With so many new venues opening their doors here, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the hype machine. Ever fancier, quirkier nightspots are launching almost weekly, looking to grab the attention of Dubai’s fickle nightlife crowd. It seems that a bar needs to have the charisma of Jack Nicholson, the edgy appeal of Cara Delevingne and the fame of Rihanna. Sadly, none of these attributes can be attributed to the Oberoi’s latest venue, The Lobby Bar.
Opened just a few months ago, the place is decked out like an upmarket executive lounge bar. If it was a car, it would be an Audi – well-designed and understated. Yet to make a mark on Dubai’s nightspot scene, the bar could have done with being more of a Rolls-Royce or even a Ferrari.
We might be being a little harsh here. The drinks at The Lobby Bar were competently mixed and tasty, the service was memorably entertaining and you can sense there’s a genuine passion behind the place, but what of the flare? There are classier versions of this type of watering hole everywhere, with outdoor terraces and knockout views. There are venues with live entertainment and spots that are so unashamedly decadent they are truly the sort of places you thought only existed on rap videos.
What we really need is a reason to go to The Lobby Bar. We need a decent happy hour, a ladies’ night to attract women – and some verve. There are Cuban cigars and a fine selection of drinks, yet there are no draft hops. In terms of target demographic we’re not quite sure where The Lobby Bar is aiming. Drinks can be created to meet your requirements and the mixers we tried were delicate and delicious. Yet in such a cutthroat market is this enough? If you happen to be staying in the Indian-themed hotel, which incidentally does have great views of the Burj Khalifa, then you should definitely drop in and with its friendly staff and decent drinks we are sure you’ll be quietly impressed. It would also make a great spot to have an intimate chat as there’s none of the deafening music and strobe neon lighting you find elsewhere. Yet sadly it’s not special enough to make a trip.
This bar needs to add something – the world’s biggest TV perhaps, or maybe a giant retractable crystal chandelier. It’s a good thing that Dubai has these competent, no-nonsense nightspots, it’s just uncertain if Dubai wants them right now.