From bingo and bowling to dinner in the sky, we have nine alternative parties in Dubai
Familiar is fine, but when the pattern of your shoes are etched into the dancefloor and the DJ knows your middle name, it’s time to go something new. Try these offbeat, unusual outings, instead.
1 Bongo’s Bingo at ON42 Eyes down! If bingo makes you think of cackling old dears, big pens and bad puns (duck and dive, twenty-five!), this new version will make you think again. Glow sticks, confetti cannons and stage dancers surround players singing along to the thumping beat of ’90s classics. Bongo’s Bingo has made it to Ibiza, Amsterdam and Australia and is now one of Dubai’s most raucous new nights. The next Dubai event is on Thursday November 23. Leave granny at home for this one. Dhs100. Thu November 23. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
2 Bonkers Bingo at Societe Another fresh take on the popular British game at Societe means booming music, lip-sync battles and bizarre prizes (yes, including mobility scooters). The event is hosted by TV presenter Layne Redman, who you may recognise from Dubai One. The game of bingo has a noisy new baby brother with world domination on its mind. Free. Wed 8.30pm. Ongoing. Societe, Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (050 699 3191).
3 Bowling and drinks at Freddy’s Restrocafé So you think you’re a decent bowler? Prove it at one of the city’s few licensed bowling alleys. But don’t pin your hopes (geddit?) on much else in the way of entertainment at this US-themed sports bar – on our last visit, the many TVs lacked any decent sport and the music was repetitive. Still, you might be too distracted by all those strikes to notice. Dhs30. Open daily noon-3am. Fortune Plaza Hotel, Al Qusais (04 370 8999).
4 Dinner in the Sky at Dubai International Marine Club Tired of your regular, ground-level evening meal? Like your dinner to come with a side of nerve-jangling terror? Then get strapped in and chow down while suspended by a crane 50 metres above Dubai International Marine Club. Dinner in the Sky is a 55-minute feast that’s not for acrophobics. Open daily 2pm-10pm. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, dinnerinthesky.ae (050 384 9848).
5 Freaky frolics at Cirque Le Soir This edgy, outrageous venue is a must-try – where else in the city can you jump in a ball pool and watch fire-eaters on the same night? Its Censored Tuesdays offers a beguiling mix of the bizarre and beautiful (the fun begins when the freaks emerge on-stage at midnight). Glam up and arrive in mixed groups to ensure entry. Open Tue, Thu and Fri 10.30pm-3am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (050 995 5400).
6 Hops pong at Cobra Kai An upbeat Asian bar isn’t the first place you associate with hops pong, but the funky surroundings at this new Media City venue are perfect for this frat party staple. Cobra Kai, named after the dojo in ’80s classic film Karate Kid (it’s also next door to Mr Miyagi’s), made a name for itself on opening earlier this year, thanks to its bright surroundings and kitsch décor. Post-work drinks, sorted. Open daily noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 420 7489).
7 Karaoke pods at Lucky Voice When someone says “karaoke”, you’d better drop that mic, hit “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” on the screen and get out of our way, because we’re heading for the stage. Lucky Voice in the Grand Millennium Dubai has 11 private soundproof karaoke pods that can accommodate parties of six to 25, and offers more than 10,000 songs in English, Arabic, Russian and more, plus the best of Bollywood. The venue also hosts a daytime Friday brunch and an evening brunch on Wednesdays. We’re up next. Prices vary. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights, email@example.com (800 58259).
8 Open mic night at Tr!beca Kitchen + Bar Are you the type of person who arrives at a house party with guitar in tow? Oh well, we like you anyway. Why not live out those rock star dreams by rocking out in front of a crowd of music fans at Tr!beca in JBR? The standard of the musicians tends to be good and crowds are (usually) supportive. Sun 8pm. JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (04 814 5923).
9 Ride the rodeo bull at Rodeo Drive It took us a few visits before we seriously considered climbing atop the bucking bronco sitting centre stage at this buzzing American gastropub. But once convinced to bestride the bovine beast, we couldn’t be dragged off it. Open daily 6pm-3am. Sheikh Zayed Road (04 386 9617).