Get a new hobby in Dubai

Discover some of Dubai's wonderfully weird and fun clubs

The Knowledge

Got an itch to try out a new hobby? Chanelle Tourish discovers that Dubai has a ton of wonderfully weird and fun clubs that might just take your fancy…

Just when you thought you’ve tried it all – from shimmying your way through a Zumba class to mastering the art of sushi rolling – along comes a new activity that stands out from the pack. Forget the gym and hit the water with Dubai Flying Dragons, stretch your vocal cords with Dubai Singers or stitch up a storm at The Quilters Circle. Whatever hobby you choose, our round-up of clubs is anything but boring.

Dubai Lego Robot Makers
If you know your Optimus Prime from your Wall-E then this club might just be for you. While those robots may be fictional, the ones at Dubai Lego Robot Markers aren’t. Created to inspire computer and electronic fanatics, the club focuses on innovating and sharing ideas. At each session attendees are invited to do a show and tell presentation, demonstrating the skills of each of their robotic devices. Star Wars fans can rejoice as the group organiser often shows off his impressive R2-D2 model (as seen in the film).
Free. Discovery Pavillion, Street 7, Discovery Gardens, www.meetup.com/dubai-lego-robot-makers.

UAE Wargames/Boardgames
Forget Monopoly, Twister and Cluedo, this gaming group is all about the art of warfare. Common strategic wargames played include Avalon Hill's Panzerblitz, Rommel in the Desert and Twilight Struggle, which have various themes and levels of difficulty. Chances are, you won’t have heard of some of the games, but that doesn’t matter as organisers will show you how to play.
Free. www.meetup.com/uae-wargames-boardgames-group

Dubai Flying Dragons

Squeezing into a tiny wooden boat with 14 others might not seem like everyone’s idea of fun, but, surprisingly, dragon boating is pretty thrilling. While the sport is similar to rowing, dragon boats look a whole lot cooler – their bows tend to be fitted with a dragon’s head and their sterns shaped like its tail. Consisting of men and women, the Dubai Flying Dragons are a competitive team that take part in races across the Emirates and internationally. Newcomers can join the free beginners’ sessions on Saturdays at 5pm to 5.30pm. The first race of the season is the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi Dragon Boat Festival on Friday October 16 and Saturday 17.
Dhs1,100 (annual membership). Mon and Wed 5.45am-6.45am; Sat 7am-8am. Barasti Beach, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Soufouh Road, www.dubaiflyingdragons.com (056 739 8292).

Dubai Painting Party Club

This art club offers members three-hour painting sessions in a relaxed café atmosphere with fellow art lovers. Members just sign up online, show up, order tea or coffee and have fun by following the instructor with all materials provided. Upcoming events include a session at Le Pain Quotidien in DIFC on Saturday July 18 from 9am to 11am. Free. www.meetup.com/dubai-painting-party-group.

Dubai Movies and Foodies

Combine your passion for movies and munching by joining this ‘Meetup’ group, which is free to join. It has more than 2,000 members, but events are usually attended by ten to 20 people. Meet-ups focus mainly on English and Hindi movies and the group is open to viewing all genres from animated flicks to horror. Once signed up, the organiser will add members to a Whatsapp group chat to arrange details. The organisers will book and pay for the tickets in advance, and you pay them back on arrival at the cinema meeting point. Upcoming events include a screening of Ant-Man at BurJuman in Bur Dubai at 7pm on Friday July 31.
Free to join. www.meetup.com/movies-foodie.

Dubai Singers

This vocal ensemble have been together for 30 years and while Glee clubs and a cappella groups may be all the rage these days, the members at Dubai Singers are a lot more sophisticated than your Pitch Perfect types. Expect a little less Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ and a lot more choral offerings such as ‘Carmina Burana’. While the group have a special focus on classical music, they don’t pigeonhole themselves into one genre. Past performances have included fully staged operettas and excerpts from The Pirates of Penzance. Taking a short break for the summer, rehearsals will resume in September in preparation for a new season of shows including a carol service in December.
Dhs300 (annual membership). Mon 8pm-10pm. Kindermusik, Umm Suqeim, www.dubaisingers.info (04 344 8883).

Escape Dubai

Those with a passion for backpacking and exploring will love this tavel and adventure club. Aptly named Escape Dubai, the club arranges various trips around the region. Upcoming events for the summer include trips to Sri Lanka and the Kashmir Valley in northern India on Friday July 17, a Kenyan safari for the Eid holiday and a hiking trip in Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday July 29. The group also hold events closer to home, with day trips to beaches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Free to join. Cost of travel depends on the trip. www.meetup.com/escape-dubai.

Sketchbound Dubai

Doodle a self-portrait, learning new skills and techniques from fellow art enthusiasts at Sketchbound Dubai. You don’t need to be a pro, everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t picked up a pencil in years. The group has a relaxed vibe with no commitments; members can join when it suits.
Free. Sun-Wed 7.30pm. Le Pain Quotidien, Dubai Marina Mall; Mon 7.30pm. Dôme Café, Level 2, BurJuman, Bur Dubai, www.facebook.com/sketchboundinternational.

Sabado Coffee Club

This group of hot beverage lovers meet on the first Saturday of every month at various cafés. Meetings are relaxed and informal and give attendees a chance to take part in tastings, sampling premium roasts from around the world. A selection of eight to 20 coffees are laid out across the table to be tasted and rated. Each person chooses their favourite and are then treated to a cup of their chosen brew.
Free. Next event is noon on Sat Sep 5. Mellow Yellow Bakeshop and Café, Mirdif, www.fatnancysnewdiet.com (04 259 1500).

The Quilters Circle
With 70 female members so far, this group promote the craft of quilting and patchwork. Meeting once a month, sessions concentrate more on skill sharing and discussion, with the majority of sewing being done at home. Sessions include ‘show and tell’ presentations and demonstrations by guest speakers.
Dhs350 (annual membership). 9.30am-noon. First meeting scheduled for September, email for details. Arabian Ranches Golf Club, thequilterscircle@gmail.com.

Twit Book Club
Share your passion for literature with like-minded individuals in this club. Meeting every third Saturday of the month, the group provide recommended reading lists covering fiction, non-fiction and bestsellers. At each session the group discuss the book assigned, with authors dropping in occasionally to take part in Q&A sessions about one of their titles. If you miss a meeting, the group will live tweet the topics of discussion.
Free. Third Saturday of every month 11am-11.30am. Coffeol, Boulevard Plaza, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, admin@twitbookclub.org, www.twitbookclub.org.

Discounts for keen bakers

Customers who purchase any baking item from Hershey’s Chocolate World Dubai will get a recipe box, recipe card and loyalty card. Collect a stamp every time a baking item is purchased and when the loyalty card is full, members will get a Dhs100 voucher to spend in the store. Bakers are also invited to create their own Hershey’s treats at quarterly bake-off sessions, and an end-of-the-year bake-off will feature a grand prize of a year’s supply of Hershey’s baking items.
Free. Open Mon-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Hershey’s Chocolate World Dubai, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.hersheys.com.

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