2nd December Street. Seems like an odd name…
Less than it seems – this buzzing little street in Satwa was previously called Al Dhiyafa Street (and still is, by some taxi drivers and the more forgetful among us), but was renamed in 2011 to mark the 40th UAE National Day. Not so coincidentally, Union House – where the declaration of the Federation was signed on December 2, 1971 – sits at the end of the road, between the street and the coastline.
Impressive, but it sounds like a pretty serious place.
Impressive, yes, but hardly serious. From the community of ballers who meet to shoot hoops most nights on the free courts next to the Chelsea Plaza Hotel to the honk-tonking of traffic over the hubbub of diners scarfing cheesy pastries outside Al Mallah, there are few better streets on which to immerse yourself in a slice of community life in Dubai.
What about the shopping scene?
There’s certainly a varied one – from fancy dress at Mr Ben’s Costume Closet and discounted all-sorts at Brands for Less (both inside Al Ghazal Mall) to a number of sportswear shops. Just off 2nd December Street, down Al Satwa Road, you’ll find one of the city’s best strips for fabric stores and bargain tailors.
Yeah, yeah, but what can I eat?
Whatever your greedy little heart desires. To eat like the locals, we recommend working your way through the vast menu of reasonably priced dumplings and dim sum at the Noodle Bowl inside Dune Centre. For Arabic eats (and front-row seats for people and car-watching) the aforementioned Al Mallah is your go-to. Looking for somewhere licensed? Long-standing and well-weathered expats fondly remember nights at the quaint, wooden-floorboarded likes of Il Rustico in the Chelsea Plaza Hotel – go and see what all the fuss is about.
It’s getting late now, how about a drink?
Get thee to Legends Sports Bar in that Chelsea Plaza Hotel, where not only will you find a friendly barman and a ready pint, but pool tables, live football and even the occasional rock night packing in performances from the resident talent.
Only on 2nd December Street
Shawarmas from Al Mallah
Stroll down the street and two giant, cone-shaped meat beasts will steer your eyes from even the flashiest rides on the road. Speedy chefs deftly carve off fat chunks of chicken (or the ominously named “meat”) before stuffing them into a pocket of bread with crunchy, salty pickles and lashings of industrial-strength garlic paste. Your spouse won’t come near you for a week, but it’ll be worth it.
Local lies to tell tourists
Interestingly, 2nd December Street isn’t the only road that was recently renamed. Up until 2014, Al Wasl Road was officially known as Habibi Highway.