We spoke to our sister titles across to get a global view of the year
Time Out Dubai staff
With a little help from Time Out teams across the globe, we take a look at what the past 12 months meant to cities around the world.
And here we are – bye bye 2013, what a year you have been. We saw a meteor explode over Russia, a new Pope enter the Vatican (a former nightclub bouncer, no less), a royal baby born (prompting unprecedented coverage of any birth anywhere by Sky News) and unwitting diners around the world discovered that their meatballs didn't actually contain beef... To find out what else made waves in neighbourhoods around the world, we reached out to our sister titles both near and far.
Time Out Dubai
What was the most significant event of the year in Dubai? The recent Expo 2020 win for Dubai.
The person that 'made our year'? General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who sat beside a lost little girl on a pavement to make sure she was safe until her dad came to collect her.
What was the most talked about local cultural piece this year in the country (TV series, film, album, art exhibition)? The arrival of the big yellow duck on Dubai Creek – and subsequent copyright storm.
What was the biggest culinary trend this year? Latin American food.
What was the biggest trend in the city this year? Tapas-style eateries, camel milk coffees (and ice-creams, pastries, and cheeses), oversized headphones, short-sides-long-top hair on men.
Summarise 2013 in one sentence. Dubai showed the strongest signs yet of bouncing back from the financial crisis of 2008-9, beat Turkey, Brazil and Russia to the Expo 2020 win, opened an airport set to be the largest transport hub in the world, Twitter nearly collapsed under the sheer volume of tweets by Dubai Beliebers when he arrived in May (he was besieged on stage by one of them), and schools across the city closed when it rained one day.
What is the thing we expect the most from in 2014? Sadly for rents to continue rising astronomically.
Time Out Beirut
What was the most discussed topic of the year for the people of your city? Influx of Syrian refugees into the country and the war across the border. Lebanon is a small country and what is happening in Syria is having a huge impact on the economy, politics and daily life of people here. There are now more than a million refugees here, which is the same proportionally as the whole of Romania arriving in the UK or the whole of the USA moving to China.
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? French bistros – there is a renaissance of classic French food with three bistros opening up in one small area within weeks of each other. These days it seems you can’t move for tripping over baguettes and escargots.
What's the best speakeasy bar in your city? That secret type of bar that all the cool people go to? Cargo – hidden in the labyrinth of streets on the edge of Beirut’s Armenian area. This hidden bar, which feels like the belly of a wooden whale, is becoming popular with trendy Beirutis in their mid-twenties.
What was the biggest trend in your city this year? Selfies – with the launch of #livelovebeirut (an Instagram hash tag and website for sharing the better side of Lebanon) the selfies pace was set. Twitter, Facebook and the entire worldwide web is awash with the self-taken pictures of people in front of beautiful sunsets and picturesque buildings. Summarise 2013 in one sentence. Despite fractured politics, poor economics and a nearby war, Lebanon keeps enjoying itself.
What is the thing you expect the most of in 2014? More of the same: less elections, a few bombs and loads more bars.
What is the most talked about urban type in your city? BoBo, the French term for rich kids who adopt the hippy life, has taken a hold here as every bar and café seem to have a few of these over-moneyed, hippy wannabes. www.timeoutbeirut.com
What was the most significant event of the year in your country? Mount Fuji was proclaimed a cultural World Heritage site under the title Mt Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art.
What was the most discussed topic of the year for the people of your city? Olympics 2020! It's not Tokyo's first time to host, of course, but the 2020 Games will mark 56 years since the last time Japan held the honour in 1964.
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? If you ask a Tokyoite, 2013 has been the year of the pancake. No other culinary trend gripped the city as comprehensively as the American-inspired golden goodie: led by Portland's Original Pancake House.
What is the hottest bar or dance club in your city and what makes it so special? As the Akihabara-kei (fantasy world) DJ movement gathers momentum, underground club Mogra takes top spot on the list of anime-inspired clubs, featuring game songs and manga vocaloid Hatsune Miku.
Who is the person you want to hear nothing of in 2014? Not a person, but a pop group: AKB48 is a Japanese idol group occasionally boasting 48 members – a certified world record – who have the chilling intention of ‘taking all of Japan, and the world, by storm’.
What is the most talked about 'urban type' in your city? Japan has a plethora of urban sub-cultures but some of the most talked about are Mori Girls (who started in 2007 as an earthy aesthetic inspired by 'mori' or 'forest'); Ganguro (bleached blonde or orange hair, fake tan, bright outfits); Kogal (schoolgirl style); Lolita (inspired by Victorian and Rococo periods); Cosplay (costume play); Visual Kei (glam rock); and Otaku (geek style).
