So much to do, so little time, and, honestly, who wants to be stuck ploughing through work in the office, when you could get it done at one of these nifty, well-connected spots around town? Whether you’re a freelancer looking for a new place to get stuck into some work, need to kill time in between meetings, or have a looming deadline but don’t want to be confined to your desk past 6pm, we’ve rounded up 17 of our favourite out-of-office workplaces.
They’ve got everything from speciality coffees and artisanal baked goods to swinging seats, beds, picturesque views and licensed bars. They’re the kinds of places that make a stack of paperwork start to seem appealing and where you’ll be loath to leave at the end of the day. At some of them, you don’t have to. So grab your laptop, choose your coffee and settle in.
Order a coffee from the bar downstairs and head up to the cosy workspace, complete with rugs, comfy sofas and reading nooks, plus a library of donated books to browse when you need a break from working.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Warehouse 4, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (050 556 9797).
Arrows & Sparrows
This little space tends to get packed at weekends, but visit midweek and you’ll find it a quiet spot to get some work done over coffee and a healthy breakfast. Choose from açai bowls or eggs Benedict made with kale, asparagus and pink beetroot hollandaise – the perfect way to start your day.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Building 4, Emaar Business Park, The Greens (04 558 8141).
A colourful spot sequestered away in Business Bay that’s perfect for settling down at any time of day. Sip coffees and snack on baked goods in the afternoon or head here in the evenings to try flammkuchen (a thin, crispy pizza base topped with sour cream, onions and a variety of other toppings) and sip a pint of hops or glass of grape.
Open Sat-Wed 7.30am-11pm; Thu-Fri 7.30am-midnight. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay (04 369 0000).
If you’re serious about coffee (or bikes, or both) head to Café Rider where you’ll find a range of speciality roasts from Kenya, Ethiopia, Peru and beyond, prepared in a huge variety of ways. There are also interesting additions to the menu such as McQueen cider, which is made with apple juice, caramel, ginger and cinnamon, blended with ice and with a double espresso on top. It serves very good, and reasonably priced, breakfast and lunch dishes, too.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-8pm; Fri 8am-5pm. Warehouse 7, 14b Street, First Al Khail Street, off Umm Suqeim Road (04 321 4411).
If you’re partial to nipping out of the office early, but smart enough to still pick up emails, why not do it all from this pub, in the company of a pint and a plate of cheese on toast? We’re also pretty partial to the breakfast menu, which is served all day but offers a 20 percent discount on all orders placed before 11am. (Hot)spot on.
Open daily 8am-2am. Saeed Tower Two, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
The whole of City Walk – yes the whole thing – has free wi-fi, so really you can choose any of the numerous cafés to install yourself in with a laptop. Our pick, however, would be this airy grape bar. Pick a table upstairs by the window, so you’ve got a bit of a view, and choose the grape variety that suits.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat 3pm-1am. La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk, Dubai – Autograph Collection (04 403 3111).
ICON Bar & Lounge
The great thing about ICON is that thanks to its location in the heart of Dubai Media City, you almost certainly won’t be the only one who has dropped in, laptop in tow, to get some work done over a glass of grape. Upstairs is where you’ll find the smoke-filled, loud sports bar, but, downstairs, the lounge is completely smoke-free, quiet and an altogether very different experience.
Open daily 7.30am-1am. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 366 9131).
Network operator du has rolled out its WiFi UAE service across Souk Madinat Jumeirah, so you can now get online in any of the market’s 24 restaurants. Use of service is totally unlimited, uncapped and completely free, so just rock up to your favourite spot, laptop (complete with important tasks for the day) in hand and simply log on. With such options as folly by Nick & Scott, The Noodle House, Perry & Blackwelder’s and The Meat Co. to pick, you really are spoilt for choice.
For more information, visit www.wifiuae.ae.
Nadi Al Quoz
What’s not to love about Alserkal Avenue’s dreamy café and workspace? There are comfy floor seats, swinging benches and even a hanging bed for you to chill on while you work (though there are a few normal tables, too, if you’re a traditionalist). It’s a soothing place to spend the day, and it tends to be extra quiet during the week, too.
Open daily 10am-7pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (050 556 9797).
This swish lounge in the Four Seasons is a great shout if you’re down in DIFC and need somewhere to kill time between meetings or to wrap up a day’s work. It’s essentially a lobby lounge, but tucked away on the upper level, and the menu offers coffees, cakes and light bites, as well as grape and hops.
Open daily 9am-1am. Four Seasons Hotel DIFC (04 506 0000).
Everything from the name to the smart, contemporary venue makes it easy to settle down here and get stuck into work. It’s another Media City venue, so you don’t need to worry about looking out of place if you turn up with a laptop and pile of paperwork. The food is very good, and it’s licensed, so you’re well placed once you clock off from your day.
Open Sun-Wed 6.30am-10.30am, noon-midnight; Thu 6.30am-10.30am, noon-1am; Fri-Sat 6.30am-11am, 1pm-6pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
Where could possibly be more serene to get some work done than surrounded by greenery at this garden centre café? Enjoy a single-origin cappuccino (or treat yourself to an affogato dessert) and get stuck in. Ideal if you’re the sort of person who loves to Instagram your “office for the day”.
Open daily 8am-8pm. Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 449 8578).
As with City Walk, the whole of The Beach opposite JBR has free wi-fi to log onto. In cooler months, install yourself at an outdoor table at virtually any of the cafés or restaurants (from Shake Shack and Eggspectation to Papa Roti Café with its immense, buttery, sugary buns) and spend the afternoon working al fresco while you people-watch.
The Eloquent Elephant
It’s a pub, so we wouldn’t recommend trying to hole up with a load of spreadsheets in the evening or at the weekend. Weekday afternoons and early evenings, however, are the perfect time to visit if you fancy a pint while you work. Find a snug corner, order some artisanal cheeses (with fig, cranberry and star anise chutney, no less) and enjoy.
Open daily Sat-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 438 3100).
The Sum of Us
We think that this brand of Bull&Roo’s three cafés is best for getting serious work done. It doesn’t have the loud acoustics of Tom&Serg, nor the hustle and bustle of Common Grounds, but it does have the same excellent coffee and delicious food and, in our opinion, the best baked goods.
Open daily 8am-11pm. Ground Floor, Burj Al Salam, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 445 7526).
Our favourite things about this Media City café is its picturesque lakeside views. Our second favourite is its menu of excellent café fare, from healthy breakfasts to vibrant salads to hearty burgers. If you like to take frequent breaks (to stretch your legs round the lake, or enjoy a cup of tea in front of a nice view) we suggest you make a beeline for Urban Bistro.
Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-6pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-6pm. CNN Building, Dubai Media City (04 362 4330).
The hotel makes for a great place to base yourself for a day of work in the Downtown Dubai area. Start with a coffee and croissant from La Serre’s fantastic bakery before getting to work under the shade of an umbrella, or choose a comfy couch in (licensed) Stage 2. There’s always Downtown Toko mere steps away, too, so you can go from a day’s work to a night out in a matter of minutes. Perfect.
Vida Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 6888).