If you’ve resided in Dubai for longer than five minutes, chances are you’ve already heard of the obvious places to go dancing – nightlife venues such as Chi, Trilogy, Sanctuary and Nasimi, to name but a few. But what about those lesser-known spots at which to show off your moves? With the end of Ramadan in sight, we take a look at some slightly different locations to try this September.
Bamboo Lagoon Yes, that’s a river running through the middle of the room, but there’s also a stage in the centre of this restaurant where Polynesian dancers strut their stuff most nights. The more enthusiastic of you will have no qualms about being swept up to do the hakka or swing pom-poms, and the lively band are well practised in encouraging hesitant diners to hit the dancefloor. Food prices vary. Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm; live entertainment every day except Saturday. JW Marriott Dubai, Deira (04 262 4444)
Boracay Nightclub A sprawling Asian-style nightclub set across three floors and dotted with intimate table setups (rather like a Western jazz club), expect live music from various combinations of the 36-strong house band. But it’s the backing dancers you’ll be competing with as you struggle to stop yourself moving to fun, cheesy sounds, especially if you’ve been taking advantage of the mind-bogglingly good weekday drinks deals – selected beverages start at a mere Dhs10 between 8pm and 10pm. Free. Open daily 8pm-3am. Asiana Hotel, Deira (04 238 7777)
i2 This tiny spot at the Metropolitan Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road is vastly underrated. It’s come into its own as the city’s long-time residents look to seek out lively, unpretentious alternatives to the usual roster of cavernous clubs and mainstream house music. Yes it’s smaller, pricier and sweatier, but it’s also miles more exclusive, and we guarantee they’ll play retro tunes that you haven’t heard in years. Book ahead. Free. Open daily 7pm-2am. Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 0000)
Marine’s Club Tango not your style? If you fancy something grungier, this well-hidden nightspot hosts lively Filipino rock bands, largely performing covers of ’80s classics. If you have a good sense of humour and a strong desire to mosh, this quirky club – accessed via a fire escape – has heaps of potential. Prices vary. Open daily 6pm-3am. Seaview Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 355 8080)
Pachanga This South American steakhouse brings as much to the table in dance terms as it does on the red meat front. The Argentine tango is all about improvisation: head here with a dance partner to watch an energetic show and pick up tips on how to perfect (or learn) this exhilarating dance. Food prices vary. Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm, tango lesson Wednesday only. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, Dubai Marina (04 318 2530)
The Gate This September, the Ibn Battuta Gate’s brunch expands to encompass the main atrium of the hotel, which means more floorspace across which to drift and sway. Donovan and Ta will provide a soundtrack of live jazz and blues. Brunch Dhs295 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks, Dhs495 with premium beverages. Friday 12.30pm-3pm. Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel (04 444 0000)
Time Café From September 2, we’re told the cool kids are heading to Karama to watch and show off eye-popping B-boy skills. Every Friday night, things kick off with a karaoke session at around 8pm, with Radio 1’s Mylo hitting the decks. There are some epic breakdancing battles to be seen, so step up if you’ve got the moves. Free. Karaoke from 8pm, DJ from 11pm-3am. Ramee Royal Hotel, Karama (04 334 4088)