Sick of waking up smelling like you’ve rolled around in an ashtray? Smoky bars take a bit of getting used to and it can be especially difficult to resist temptation if you’re trying to nip the habit in the bud. Thankfully, there are some cracking smoke-free spots in the city, and we’ve scoped out 11 of the best where you can retain your natural scent all night long (for better or worse).
1 Barrel 12 This unique, standalone sports bistro on the Palm has a contemporary feel and cracking views of the Arabian Gulf. If you love sport, you’ll be right at home here, as all the big matches are shown on the screens above the bar or on the wall beside it. There’s also a daily happy hour from 4pm to 7pm. Open Sat-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Palm Jumeirah (04 552 4000).
2 Bidi Bondi A chilled-out Aussie bar with stunning views across the Palm. There’s a good selection of food and drinks, and you can enjoy your traditional Aussie steak pie without a side of nicotine. Open daily 10am-midnight. Clubhouse Al Manhal, Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).
3 Big Easy Bar & Grill Named after the legendary South African golfer Ernie Els, Big Easy takes its lead from the man’s tastes, offering great food and beverages in a sociable environment. Not only is it smoke-free, the bar also serves a brand of gluten-free hops – a rarity in Dubai. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm, 5pm-11.30pm. The Els Club, Dubai Sports City (04 425 1000).
4 Garden on 8 This newly revamped bar, now with a snug indoor section, is proudly non-smoking indoors. Enjoy sport on the TV with a pulled beef chilli burger, hops in hand, but without frequent puffs of smoke in your face. Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
5 Kickers Sports Bar The city’s largest sports bar (in Sports City) has plenty of things to keep even the most exercise-phobic happy, thanks to food offerings that include some all-American favourites and daily specials to really get your teeth into. And as you’d expect, there a plenty of flat screens to take in all the action on match day. Open Sun-Wed 3pm-2am; Thu-Sat noon-2am. Sports Village, Dubai Sports City (04 448 1001).
6 La Vita This grape bar is as chic and sleek as they come, resembling a private members’ club in the wealthiest regions of Italy. Drinks on offer include premium grape and mixed beverages, and a happy hour runs daily from 5pm to 8pm, offering buy one get one free. Open Sat-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri 4pm-midnight. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Culture Village, Al Jaddaf (04 556 8860).
7 Maison Mathis This Belgian bar is wonderfully airy, thanks to its high ceilings and massive French windows (and lack of smoke, of course). Many guests come here purely for the food (breakfast is a big seller). The bar also offers ladies’ night on a Wednesday, with drinks for just Dhs29 each. Open daily 7am-2am. Arabian Ranches (04 450 1313).
8 McGettigan’s JBR The much-loved Irish bar has packed in the smokes at its JBR branch. Expect a vast range of drinks, good pub grub, live music and sports coverage. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from McGettigan’s, without the lingering smoky fog. Open daily 4pm-3am. The Walk, JBR (04 318 2580).
9 Reform Social & Grill Renowned for having one of the best gardens in Dubai, Reform has much more to offer those looking for a smoke-free afternoon. If you’re after an authentic taste of Blighty, the chef and his team will freshly prepare you some traditional British fare including roasts and fish and chips. Happy hour is 5pm to 8pm. Open daily 8am-12.45am. The Lakes Club, The Lakes, (04 454 2638).
10 Soul Restaurant and Bar Everything in Soul screams NYC – from the decorative murals to the food menu. But if you haven’t come to chow down you’ll be welcome to sit at the bar as you choose between the large list of creations on offer. Open daily noon-2am. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Marina (04 449 8888).>
11 The Grape Escape A cosy bar that has far more to offer than a clever name. Escape from the smokers and enjoy a warm welcome from the attentive bar staff and a very relaxed environment. The food is well worth the effort, with steaks, charcuterie and cheese boards particularly popular with the punters. Head here before 8pm, for tapas and drinks offers. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-1am. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR (04 399 1111).