We’ve all been there. You wait for a bigger night or a better offer, and before you can blink it’s December 31 and you’re staring at an empty diary. But don’t fear: you’re not alone – and you’re certainly not without options in this city. Dubaians are renowned for their late bookings and fickle fancies (as the promoter behind one of this NYE’s biggest nights told us: ‘We always sell well, but there are always tickets left on the door’). So what are you waiting for? Get dressed up and get out to one of our 10 last-minute ideas.
Best for: Gun-toting outlaws.
This New Year’s ho-down features a Tex-Mex buffet, a glass of bubbly and plenty of beverages. Gunslingers are encouraged to don their Stetsons, and there’ll be ample opportunity to catch the Burj Al Arab fireworks without having to pay exorbitant prices. Yeehah!
Top tip: Short of an outfit? Turn to vintage Clint Eastwood for inspiration.
Dhs800 (house beverages), Dhs720 (children aged 12 to 20), Dhs400 (children under 12). 7pm ’til late. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 348 0000)
Ice Land Water Park
Best for: Families and Eskimo enthusiasts.
While not your stereotypical New Year’s Eve destination, this popular polar-themed park is throwing open its gates to 15,000 people on December 31. The 50-acre icy playground boasts 37 slides, although we predict it will be the 6,000-capacity Penguin Bay, a 2,800 sq m dance pool, which will have the greatest buzz.
Top tip: Wrap up warm – it gets icy in the desert, especially when you’re soaked.
Dhs135, Dhs90 for kids over 0.8m tall, free for kids under 0.8m tall. 11am-1am. Ras Al Khaimah, www.timeouttickets.com
Best for: Fans of Filipino beats and eats.
The Resound band and DJ Amok lead the countdown at this Deira venue, with a Pinoy buffet and entry to Kitakits club included in the price, plus two-for-one drinks deals. No booking is required, but a call ahead may get you a place on a shuttle bus service.
Top tip: If you’re feeling peckish, try the traditional Filipino meat dishes, such as crispy pata and pancit canton.
Dhs50. 6.30pm-late. Marco Polo Hotel Dubai, Deira (04 272 0000)
Best for: Relaxed revellers.
This come-as-you-are bar caters for every occasion, with DJ Safet behind the decks playing commercial tunes from 9pm until late. Meanwhile, the personal draft taps on the tables make it easy to ensure you’re adequately refreshed when the clock strikes midnight.
Top tip: It’s a Mexican bar, so try an authentic Mexican drink. The fresh guacamole (prepared at your table) is also to die for.
Free. 7pm-3am. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, www.dxbmarine.com (04 346 1111)
Best for: Money-conscious club hounds.
UK DJ Tom Murgatroyd headlines this Ministry of Sound NYE bash, which also includes local MoS representative Kristian Valdini and resident Dr Anas. The price includes unlimited drinks until 11.45pm, or pay Dhs100 for the open bar afterwards.
Top tip: For best value, either get in early for 9pm, or hit this one after midnight.
Dhs295 before 11.45pm, Dhs100 after. 9pm-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (050 354 2567)
Best for: Hungry hippos.
This Downtown bar will be celebrating New Year in true southern hemisphere style – there will be Antipodean pub grub to hand (think hearty burgers, sizeable steaks and filling sandwiches), along with plenty of drinks (of course), and you’ll also be wonderfully positioned to see the midnight fireworks at the Burj Khalifa.
Top tip: Resolutions start tomorrow, so go easy on the red meat.
Dhs199 (food only), Dhs295 (selected house beverages). 6pm-2am. Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888)
Best for: Flamboyant Elvis wannabes.
This new club will be barely a fortnight old when NYE rolls around, so is planning a glitzy bash that goes off with a bang. Naturally, it looked to the world’s brashest city – and is hosting a Las Vegas-themed party. The best-dressed couple will win with an all-expenses-paid trip to the fair city.
Top tip: Practise your Elvis moves in the mirror at home. Alone.
Dhs250. 10pm-3am. Royal Ascot Hotel, Bur Dubai (050 478 9115)
And three big nights that should still have tickets left...
Best for: Those with a lucky streak.
You know you’re in safe hands at Chi, which is hosting its fifth New Year’s Eve party since it relaunched – making it practically a dinosaur in Dubai terms. The headline draw is a prize giveaway that will see one reveller walk into the new year with a BMW. Musically, party anthems, house, R&B, rock and pop will be played across the four rooms.
Top tip: Keep your fingers crossed all night for extra luck.
Dhs300 on the door. 9pm ’til late. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha (04 337 9470)
Best for: Big groups of mates who argue over musical tastes.
While this is one of the most sought after gigs in town, Sandance has never sold out before. Nasimi’s capacity of 11,000, coupled with the last-minute tendencies of most Dubaians, means we’re expecting some (admittedly more expensive) tickets to be left on the door – Time Out Tickets will be selling any remaining passes until 6pm on December 30. So if you didn’t know until now that Basement Jaxx, Above & Beyond and Roger Sanchez are all appearing on the same bill, it may not be too late.
Best for: Happening hip-hop heads.
Former Will Smith sparring partner DJ Jazzy Jeff was among the last of the big stars to announce he was coming to Dubai for NYE, which means you should be safe to pick up a ticket on the door at Trilogy. Jazz and Smith date back to cult ’90s US TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and together earned the first Grammy award for a rap project back in 1989 for Parents Just Don’t Understand. Support comes from local DJs Andy Buchan, Schooly and Ejaz.
Top tip: Never wear your cap forwards.
Dhs150 (main room only), Dhs700 (garden). Madinat Jumeirah, www.timeouttickets.com