P/25, or Penthouse 25, sits on the 25th floor of Ocean View Hotel in JBR – those afraid of heights may wish to avoid the tiny area. The elegant hotel is home to popular sports bar Girders and the newly launched TR!BECA Kitchen + Bar.
The latest addition to the hotel has seen the penthouse floor converted into a laid-back, casual bar. Playing host to a house music night with popular local DJ act Smokingroove, we arrived with the hope that the bar would be a new, hipper version of some of Dubai’s more underground music spots. However, on arrival, we were greeted with a large, black, heavy Georgian-style door with a postbox, typical of an upmarket London suburb. Entering the venue, we were even more surprised. The space itself is small and designed with an open-plan feel. Sofas and tables line one wall, while tables and chairs are dotted around the main floor space in front of the DJ booth. The space immediately feels like a hotel lounge bar, with bulky wooden armchairs taking up more room than is necessary.
While the interior is tasteful and elegant, the bar appears more suited to jazz or piano than hosting a house music night. The layout just isn’t as functional for a lively music night – there is no real dance area or room to mingle, except on the small balcony outside. On our visit, a group of six friends started manoeuvring tables across the floor to sit together, which took up almost half the entire bar space. Staff were happy to accommodate them and were genuinely helpful and friendly, on the plus side.
Once you get past the fact that there is a DJ playing house music, you can relax and just enjoy the bar. The volume was quite low, so the place had a chilled atmosphere, which may be a little too quiet for the livelier partygoer, but ideal for those looking to converse. Drinks are standard, with mixed drinks ranging from Dhs50-75 and hops from Dhs35, while a glass of sparkling grape will set you back Dhs50 – not exactly cheap, especially when you can go to the ground floor for happy hour from midnight to 2am at Girders.
P/25 has the potential to be a nice spot for a few drinks, but it needs to determine what it is marketing itself as – a lounge hotel bar or a venue hosting weekly house nights and offering drinks deals. Either way, the layout and interiors seem to only cater to one.