Dubai bucket list nights out

Whether you are new in town, on holiday, or call Dubai home there are certain places everyone in the city should visit at least once. Some places are a rite of passage, such as brunch at Saffron (messy but a must), while others like Eden Beach Club are great for soaking up scenic views. New Year’s resolutions? Put these ten spots in your 2016 diary.
Dubai bucket list nights out

Time Out Dubai looks at some of the best nights out in Dubai, including a legendary brunch (Saffron), comedy clubs, beach clubs, best bars and clubs

Whether you are new in town, on holiday, or call Dubai home there are certain places everyone in the city should visit at least once. Some places are a rite of passage, such as brunch at Saffron (messy but a must), while others like Eden Beach Club are great for soaking up scenic views. New Year’s resolutions? Put these ten spots in your 2016 diary.

04 444 7444 Sheikh Zayed Road

Aptly, given its name, this bar feels distinctly cave-like. Not in the sense that you fear you’ll disappear in the darkness, but that it feels cosy and contained.

It’s not underground, but it could be, such is the moodily lit room and lack of windows. It’s chic, elegant and grown up, and we love the dark wood décor.

We settle into one of the large sofas and check out the menu. Being a grape bar there’s an extensive list, with varying prices.

Cave’s remarkably quiet for a midweek evening, and there are only a handful of other guests. Due to the cavernous nature of the space with various little hidey-holes, people are seated far apart from other groups. It also means there’s little-to-no vibe.

Drinks also take an unusually long time to arrive, too, given the small amount of people. It’s not cheap, but a daily happy hour helps with that. Visit between 6pm and 8pm on a weekday and you’ll get 25 percent off drinks.

And there’s another good reason to visit – the cheese. Cave offers up various nights including fondue Fridays – a sharing pot of melted cheese and a bottle of grape for Dhs299 – while on a Tuesday you’ll get unlimited grape, cheese and cold cuts for Dhs275.

Cave is a chic and cosy place for a drink, but needs to up its game to really shine.

The bottom line
Chic bar, but lacking in atmosphere.

050 433 0933 Meydan

This huge outdoor super-club has set the benchmark high for nights out in Dubai, which other venues in the city are no match for.

Its spectacular light shows and 360° panoramic views of the city are the least of it. WHITE brings out the big guns month after month, booking some of the world’s biggest stars to perform live at its regular events.

You can pack yourself in with the crowd and scream along to Rita Ora or dance to Armin van Buuren in front of the stage, but there are plenty of VIP areas, too, for those who like their club nights to be a little more velvet-roped and exclusive.

This setting easily caters to both without sacrificing on atmosphere. Its sheer scale isn’t at the expense of a good deal, either. The club’s Tuesday ladies’ night offers not only unlimited drinks, but also unlimited sushi from 10pm until 12.30am – not to the mention the fact that it had a five-week takeover from none other than Tinie Tempah.

WHITE is exclusive, but not overly so, and the atmosphere on any given night is nothing short of electrifying. Head here for your next big shindig.

The bottom line
A must-try-it-more-than-once experience.

056 270 8670 Palm Jumeirah

There’s something about MusicHall that reminds us of the elegance of the 1940s and ’50s, when stars like Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly were the toast of Tinseltown and dinner shows were the go-to night out.

An evening here can feel pretty special. Aside from its club dinner shows, MusicHall offers a unique nightlife concept.

Designed like a theatre with tables arranged in tiered steps, guests can watch a series of live music performances every weekend from a wide variety of genres including Middle Eastern bands, French and American pop acts and tribute acts. The shows cater to a variety of tastes, which make it perfect for celebrating occasions with
larger groups.

The venue is lavish and opulent, red velvet curtains line the walls, while gold detailing runs through the bar and seating areas. It’s the type of place that you should dress up for and with a minimum spend of Dhs450 per person, you know it’s a little more exclusive. Drinks aren’t cheap – a single measure will set you back Dhs50 to Dhs70 – but when you have a live band on stage, and are seated in such unique surroundings, the extra dosh makes it worthwhile.

The bottom line
A place with awesome old-school charm.

04 448 8000 TECOM

Suggesting a bout of karaoke to a gathering of mates is a way to slice a group down the middle. Like smelly cheeses and stray dogs, half (perhaps the snobbier) of your mates will turn their noses up in the disgust. The other half? They’ll umm-and-aaah and murmur excuses, but all the while be rifling their mental karaoke songbook, ready to let out their inner diva.

One of the many pluses of living in a cosmopolitan city like Dubai is that there’s ample opportunity to explore this guilty pleasure. We’ve long been fans of getting all X-Factor over at Harry Ghatto’s in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, but we’ve recently heard rumours of something more authentic at TECOM’s off-the-radar Kung Korean Restaurant & Karaoke. Predictably, the decision to venture to this altar of embarrassment, irony and shame quickly divided our group of seven (you know who you are), but luckily we were crashing a far bigger party already there.

Stepping out of the elevator onto the Byblos’s mezzanine floor, we were met with a crowd of Koreans leaving the restaurant: a good early sign of authenticity. We entered a very pleasant, brightly lit and well-decorated room, with low tables at which to kneel and a smattering of Asian families nibbling their Friday dinner. Tasteful and serene, but hand us the mic, please.

The mood is very different inside the eight private karaoke rooms. Long, thin and overpoweringly dark, the rooms are well-equipped with huge screens, decent mics and – most importantly – a huge tome listing the hundreds of musical delights that can be dialled up at the drop of a hat.

When the music cranked up and the party got going, the room quickly became overwhelmingly noisy and sickeningly smoky. But as the night wore on, it became increasingly cheery. A dozen ‘singers’ wrestled for the mic, while revellers started to clamber on the table for a dance – tucked behind a door in a family restaurant, you can’t help but feel a bit naughty.

With a drink in one hand and a mic in the other, you could sure have fun belting out classics here. But, like a plate of smelly cheese, you need to like that kind of thing in the first place.

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