The way we look at it, if your friends are only over for one weekend you need to make an impact. How you make that impact is down to you. If it’s spectacle you want, then you can rock up to Sanctuary (Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, 04 426 0000), where the glowing walls, cavernous entrance and incredible dancefloor should do the job. Just be aware that the crowds can be a bit snooty and it doesn’t get busy till after 11pm. If you want to show off the city’s cultural make-up (and the ace garden area) then Chi (Al Nasr Leisureland, 04 337 9470) is an ever-reliable option that attracts some choice acts.
It also genuinely does have something for every-one on its Friday nights: indie, dance and R&B/hip hop being the standard options, with a sprinkling of cheese here and there. Of course, there’s also recent Nightlife Award winner Alpha (Le Méridien Dubai, Le Méridien Village, 04 217 0000), which provides more variety in its rotating Friday nights alone than you’d get in most clubs all week, not to mention its urban, Bollywood and house events.
To make your mark in a more relaxed way, Soluna (Layali Tent, Mina A’Salaam, 04 366 9111) is a beachside bar overlooked by the extra-ordinary sight of the Burj al Arab hotel. If only it opened on more nights than just Saturday. Never mind – for those looking for week-round entertainment, there’s The Music Room (Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, 04 359 8888), which is hosted by a pair of local cover bands.
Flipside are perfectly fine, but the real draw are Rockspiders, the Filipino rock band hosted by three young ladies and a gaggle of men with more hair than everyone in the ’80s put together. And, if you want to go for a full-on, cheesefest, then check out Russian restaurant Troyka (Ascot Hotel, 04 359 5908), which from 11.30pm to 1.30am has a hilarious – though not always intentionally so – Russian cabaret accompanied by traditional tunes from a live band.
Peanut Butter Jam at Wafi is the best place to chill out. It’s laidback, open air and the views are beautiful. But it’s tough to play because everyone’s sitting down on beanbags instead of standing at the stage!
Ben Jones, British guitarist with The Meerkats
It’s had more names than Howard Marks, but Klub Casuarina – the former Club Africaana – remains a Time Out favourite. Drag a crowd of friends down there and its packed dancefl oor, up-forit crowd and African beats will leave a grin on your face for ages.
Klub Casuarina, Rush Inn Hotel (04 352 2235), Bank Street, 7pm-2am daily