XO Coffee Boutique
It’s the first ‘open bar’ speciality coffee shop concept in the UAE, and the baristas at this nice and cosy space can certainly whip up an art-centric hot cuppa. Coffee beans here are sourced from Italy, Spain and Hong Kong. In fact, the Emirati owners were the first to bring the world roasting champion – Gardeli’s (Italy) – beans to the UAE. While there are plenty of artsy hot and cold coffees to sip on, there are also freshly-baked cookies, brownies, croissants and the signature XO loaf bread – one not to be missed.
Open Sun-Wed 6am-10pm, Thu 6am-midnight, Fri-Sat 9am-midnight. Carmel Building, Al Khawaneej, www.xocoffee.ae (04 268 8483).
Arabian Tea House Café
Set in the historic Al Fahidi district in Bur Dubai, the Arabian Tea House Café is a large courtyard with plenty of seating for arty types, locals and tourists. As the name suggests, there more than 100 different teas available, and if you’re feeling hungry, there are hearty salads, sandwiches and traditional Emirati cuisine. Go there for the experience and the rich cultural heritage.
Open daily 7.30am-10pm. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai (04 353 5071).
This hip eco-friendly upcycling café hosts a load of workshops, including chemical-free toothpaste making, meditation sessions, bottle cutting workshops, laughing yoga and even bike customisation. It’s also pet-friendly so head along with your furry friend, enjoy a cuppa or some healthy fare all while enjoying the artsy vibes.
Open Mon-Sat 11am-9am. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (055 102 4469).
Innocuously located in Barsha South, Maisan 15 is one of those places that you’d only go to if you knew about it, but it should definitely be a place you visit soon. Set up and formerly owned by artist Jonathan Gent, the charming independent café has oodles of arty charm with a community library inside, an open kitchen with diner-style booths, old vinyl records playing and an al fresco area, serving healthy breakfasts and tempting, wholesome mains made using seasonal and regional ingredients. There’s also a gallery of top art to admire while you enjoy your food. A quirky, cool place that’s well worth checking out.
Open Sun-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm. Maisan Towers, Barsha South (04 244 7291).
Sketch Art Café
Unleash your inner Picasso and try your hand at a spot of drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking and mosaics at this café and art studio. You can even get creative with your coffee cups and the best will go on display. A good one for the whole family to get creative.
Open daily 9am-11pm. Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (04 271 2603).
Located in a two-storey villa in the heart of Jumeirah, this multi-concept artistic space is a one-stop shop for art-lovers and collectors alike. All under one roof you’ll find an art gallery, an antique gallery, interior design services, a café, a library and a schedule of various workshops and events.
Open daily 8am-11pm. Jumeirah 2 (055 136 9454)
Amid the labyrinthine of alleyways that make up Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, you’ll find this quirky little café inside the retro XVA Art Hotel. The walls are adorned with striking art, and there’s a tree in the courtyard making it the sort of place where you’ll want to relax and chill. The hotel also houses a gallery that hosts regular exhibitions that feature a range of key Middle Eastern artists, plus the food is vegetarian-friendly
Open daily 7am-9pm. XVA Art Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 353 5383).
Art plays a huge role in this Peruvian restaurant’s identity and the swish spot regularly hosts cultural events including art exhibitions, pop-ups, art conversations and masterclasses so dining at this cool global brand is always going to be special. There’s a trendy bar to start off in before wolfing down some zesty ceviche and stellar tableside guacamole. Did we mention the churros?
Open Mon-Wed 12.30pm-1.30am, Thu-Sat 12.30pm-2am; Sun noon-1.30pm. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600).
La Cantine du Faubourg
Expect to marvel over works of art while nibbling on deliciously creamy mac ’n’ cheese-style pasta, with regular shows and ever-changing exhibitions constantly gracing the walls at this super-cool and award-winning French restaurant and bar.
Open Sun-Wed noon-2am; Thu-Fri noon-3am; Sat noon-6pm, 8pm-2am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, DIFC (04 352 7105).
Tasty French food with eclectic artsy décor. Admire collections in the restaurant’s frequently updated art gallery before turning your attention to the food menu.
Open daily noon-2am. Dubai Design District, Ras Al Khor Road (052 949 2202).