within this cartoon-meets-industrial space, you’ll find neon graffiti of the Statue of Liberty, comically huge, high-backed chairs, a ‘reclaimed’ loft combination of wood, brick and concrete, and oddities such as a suitcase crammed full of dollars chained to the ceiling. No Dubai resident can come here and not have their heads turned by the young, fresh and yet quite retro spirit of New York. JA Ocean View Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence. Open daily 7pm-midnight. Telephone: 050 345 6067
Above, Sofitel Dubai Downtown With stunning views of the Burj Khalifa and top-class service, this new hotspot can be enjoyed day or night, an evening visit is recommended. A vast space of 11,800 square feet with a retractable roof, Above is a destination to relax and unwind in, and soak up the city atmosphere. The great thing about the open-air rooftop venue, is that it can be enjoyed in warmer weather as well. Large air conditioners are carefully dotted around the venue and are built into the walls, so guests remain cool. The elegant yet chic décor gives the venue a sophisticated vibe without it becoming pretentious. The striking all-white bar and lounge area and private terrace is adorned with palm trees, a reflection pool and private cabanas. Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Downtown Dubai, Dubai. Telephone: 04 503 6666
Garden on 8, Media One Hotel As hinted at in the name, Garden on 8 is an amusing riff on Dubai’s penchant for al fresco watering holes. Designed to look like a homely pub garden, the new Dubai Media City bar sits adjacent to the Media One Hotel’s more established poolside outlet Dek on 8. Casual, but not devoid of a few interesting quirks, the spacious venue boasts fake grass and potted plants, while lawn gnomes lurk behind rows of large picnic tables. Perhaps unlike its eighth floor neighbour, there are plenty of places to sit here – you can choose to park your rear on one of the aforementioned benches, take a seat at the bar counter, loiter at the tall barrel-style tables or kick back in the small, cosy sofa area. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, Dubai. Telephone: 04 427 1000. Open daily 5pm-11.30pm
THE 31, Sofitel Dubai Downtown One of Dubai’s seemingly endless line of chic and sophisticated lounge bars. This time the stunning views come from 31st floor (ref: the name) of the Sofitel Downtown. Views of the Burj Khalifa, and often more interestingly Sheikh Zayed Road in the other direction, serve to distract from the doubtless expensive contemporary interiors, and all the chrome, glass, funky ceiling lights and stylised wall art that it entails. A decent after-dark spot which deserves to be better known. Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Downtown Dubai, Dubai. Telephone: 04 503 6699. Open daily 6pm-2am
Cove Beach, Jumeirah Beach Hotel When it comes to beachside bars, there are plenty to choose from in Dubai. The latest addition, Cove Beach, situated within the grounds of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, offers guests a day to night experience. The seafront complex occupies an ideal location overlooking the Burj Al Arab, making it a popular spot with both tourists and locals. With a truly picture-perfect setting, the décor of Cove Beach is minimalistic and contemporary with off-white furnishings. The drinks menu features a selection of signature mixed drinks, hops, grape and shorts. You can order a mixed drink of your choice, even if it isn’t on the menu. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, Dubai. Open daily 9am-3am. Telephone: 050 454 6920
Sass Café A red carpet flanked by floodlit pools leads diners up to the distinctly nightclub-esque entrance of the venue. Beyond the blacked-out front door, the sense of being in a nightlife spot (rather than an eatery) continues. The bar area, complete with piano and DJ station gives way to a deceptively small but two-tier dining space. Dominated by red, black and mirrors, the space feels undeniably glitzy yet exceptionally dark and sultry. DIFC, Dubai. Al Fattan Currency House, Sheikh Zayed Road. Telephone: 04 352 7722
Solo Bistronomia, Raffles Dubai Following the closure of Raffles Dubai’s long-standing steakhouse Fire&Ice, this space has had a makeover and emerged as Italian restaurant and grape bar Solo Bistronomia & Vinobar. The restaurant itself is huge. A vast, cavernous, high-ceilinged, multi-functional space, all covered in exposed russet-coloured bricks. The food here is a two-tier affair – bar snacks (restaurant equivalents of street food) and deli classics (antipasti, charcuterie and so on) in the bar area. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 370 8999).
Zengo The contemporary venue features an artful blend of Asian styles and flavours and is decorated in deep rich natural textures and warm tones. Guests could choose to sit in one of Zengo’s three bars, each with its own unique theme – Mist, Fire and Smoke. The bar areas are represented by a signature beverage on the menu, which features innovative approaches to classic hand-muddled drinks as well as fine grape and plenty of shorts. It also has a fine selection of high-class Chinese teas. Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, Dubai. Telephone: 04 316 5550. Open Mon-Wed and Sat 7pm-2am; Thu and Fri 7pm-3am