14 bars and restaurants that have closed in Dubai over the past year
...and here's where you should go instead
We're always excited to hear about a grand opening of a new venue to eat, drink and party at, and Dubai thankfully has its fair share of them.
But despite all the amazing openings, there sometimes comes a tear-jerking closure.
Whether it’s a regular you've been going to for years or a short-lived restaurant you wanted to visit but never quite got around to, it's a sad day when somewhere closes its doors.
Luckily, we've come up with some alternative places to go to prove that all good things don't always need to come to an end.
1) Societe Dubai After years of treating the city to cheesy pop music and cheap drinks deals, Societe Dubai nightclub is closing down on Friday 27 April, 2018. Since opening its doors in December 2013, for a period of time it became a go-to for that last boogie at the end of the night, thanks to its accessible (and often all-out cheesy) music policy. The closure follows a revamp back in 2017, which saw classy furniture and intimate seating areas installed. Those days partying to nostalgic pop are soon to be gone.
Alternative: Gotha Club Dubai Not to worry though, as the recently launched Gotha Club Dubai hosts some of the best artists from around the world – both old and new.
Diddy recently performed a thrilling show, along with amazing tunes from DJ Tïesto prior to that. With names this big, expect to see more international acts on the cards soon. Wed-Fri 11pm-3am. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, Business Bay (055 193 4934).
2) 360˚ How could this happen? One of the city’s favourite bars and tourist hotspots is set to close its doors permanently on Saturday May 12. With amazing views of the Burj Al Arab and one of the best party vibes in town over the past 13 years, it really is an end of an era. 360˚ will always hold a special place in the hearts of all who visited (or remember queuing for ages to be granted entry by one of the mili-tant hostesses). Alternative: Zero Gravity Zero Gravity is already a well-known place, but its familiar vibes and stunning venue, with a glass-fronted infinity pool and slick interior design, softens the blow for the loss of 360˚. It also hosts some of the best musical talent around, recently giving people nostalgia vibes with Fatboy Slim. Open Fri-Sat 10am-3.30am, Sun, Mon and Wed 9am-3am, Tue and Thu 10am-3.30am. Near Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).
3) YNot Bar From daily happy hours to cheese and grape deals, it had it all. But now the post-brunch party spot YNot in Dubai Marina has closed down.
It was a popular hangout for those who wanted to extend the fun well into the evening (and we should know, because it was nominated for one of our Music & Nightlife Awards).
YNot had a stark, industrial–style appearance, yet the vibe was warm and friendly. It will be sorely missed.
Alternative: Tr!beca Kitchen + Bar For another place with a friendly atmosphere, Tr!beca is your best bet. Service is as slick as it comes and the whole place has that same industrial vibe and plenty of cool art, giving it some real personali-ty. Open Sat-Mon noon-2am, Tue-Thu noon-3am, Fri 1pm-3am. JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (050 345 6067).
4) Loca 2.0 Despite bringing in delicious tacos and guacamole galore, Loca 2.0 in Souk Al Bahar has closed its doors.
The younger sibling of the popular Mexican restaurant Loca at Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa in Jumeirah, Loca 2.0 opened in December 2015 in Souk Al Bahar, boasting views of the Burj Khalifa, but little of the original venue’s rustic charm.
Alternative: Luchador Luchador has stunning sights of the Burj Al Arab to offer.
But that’s not all – with lively salsa classes in full swing and vibrant music to get you in the mood, this Mexican restaurant will make up for the disappointing closure of Loca 2.0. Open Mon-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 1pm-2am. Closed Sun. East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah (04 247 5550).
5) China Grill Popular Asian restaurant China Grill closed its doors on Tuesday February 27 this year to make way for a brand-new restaurant and bar.With a great four years under its belt, China Grill offered a brilliant brunch that was best for partygoers.
Alternative: Asia de Cuba What’s the brand-new restaurant it made way for? The elegant Chino-Latino eatery Asia de Cuba, that's what.
Its Abu Dhabi branch was crowned Bar of the Year 2017 and Best Lounge Bar 2017 by Time Out Abu Dhabi. Expect fresh sushi, quirky flavour combinations and a lively ladies’ night. Open daily 7pm-1am, Tue and Thu 6pm-3am. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 511 7333).
6) Zahira Chef Greg Malouf’s Zahira closed its doors back in January 2018 and we were gutted to see it go.
The restaurant, which opened in The H Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road in May 2017, boasted dishes that were inventive and interesting, such as smoky moutabal with cheesy naan bread, hazelnut falafel and salmon kibbeh nayyeh.Time Out Dubai was wowed by the food at Zahira, describing the lamb ouzi as “genre-definingly good”, earning it a spot on our 50 Best Dishes of the Year list.
Alternative: Al Nafoorah While it might not have that delectable lamb ouzi, it does have a charcoal grilled lamb to make up for it.
Winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best Lebanese 2018, Al Nafoorah serves up top-class Lebanese cuisine in an elegant, timeless setting.
The menu is executed with flair, and it’s a worthy winner in this category for the second consecutive year. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-4pm, 6pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8760).
7) Firebird Diner Launched by Michael Mina, who has made a name for himself across the States and beyond, Firebird Diner boasted an American–style experience with delicious burgers – though rather pricey ones at that. Set inside Four Seasons Hotel DIFC, it sadly closed in October 2017. Although, you may not miss it too much with this alternative…
Alternative: MINA Brasserie Located in exactly the same place, MINA Brasserie is also by Michael Mina, so the departure of Firebird Diner isn’t too much of a loss.
