Dubai’s best live music venues 2018

We profile the top live music venues from Time Out Dubai’s Music & Nighlife Awards

Hard Rock Cafe

1 Hard Rock Cafe
This international brand made its way onto the shortlist of the Best Live Music Venue category of the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2018 thanks to its ability to put on a showstoppingly good live performance from time to time. Earlier this year, Scottish prog rockers Biffy Clyro performed a one-off sold-out gig here, and if it can keep luring in world class talent, Dubai may have itself a truly epic middle-sized venue capable of hosting some pretty mega gigs. More of the same, please.
Open daily noon-2am. Dubai Festival City Mall (04 232 8900).

2 Iris
For something more chilled, head to this wonderfully elegant rooftop bar, where you’ll be able to catch plenty of live music throughout the week, including much of the city’s best local talent. You’ll also find some crackingly creative mixed drinks and mocktails, plus a classy ambience as well as simply magnificent views out across the city. It’s also a highly commended venue in our Bar of the Year  category, FYI. See our review on page 49 for more.
Open Sun-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu 5pm-3am, Fri 1pm-3am; Sat 3pm-2am. The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (056 951 1442).

3 Jazz@PizzaExpress

If it’s got both jazz and pizza in its name, then it’s a winner in our books. And that’s exactly what this place is – because this musically-inclined pizzeria is our Best Live Music Venue of 2018. You can head to one of JLT’s most popular hangouts (which also runs a brilliant brunch every Thursday night and Friday afternoon), and be guaranteed some top live music. The roster changes, too, so you’ll always find some fresh new acts to go with your Pollo Ad Astra.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Cluster A, JLT (04 411 6342).

4 Lock, Stock & Barrel
Go get your head bang on at what we called the best Dubai bar of 2017. Lock, Stock & Barrel (the original) in Barsha Heights is one of the only venues in the city where you can get a massive sweat on to piercingly loud rock ’n’ roll. Barnstorming gigs on a weekly basis aside, you’ll also be able to enjoy an easy-going vibe, grab some good drinks deals, play a spot of pool, enjoy sport on the telly screens and more. The best bit is, all the gigs are free to enter, too.
Open daily 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).

5 McGettigan’s JLT

Pretty much the oldest bar in JLT, this famous Irish venue excels in putting on regular live gigs, shows, music and performances. Whether you’re catching a post-brunch covers band on the stage in the bar, or heading into The Baggot for higher profile gigs and shows, you’re guaranteed a sweaty, head-bangingly good time, and you’re bound to love it.
Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Hotel, Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 378 0800).

6 Moe’s On The 5th
Now this is a cool spot for the cool cats, of that we’re sure. It’s all themed around 1930s New York vibes, and with its stylish interior, cool tunes, live music and knowledgeable barmen who’ll be more than happy to chat you through the menu and craft you some top mixed drinks to accompany your evening. This is a top hangout for music lovers across the city.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 333 3055).

7 MusicHall
This hot Lebanese club is always dishing up some pretty special acts from around the world – offering up a variety of sounds from a variety of cultures. There’s a minimum spend of Dhs300 for a seat here at its Palm Jumeirah location but it’s worth it.
Open Thu-Fri 9pm-3am. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (056 270 8670).

8 Q’s Bar & Lounge
This is a wonderfully classy establishment, built solely for the purpose of providing a haven for quality, intelligent live music all year round. It’s the first live music venue from famous composer, musician, producer and conductor Quincy Jones, so you can be sure that this bar will be dishing up some outstanding live music, five days a week.
Open Tue-Sat 7pm-2am. Show times vary. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Al Jaddaf (04 556 8865).

9 The Fridge

This warehouse-esque venue offers a welcome showcase for local artists, and is the perfect spot for burgeoning musicans. Well worth a visit for fans of new music.
Open Sun-Thu 9am-6pm. Unlicensed. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1 (04 347 7793).

10 The Irish Village
As well as being our Pub of the Year, this legendary Irish haunt regularly hosts some top names, with Toploader the next to hit its stage later this month (on Thursday October 25). Its huge garden makes this pub an expat favourite.
Open daily 11am-1am. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 239 5000).

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