Dubai’s best secret bars that you don’t know about
We unearth the city’s best-hidden watering holes and secret hangouts
1 Above 21 It was a relatively subtle opening for this petite bar serving up malt beverages and Cuban rolls at FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai. Adding a new bar to the hotel, alongside one of the best new venues in the city in The Penthouse, this place also excels with its simply magnificent views of Dubai Marina skyline. This is one for the connoisseurs. Open daily 2pm-2am. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 9999).
2 D70 Among the tonnes of decent watering holes in Garhoud (including our Pub of the Year, The Irish Village), you’d be forgiven for having not visited D70. This swanky, but small, bar specialises in Italian bubbly and mixed drinks based on that. It’s not too busy, which adds to its chilled-out vibe. Open daily 6pm-2am. Millennium Airport Hotel, Garhoud (04 702 8743).
3 Flair No.5 This gorgeous terrace bar has a bit of everything, and it’s essential that you go and enjoy the botanical-themed retreat before summer comes, because it’ll be shut until the mercury starts to fall again. Get your hands on one of 32 different juniper mixed drinks available (freshly infused with botanicals), with a wide choice of interesting beverages and snacks available to match its chilled-out vibes and lazy dance beats. Open daily 5m-2am. The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC (04 372 2323).
4 JW’s Steakhouse As the name suggests, this may be a bit more of a steakhouse than a bar, but this charming little restaurant has an equally attractive bar. The restaurant is reminiscent of a throw back old boys’ club, with lots of dark wood and huge green leather chairs. Hang out at the bar and enjoy a super-relaxed and out-of-the-way sort of feel. Open Fri-Wed 5pm-midnight; Thu noon-midnight. JW Marriott Dubai, Deira (04 607 7977).
5 Little Black Door Perhaps this is the ultimate secret bar in Dubai. No flashing neon signs in sight, and you’d even miss the entrance if you didn’t know it existed. When you arrive, it feels like you’ve just slipped down the stairs and into an old New York townhouse – exposed brickwork, Gothic metal et al. It’s extremely cool, and you’re going to love it. Open Mon-Sat 7.30pm-3am. Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (055 623 1620).
6 Poppy by David Myers This bar has really made an impact since it arrived on the Business Bay scene – in fact it was nominated for Best New Nightlife Venue at this year’s Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards. Based in the new Renaissance Downtown Hotel, the venue from US Michelin-starred chef David Myers is where you’ll want to pop for a very classy nightcap, and has a romantic, secretive feel about it, even down to the fact that hotel staff have to direct you to it, since it’s not openly advertised anywhere. It’s gorgeous, low-lit, intimate, and a real treat. Open daily 6pm-3am. Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 512 5555).
7 Red – Hot & Chili You’d be forgiven for missing the entrance here, as the doorway into this Al Barsha bar is, to say the least, discreet. Get inside though, and particularly on the weekend, you’ll find vibrant décor, a lively atmosphere, an array of sport being shown on the screens (requests for specific matches are welcomed by the staff). There’s live music, pub sports, decent drinks offers and more, which will make this bar a bit of a local for many in the area. Open Sat-Thu 5pm-3am; Fri 1pm-3am. Donatello Hotel Apartments, Al Barsha (04 340 9040).
8 Room 108 This spot immediately harks back to London’s old boys’ clubs, with Cuban rolls and malt short drinks the order of the day. While this little spot houses something in the region of ten tables, and no more, don’t let its size fool you – this place packs a punch. Big, comfy leather armchairs and sofas, meet deep, dark colours, low ceilings and a range of London-themed paraphernalia. It’s relaxing, easy-going, sophisticated and a real hidey hole in one of the oldest parts of town. Open daily noon-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 359 8888).
9 The Powder Room If you’re after a quiet drink, some classy bites and a all-round chilled out vibe, The Powder Room is where you need to visit – and ASAP. A specialist grape bar, this charming little spot also serves up a frankly delicious amount of cheese to pair with your drink, and offers an awesome grape and cheese deal every day from opening to close, where you can get unlimited grape and cheese for Dhs90 per hour. Where do we sign up? Open Tue-Thu 5pm-11pm. Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC (04 343 5518).