It’s the biggest night of the year, but where do you go for the best time of your life? Robert Garratt lays down the options...
Sandance @ Nasimi Discerning clubbers and dance music connoisseurs are spoilt for choice at this epic beach-based bash. The packed-bill of headline-heavy acts includes trance masters Above & Beyond (DJ Mag’s No.5 in the world), a DJ set from Brit chart-toppers Basement Jaxx plus their long-time vocalist Vula, and New York house mastero Roger Sanchez. And while dark dance conjurers Faithless may have split up just days after rocking Nasimi in March, one-third of the band, Sister Bliss will be appearing back on the beach. There will also be Ibiza-ian beats early on from Jon Ulysees and Goldfish. It’s a great feat that the promoters have managed to get so many world-class headliners on a single bill, but then there’s some tough competition in town. Best for: Those discerning sand-swept clubbers with a short attention span. Dhs250 (advance)Dhs350 (at the door) Dhs450 (VIP). 3pm-3am. Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, www.timeouttickets.com.
Audio Tonic and MustHaveSoul Burj-spotting bar 360° is home to two of Dubai’s most popular house music nights, so when the biggest night of the year rolls around who gets to play host? The answer was to go head-to-head and share the decks. Originally billed as an Audio Tonic vs MustHaveSoul night, in the spirit of collaboration the two teams are now working together to bring over the UK’s Jimpster (Freerange Records) and Spain’s Kiko Navarro (King Street Sounds). But in the spirit of competition there will still be a face off between residents Mr Mr (Audio Tonic) and Simon Reid (MustHaveSoul). Best for: Competitive house music heads. Dhs500 (includes glass of bubbly and canapés). 8pm-3am. 360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (056 682 6617).
New Year’s Eve at XL Beach Club with David Morales Recognised by many as the first of the jet-setting ‘superstar DJ’ in the world, David Morales is a man who knows how to get a party started. The commercial hit-machine behind international smashes including ‘Needin’ U’, ‘Higher’ and ‘How Would U Feel’, Morales is also a Grammy award winner and is well-respected in critical circles. His production and remix CV includes work on tunes by the likes of Madonna, Kylie, Usher, and Michael and Janet Jackson. Here he headlines what is likeliest to be the most glam beach party in town, with obligatory midnight fireworks and support sets from internationals S3r-Han & DJ J.A.M. Best for: A full on no-nonsense beach party. Dhs350, XL Beach Club, Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa (056 640 6161).
New Year’s Eve at McGettigan’s There really ain’t nothin’ fancy about McGettigan’s. On a weeknight it’s invariably packed to the rafters with jolly folk out for an unpretentious good time. So it seems like the management have gone and said ‘well we’ll be packed anyway, what do we need to do anything special for?’ And we agree – they really don’t. So here we get live music from regular cover mastero Mike Ross and tunes spun by DJ John Hayes. The pub’s all-you-can-eat-and-drink deal costs little more than some venues are charging for entry alone, so you won’t be surprised by the weight of your wallet in the morning. Best for: Your no thrills mates who just want to eat, drink and be merry. Dhs649. 7pm-late. McGettigan’s, Bonnington, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 356 0560).
Armin van Buuren A Peppermint Experience NYE Special A man who really needs no introduction, Van Buuren has a claim to being the most popular DJ in the world – in sheer numbers at least. His weekly online radio show, A State of Trance, claims to clock more than 30 million listeners a week. Then there’s the minor matter of being rated by trendsetters DJ Magazine as the world’s number one DJ for an unprecedented four years running between 2006-10 (he was knocked off the top spot this year by David Guetta). He’s going head-to-head with supergrouup Above and Beyond at Sandance, but for a night of unadulterated trance it just doesn’t get purer than this. We’re glad to see the threatened all-white dress code has also been slackened to ‘optional’. Best for: Trance-heads and commercial dance-fiends. Dhs400. 9pm-3am. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.timeouttickets.com. No.1 Events New Years’ Eve Black and White Party Former Radio 1 DJ and urban connoisseur DJ Masterstepz touches down in Dubai for the umpteenth time for a night of commercial R&B and hip hop, although he’s not a man to turn down requests. Urban nights have been picking up steam in recent years – beating back the barrage of house – and No.1 Events are some of the upmost champions of the genres. R&B aside, we’re also promised a smattering of dubstep, house, funk and garage, making this one of the most bass-heavy nights on the table. Support comes from DJ Adam J. Tunes aside, it’s a monochrome theme for this shindig, so dig out your best black and white outfits. We’re not sure a dickie-bow will cut it though. Best for: People who like a beat when they boogie. Dhs200 (on the door only). 9pm-4am. Sensation Club, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (050 85 23343).