Highlights on the new menu include zaatar salmon and caviar with shallot potato cake, pickled onion and cucumber yogurt, plus tuna tartare with pine nuts, garlic, mint and sesame-habanero oil. Open daily noon-1am. Four Seasons Hotel, DIFC (04 506 0100).
8) Morah The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fusion restaurant, set on the 72nd floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, shut its doors in October 2017, after an all-too-brief stint on the city’s dining scene.
It was a sad day, especially because Morah offered food as exquisite as its backdrop, and was packed full of flavours from Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt.
Alternative: Hotel Cartagena Don’t worry though, as the exciting new Latin American restaurant Hotel Cartagena is giving you those same 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Described as eclectic and bohemian, you won't be missing Morah too much once you walk through the doors here. Hotel Cartagena, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 560 1799).
9) Round Table Pizza It was a sad day for pizza fans across the city. Long-term residents of Dubai mourned the news that US fast food outlet Round Table Pizza, which had been present in Dubai since the ’90s, had ceased operation of its entire chain of branches across the city. It may not have been the best takeaway pizza joint in town (or, really, even close), but it served up a filling slice of nostalgia for some.
Alternative: Jazz@PizzaExpress One of the best things about Jazz@PizzaExpress is that you know what you’re going to get – at a wallet-friendly price. Pizzas served thin, regular, folded, or with their centres missing, alongside pas-tas and salads to make up most of the menu. Plus there’s a daily roster of live music. Win-win. Sat-Wed noon-1am, Fri-Thu noon-2am. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 441 6342).
10) Spice & Ice This popular Indian restaurant shut up shop January 2018, and is said to be undergoing a massive rebranding. Well-known for its inventive Indian dishes (with plenty of dry ice), Spice & Ice opened in May 2016 and was immediately embraced by the JLT community. Without the mix of spices and ices, where are the JLT-ers among us going to go to get their unique Indian fix?
Alternative: Axe House The answer is Axe House. Sporting the trendiness of London’s much loved Shoreditch district, the recently launched craft hops bar offers a curry to satisfy your need for Indian cuisine. While you’re at it, be sure to order one of the best appetisers around –halloumi fries. Whoever thought of making cheese in chip form is an absolute genius. If you’re looking for a great happy hour too, every day from noon until 8pm, every drink in the house is two-for-one. Yes please. Open daily noon-2am. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 399 9577).
11) Le Classique After 29 years serving up meals, this long-standing French restaurant at Emirates Golf Club closed its doors in 2017. There was even a special Au Revoir set menu for those customers that adored the place. How sweet. (Though we’re still annoyed about being forced to wear jackets and ties to every meal here.)
Alternative: carine The latest restaurant from Dubai chef Izu Ani, carine, is named after his wife – and now occupies the space that formerly held Le Classique. Ani, who is well-known from his time at top Dubai restaurants La Serre and La Petite Maison, serves up Mediterranean classics such as seasoned calamari, harissa prawns and a selection of grilled meats. Open daily 7pm-11pm. Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.carine.ae (04 417 9999).
12) The Music Room The legendary Bur Dubai live music hotspot The Music Room got the unfortunate chop in September last year, and it caused huge upset to the people of Dubai.
It won Time Out Dubai’s Live Music Venue award four times with its impressive roster of local and international acts. The Music Room always drew a large and lively crowd and was a hub for fans of the scene, with room for more than 700 revellers on any given night.
Alternative: Bar Baar Will cheap drinks dry those tears? The Bur Dubai bar Bar Baar (we couldn’t pass up the chance to say that) is a new Indian social hub offering mixed drinks to grape for a price that will make you briefly forget all about The Music Room, whose space it took over. Every Tuesday, the bar slashes its pric-es, offering customers Dhs10 drinks for eight hours between 7pm and 3am. That should put quite the wide smile on your face. Open daily noon-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 501 2631).
13) Dragonfly by Tim Raue Before closing down back in 2017, the striking red interiors of Dragonfly (by acclaimed German chef Tim Raue) were a sight for sore eyes, and it beautifully suited the pan-Asian restaurant. We couldn’t get enough of the signature langoustine dish, but the eatery shut its doors. Alternative: Mr Miyagi's When one pan–Asian restaurant closes, another funkier one opens. Launched on July 28, 2017, Mr. Miyagi's quickly made an impression, with its pun–tastic menu and quirky atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for pun-orientated food, expect Wok Your World (think pad Thai, Singapore noodles et al), Been There Thai’d That (green Thai curry, red Panang curry) and I Like The Way You Roll (maki, nigiri, sashimi). Open daily noon-2am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 420 7489).
14) Ship’s Wheel Open since the early '90s, the Ship’s Wheel was a place for those who craved a simpler life and a reminder of traditional UK bars. Housing a big sports bar with pool tables and a stage for live music, it was a home away from home that was missed…
Alternative: The (new and improved) Ship’s Wheel …but only for a few months! The Jebel Ali Recreation Club was actually constructing a brand-new site so Dubai’s old haunt could feature even more pool tables and TVs than before. It still keeps that adored character that made the old watering-hole so popular in the first place, which is no easy feat. Although, let’s be honest, it definitely needed that lick of paint. Open daily 10am-1am. Jebel Ali Recreation Club, U Road (04 459 5198).