Nightlife venues that remain top in Dubai whether old or new
Time Out Dubai staff
White Dubai Arriving straight from Beirut, this decadent, exclusive clubbing concept quickly became the hottest spot to party under the stars, taking up a huge rooftop terrace away from the city at Meydan. This year the venue has seen acts such as Laidback Luke, Ace Hood and even DJ Tim Westwood play the Time Out Dubai Nightlife Awards 2015 after-party. The Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba (050 443 0933).
People by Crystal A former winner of our Best Club award for an unprecedented two years running (2011-2012), there are few who would argue that People by Crystal remains among the crème de la crème of Dubai’s nightlife hotspots. A huge, sprawling multi-level venue, People manages to successfully merge a healthy dose of Dubai glitz with a genuinely joyous party atmosphere. So there are places to pose and tables to do it at, but unlike so many other high-end clubs, there’s also a regularly rammed dancefloor. Check out long-running urban staple 411 Saturdays first. Open Tue, Thu-Sat 11pm-3am. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (050 297 2097).
VIP Room Dubai The haunt of famous faces in Paris, St Tropez and Cannes, the celeb-touting name alone tells you much of what you need to know about VIP Room – Will Smith one notable visitor to the Dubai club. A large circular space lit in moody hues, with LCD screens spurting jagged contours across the walls. After midnight the club explodes with a frenzied energy – although with much of it put aside to tables you’ll need a reservation to make the most of a night here. But for a glitzy evening out of no-expenses spared indulgence, VIP Room is hard to beat. Watch out for regular international urban stars playing live. Open Tue, Thu-Fri 9pm-3am. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay, www.viproom-dubai.com (052 881 8888).
Armani/Privé Armani/Privé really doesn’t have to try hard to sound impressive. It is, after all, the first nightclub to have been personally crafted by Italian designer Giorgio Armani. And it is, also, the only nightclub inside the tallest building in the world. If you’re looking for a glam night of sparklers, beats and pretty, pretty people this does the trick. Fashionable house night Hype on Thursdays and urban happening XO Saturdays ensure the dancefloor rarely remains empty. For high-end clubbing, this remains a top draw. Open Mon-Sat 10pm-3am. Armani Hotel, Downtown Dubai, www.armanihotels.com (04 888 3308).
Cirque le Soir Dubai London’s original Cirque Le Soir (née: du Soir) was once the place to see and be seen; within months of its 2009 launch the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, Scarlett Johansson, and Lady Gaga had stopped by. Naturally Dubai – home of the opulent, extreme and extravagant – would follow suit with its own venue. While it has attracted a fair few famous faces, the UAE venue was never going to replicate the state of exclusivity of its older brother – but it does do a good job of recreating the vibe of dynamism and decadence. Decorated in dim hues, visitors are greeted by an eccentric cast of circus stereotypes; burlesque dancers jut from podiums, fairies spin from ropes hung from the ceiling, while jugglers and clowns tend the tables. Open daily 10.30pm-3am. Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.cirquelesoir.com/dubai (050 995 5400).
Cavalli Club Put simply, Cavalli is opulence personified. Decorated in the most elaborate concoction of shapes, colours and eras – zebra skin chairs, chandeliers, furry lifts – the whole venue seems to have been constructed to be as outlandish, flamboyant and expensive as possible. Which, of course, makes it an absolute must-do experience. However the classy clientele and endless stream of high-end DJs and guest stars – if not the prohibitively high prices – which might keep you coming back for more than novelty alone. Open Daily 9.30pm-3am. Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.cavalliclubdubai.com (04 332 9260).
Mahiki Bar Mahiki is known for many things, namely: tiki décor, distinct mixed drinks, cheesy tunes, lively ladies nights and (in the past, in London) visits from the British royal family. There’s no denying the impact the JBH club has had on the local nightlife scene, proving that glitz and glamour are not always the answer, and that late in the evening many clubbers would rather leave their inhibitions at the door and dance like a loon than pose indoors wearing sunglasses. Open Mon-Fri 7pm-3am; Sat 10pm-3am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, www.mahiki.ae (04 380 7731).
Movida Arriving straight from London – where Kate Moss, Jay Z and Beyoncé all partied – Movida set out to be among Dubai’s most exclusive nightlife venues. Smaller than much of the competition, there’s an intimacy and attention to detail amid Movida’s sleek purple furnishings and large velvety booths. However that exclusivity, of course, comes at a price. Look out for regular international hip-hop stars dropping by to take the mic. Open Wed-Sat 11pm-3am. Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.movida-dubai.com (055 174 4449).
Societe Dubai Guilty pleasure hit-haven Societe is an unashamedly cheese-tastic, retro-flavoured club. The kind of club which gets busy at all hours and welcomes clubbers of all ages and persuasions, expect armies of middle-aged women popping and locking alongside glammed up twenty-somethings early in the evening. If you’re over Rock Bottom and of a certain generation, this is the new place to let your hair down gracelessly. Sneery types need not apply. Open Tue-Thu 10pm-3am; Fri 4pm-3am. Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina, www.societe.ae (050 357 1126).
360° If you had guests in town for one night only, where would you take them? Matters of season, taste, budget and maturity aside, there’s a high chance 360° would creep towards the tongues of most expats faced with that question. It’s just... well, 360°. Watching the sun set behind the Burj Al Arab, before a night partying on that distinctive circular dancefloor, based 1km out to sea, is a quintessential Dubai experience for both fresh-faced tourists and newbies in town alike. But it’s the season-by-season consistency of the soundtrack – particularly from Friday night mainstays Audio Tonic, now in season nine and counting – which keep the clued up clubbers coming back for more. Open Sun-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu-Fri 5pm-3am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, jumeirah.com/360 (055 500 8518).