25 to try: do something new

There's no better time to try some different things


It’s September, which means Dubai’s population is swelling and the weather is cooling down – the perfect excuse for getting out there and making the most of the city. It’s also the time when many clubs kick off again. To celebrate, Time Out has profiled 25 top social groups and sports clubs, finding out where they meet, when they play, and how much (if anything) it’ll cost you for the privilege. So whatever you’re into, whether it’s bird watching or basketball, there’s a club or team (and lots of new friends) waiting for you.


The Desert Monologues is an acting workshop for adults that culminates in monologue performances at Ductac at Mall of the Emirates. It doesn't matter if you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner – if you want the chance to tread the boards in a professional theatre, there’s no better way. Simultaneous courses begin on Thursday October 6 and Saturday October 8, and run for seven weeks.
From Dhs1,500 for seven weeks.
tiffany@dramaworkshopsdubai.com (050 986 1761).

Book club
The Dubai Bibliophiles group is all about meeting new people and discussing literature – the two key themes of this ‘democratically run’ book club, which next meets at 7pm at The Pavilion in Downtown Dubai on Saturday October 1.
Free. Register at www.meetup.com/Bibliophiles-Dubai-Book-Club (no number).

Practise your funnies with a group of like-minded aspiring comedians at Dubomedy, which starts its Comedy 101 class on Saturday September 24 and takes place every Saturday until the end of November.
Dhs1,000 for an eight-week programme, including coaching and a live performance. Sun 1.30pm-3pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.dubomedy.com (050 440 0994).

Budding poet? Submit your works to Middle Eastern poetry blog Poeticians, which spans Beirut, Amman and Dubai. Alternatively, you can meet like-minded wordsmiths at the group’s events, which restart in November.
Free. poeticians@gmail.com, www.poeticians.com (no number).

Women’s book club
Dubai Page Turners is a women-only book club that revolves around food, fun and books (obviously). The ladies meet every second Saturday of the month at 6.30pm in various locations around town. The next meeting is on Saturday October 13.
Free. Register at www.meetup.com/DubaiPageTurners (no number).

The Dubai Writers’ Group is a haven for aspiring writers, who meet to discuss one another’s work and provide fair, positive feedback. The group holds regular meetings at various locations across the city. Sign up by visiting the group’s MeetUp page, or follow organiser Will Rankin on Twitter via the handle below.
Free. www.meetup.com/dubaiwriters,@herbertedwards (no number).


Escape the city for the desert to marvel at galaxies and learn telescope skills. The website also features info, tips and updates for meetings. The next extremely educational session is on Friday September 16.
Free. Dubai Astronomy Desert Camp, off Emirates Road, www.dubaiastronomy.com (050 624 6172).

Bird watching
UAE Birding provides guided bird-watching tours at various locarions. The website is also an excellent resource for ornithologists.
Tours Dhs100 for groups of up to four. 777sandman@gmail.com, www.uaebirding.com (no number).

Dubai Anime Club holds cosplay events and anime film screenings on a regular basis. The next event is a screening at Wild Peeta at Dubai World Trade Centre on September 23.
Free. www.dubaianimeclub.com (no number).

Oenophiles need look no further than this group, which meets on a regular basis to sniff, swirl and quaff. The next meeting is on Wednesday September 21 at Carter’s in Wafi, but hurry – places are limited.
Membership is free. Sign up at www.meetup.com/Dubai-Wine-Club (no number).

Dubai’s foodies congregate at Tiffin Club events, which involve a pre-arranged visit to a restaurant (details are posted online). The website also features discussion forums and restaurant recommendations.
Membership is free. Register at www.meetup.com/thetiffinclub (no number).

Natural history
After a summer hiatus, Dubai Natural History Group is reconvening on Sunday September 18 with a talk entitled ‘Socotra’, tracing the group’s trip to Socotra Island off the coast of Yemen.
Free. 7.30pm. Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (050 656 9165).

Table-top gaming
This popular pastime involves collecting and painting fantasy miniatures, which are then incorporated into gaming scenarios. Local enthusiasts The Desert Bandits meet every Friday at 9.30am at Park ’n’ Shop on Al Wasl Road. See page 46 for more info.
Free. shihabm1@hotmail.com (050 871 5156).