What is the best slang word in your city right now, the word that every arriving tourist should know? 'Cho', which means 'mega' or 'super huge'. For example: 'Cho atsui!' (It's super hot!'). It is an especially handy phrase during the 'cho' – Tokyo's more humid summer months. www.timeout.jp
Time Out Barcelona
What was the most significant event of the year in your country? Via Catalana, 1.5 million pro- independence people holding their hands across Catalonia.
Who is the person that made your year? Ada Colau, the speaker of Movement of Mortgage Victims.
What was the most discussed topic of the year for the people of your city? Is tourism killing the real Barcelona?
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? Vintage bodegas (grape cellars).
Summarise 2013 in one sentence. A deep crisis fought by people against institutions.
Who is the person you want to hear nothing about in 2014? Juan Ignacio Wert, Spain’s Education & Culture secretary.
What was the biggest YouTube/viral hit in your country this year? Relaxing cup of cafe con leche. [A criticised speech by Madrid mayor Ana Botella to the International Olympic Committee, during which the immortal line: ‘There is nothing quite like a relaxing cup of café con leche in Plaza Mayor’ was spoken].
What is the most talked about urban type in your city? We love to say the word hipster.
What was the most significant event of the year in your country? The bombing of the Boston Marathon in April and subsequent manhunt, shoot-out and capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
What was the most discussed topic of the year for the people of your city? A bike-share programme that finally launched in New York.
What was the most talked about cultural issue this year in your country? The summer was dominated by talk of the Rain Room by architects Random International at MoMA. The piece was essentially an indoor rain shower that turned on and off depending on the presence of viewers. Because there was a strict limit on capacity, lines to enter the room could stretch to eight-hours (or more).
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? Crossbred eats, the prime examples being the cronut and the ramen burger – both come with resolve-testing queues.
According to your Time Out crew: what's the best restaurant in your city? The best new restaurant is [Italian] Carbone.
Summarise 2013 in one sentence. The end of the Bloomberg era, otherwise known as the year before New York returned to the crime-ridden, creatively fecund city of yore /everything became perfect, depending on what happens in the future.
What is the most highly anticipated issue in 2014? New York returns to the crime-ridden, creatively fecund city of yore – or everything became perfect.
What is the best slang word in your city right now, the word that every arriving tourist should know? Throwing shade. It’s been around for a while (see the essential documentary Paris is Burning, about the New York ball circuit in the 1990s), but it seemed to have a a bit of a resurgence this year, both locally and nationally. www.timeout.com/newyork
Time Out Shanghai
What was the most significant event of the year in your country? The ‘trial’ and conviction of [former Chinese politician] Bo Xilai, though the Party would rather forget about the whole affair and focus on defending ‘their’ collection of uninhabited rocks between Taiwan and Japan.
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? The opening of mediocre Italian restaurants. But that’s less a trend, more just a constant in Shanghai.
What is the hottest bar or dance club in your city and what makes it so special? The most popular is probably one of the big commercial clubs, but we prefer the casual, divey charm of DADA – always free entry, cheap drinks and good music from mostly local or locally based DJs.
What is the most talked about urban type in your city? Probably diaosi, one of the biggest memes this year. It started out as a critical term applied to undesirable young men (undesirable largely because they had low incomes, no car and no house – very important criteria for marriage in Shanghai), but this year people have begun to take ownership of the label and turn it into a badge of honour. www.timeoutshanghai.com
Time Out London
What was the most significant event of the year in your country? It’s odd but in all sorts of ways – culturally, politically, in terms of making British society stop, reflect and think about what it’s been doing for the past 25 years – it was the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
What was the most talked about cultural pieces this year in your country (TV series, film, album, art exhibition, etc)? A big rubber duck floating down the Thames (by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman). This time last year it had people obsessed well into the new year – with a reprise when it got popped on the Hong Kong leg of its world tour.
What was the biggest culinary trend in your city this year? Baking things. Pastry has puffed up from nowhere and taken over the culinary agenda in a big way this year. Blame for this can be levelled at a TV show called The Great British Bake-Off, in which contestants bake cakes in a tent in a garden somewhere in Surrey in England, to please a man with a beard and an old lady.
Summarise 2013 in one sentence. No Olympics, no money… erm… shall we just stay in and watch telly, then?
What is the thing you expect the most from in 2014? England to go out in round one of the FIFA World Cup.
What was the biggest YouTube/viral hit in your country this year? We're very proud to say it was the Notting Hill Carnival Police Dance-off. www.timeoutlondon.com