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Discovering Dubai by night

Oliver Robinson discovers where the beautiful people go

I’m not a man for discos (or ‘nightclubs’, as I’m told they’re called these days). You’d expect a Time Out staffer to be all over such nocturnal pastimes, but as Eating Out Editor restaurants have always been my bag. On a Friday night you’ll find me asking for the bill before hailing a cab and heading home for my customary eight hours. The chef is my disc jockey and starters, mains and dessert are the soundtrack for my (early) evening.

This all said, I recently attended Time Out Dubai’s Nightlife Awards – the event only comes once a year (like Christmas, but for DJs) and I thought it’d be good to broaden my horizons. But what struck me more than anything was just how many beautiful people there are in ‘After-Dark Dubai’.

It was like being in a parallel universe – a place very similar to the Dubai I knew, but populated by the cast of a Twilight movie. The more I thought about it, the more the Twilight analogy seemed apt. I’d never seen these people during the day, which can only mean that they are vampires who spend sunlit hours hidden away in Transylvanian-style catacombs beneath the city, while the rest of us work from nine ’til six. (Perhaps the noticeable dearth of old people in Dubai has something to do with the city’s nocturnal, never-ageing vampire community, as well?)

Of course, I was just being daft (not to mention feeling a tad self-conscious). If anything, the pretty population of After-Dark Dubai’s are representative of one of the city’s many scenes – they’re people who work to a different time frame to me (and, admittedly, dress a bit better), so that they can enjoy Dubai’s abundant nightlife delights.

Likewise, I’m sure I’d find Dubai’s Day-Dwellers (the people who populate weekday coffee mornings, long lunches and mid-afternoon assaults on the mall) or the Early Morning Dragon Boaters equally alien. This is no bad thing – it’s great that there’s so much variation here – and the fact that I’m always discovering different versions of my city, by day and by night, is what makes it so addictive.

You never know, I might trade in my restaurant reviews and requisite eight-hour sleep for late nights with the Twilight cast. I just need to remember to put hand on hip when in the presence of photographers – and perhaps dress a little better too.
Oliver Robinson is our Eating Out editor. He is not one of Time Out’s ‘50 Hottest Clubbers’. Yet.

By Oliver Robinson

Time Out Dubai, 20 March 2012