Beach volleyball
This is perhaps the sport most suited to Dubai’s warm climate. The Duplays six-a-side beach volleyball league started on September 13, but there’s still time to find a team. Alternatively, learn how to play and get fit at the same time with Duplays’ sports-specific training sessions – effectively a volleyball boot camp.
Duplays league: Dhs450 per person for a season. Tue-Wed 7.30pm. Sports-specific session: Dhs75 per person. Sun 7.30pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, www.dubai.duplays.com (no number).

Dragon boating
There are no less than 15 dragon boat teams across the UAE, and they welcome anyone who can hold a paddle. Some teams are women-only, but the majority are unisex, and all are training for the two-day Abu Dhabi Dragon Boat Festival, which kicks off on Friday October 28. Get in touch with the UAE Dragon Boat Association (details below) to find a team.
uaedragonboat@gmail.com, www.dubaidragonboat.com (050 763 4008).

The Dubai Amateur Football League’s pre-season friendlies start on Sunday September 18, with the league kicking off on Saturday October 2. There will be up to 40 teams playing across four divisions. Ladies who want to play should register with the Dubai Women’s Football Association, which starts in mid-September at Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence.
DAFL registration from Dhs150 per player. dean@dalfootball.com, www.dubaifootball.com. DWFA registration Dhs100 per player. www.dubaiwfa.com (no number).

Think football with sticks, or ice hockey without ice – either way, hockey is a fast-paced sport for both men and women. Hook up with local players at Dubai Hockey Club, which trains every Wednesday and Sunday at 8pm.
Dhs40 per session (non-members); Dhs20 (members). Dubai Sports City, www.dubaihockeyclub.com (050 396 5924).

Ice hockey
Anyone who has previous ice hockey experience can join local team the Dubai Mighty Camels. The team have resumed their training for the Emirates Hockey League, which begins in early October.
Dhs2,000 (league fees; includes 24-game schedule from October to March and jersey). Sun, Mon and Tue 8.30pm, Al Nasr Leisureland, mightycamel19@yahoo.com (050 450 0180).

Netball is the biggest female-only sports league in Dubai, offering ladies of various sporting inclinations (social and serious players) the chance to play and meet new people. A social tournament takes place on September 16 at The Sevens; there will then be two weeks of seeding starting on Wednesday September 28 before the league begins in early October. For more info, search for ‘Dubai Netball League’ on Facebook.
www.dubainetballleague.com, chair.dnl@gmail.com (no number).

If you want to rub shoulders with the polo set, you need to know your chukkas from your check and turns. There’s no better way than to learn to play the sport of kings for yourself, and it’s actually quite easy –
Dubai Polo Academy offers 90-minute beginner sessions as well as 40-minute group lessons for six players.
Beginner sessions Dhs800 per person; group lessons Dhs600 per person. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches. www.dubaipoloacademy.com (050 887 9847).

Dubai’s local rugby scene has gone from strength to strength in recent years. The 2011/12 season kicks off on Friday September 23, meaning there’s still plenty of time to pick a team, get fit and involve yourself in a great social scene.
www.gulfrugby.com, aobrien@onside-sports.com (no number).

You don’t need to be American to enjoy a sport that involves standing in the sunshine, a couple of hop-based beverages and the occasional dash between bases. The 2011 instalment of this long-running local league begins later this month (exact date TBC). Matches take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, 8.15pm and 9.30pm at the Metropolitan Hotel softball fields.
Dhs150 per person to join a team, www.dubaisoftball-league.com (050 651 4970).

Surf Dubai offers lessons, equipment (including paddleboards) and surf tours beyond Dubai – as well as acting as a meeting point for the city’s small but enthusiastic surf community. Alternatively, check out www.surfshopdubai.com for the latest surf gear, news and trips.
Basic membership Dhs600; from Dhs575 for a three-lesson package. www.surfingdubai.com (050 504 3020).

Ultimate frisbee
This sport, invented in the ’60s by the long-haired layabouts of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, is now a global phenomenon. The Duplays league began on Monday September 12, but players can still join –
it runs until Monday November 28.
Dhs375 per player per season. Mon 7.30pm. Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road. ultimate.dxb@duplays.com, www.dubai.duplays.com (no number).

Water polo
Dubai Camels (nothing to do with the ice hockey team) train every Monday and hold regular Friday tournaments. Timings and venues will be confirmed via online event invitations. For more info, search for ‘Waterpolo in Dubai’ on Facebook.
Dhs40 per session. Mon 7.45pm, Fri 9am. Dubai Men’s College, Academic City (04 326 0333).

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