Venetian New Year at Cavalli Club Drawing inspiration from their Italian birthplace, the bosses behind Cavalli are hosting their very own Venetian carnival, with a typically theatrical twist. Guests are urged to come in fancy dress, adorning elaborate masks, head gear and matching costumes. And the venue is said to be pulling its weight to, dressing itself up with stylised interiors and hosting dramatic performances, including aerial shows, operatic singers and Venetian styled theatrics. Electro, house and minimal sounds will be spun by resident DJ Kayaya. Best for: Theatrical types with a taste for (classy) fancy dress. Dhs850 (ladies) Dhs950 (gents), with unlimited drinks and capanes until 11pm. Cavalli Club, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 9260).
ikandy With promises of stilt walkers and amazing views of the Burj Khalifa for midnight fireworks, ikandy is another great venue for a night of revelry. Along with resident DJ Jason Kabuki, New York DJ and producer/remixer Benji Candelario will bring his signature soulful house/garage sounds, while Argentinian born Carlos Florez, one of the UK’s elite soulful house DJs, is also scheduled to play a set that will showcase his versatile style with deep, tech, soulful tribal and dubby house music. Best for: Anyone who aches for a little soul in their music this New Year’s Eve. Dhs300 (standing tickets with a welcome cocktail), Dhs950 (Platinum VIP Lounge), Dhs1,250 (Ultra VIP Lounge). Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 405 2703).
Armani Privé New Years' Eve International DJ, beats, animations and more. Dhs500(with gift bag). 10pm-3am Armani/Privé, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3308).
1001 Arabian Nights at Diamond Ballroom From what we’ve been told, it sounds like they’ve planned a magical fairytale. Following a 1001 Arabian Nights theme, everything from a laser light show, belly dancing and live cooking demos are planned at the black-tie The Address’ New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, in the Diamond Ballroom. The price also includes a (no doubt rather large) buffet, live violin music, a one man show and international DJ. Best for: Cinderellas who like to dress up for the ball. Dhs750-950. 8pm-2.45am. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).
Also Try Republique The club is hosting an 11-hour party that kicks off with dinner followed by party madness till late and breakfast too! Dhs750. 7pm-6am. The Address, Dubai Mall (056 718 1188)
Chi@The Lodge A mainstay of the Dubai nightlife scene, last New Year’s Eve the folks at Chi injected a bit of spice into the evening by giving away a Mini Cooper. So how will the team top it this year? They’ve duly raised the stakes – this time round one lucky punter will walk into 2012 with a brand new BMW 316i Coupe. Expect a musical mash-up across the club’s four zones, with commercial house, R&B, classic rock anthems and 80s and 90s floor fillers all promised from DJs Roni John & Dan in Chi Garden, and Emtee, Flowmaster J, and MC Money Plus in Chi Club Best for: Those party hards and lucky punters. Dhs250 (advance) Dhs300 (on the door). 9pm-3am. Chi@The Lodge, Al Nasr Lesiureland, Oud Metha (04 337 9470).
Also Try NYE at Queen Elizabeth 2 The exclusive black-tie bash on this iconic cruise ship is invite-only, but at the time of going to press, organisers Global Event Management revealed a limited number of tickets will also go on sale. www.geventm.com