Where to eat, drink and be merry this month.
Dating back to the nineteenth century, the Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the royal wedding of the Prince of Munich and is today one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. The sixteen-day event is held annually in Munich, Germany, during late September (and running to early October) and is one of the most famous events in the city, as well as the world’s largest fair, with some six million people attending every year. With a large German expat community in Dubai, Oktoberfest has become an established social highlight on the calendar, modelled after the Munich fesitval. Oktoberfest celebrations in Dubai range from large outdoor events, at the Grand Hyatt and the Sheraton, to fun themed nights at Barasti.
‘It’s become such a popular event because as summer comes to an end, the festival is a great way to celebrate outdoors, with friends and family together in a fun, lively environment. It’s also a great way to kick-start the winter social season. Oktoberfest at the Grand Hyatt is truly authentic, we fly in one of Oktoberfest’s most famous bands from Munich and it’s an event that both German expats and non-German expats will enjoy,’ says Conor O’Leary, Director of Food and Beverages, Grand Hyatt, Dubai.
Oktoberfest events generally feature traditional hearty food such as Hendl (chicken), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish) and Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), as well as a selection of Bavarian hops, hilarious songs and of course the traditional costume of lederhosen for men and dirndl dresses for women. Get your Bavarian fix at one of Dubai’s Oktoberfest celebrations.
The popular beach bar never shys away from a good celebration. From Australia Day to St Patrick’s Day, and the recent World Cup celebrations, Barasti have thrown themselves into the fray and are known for their casual, fun party atmosphere. While it may be the first year that the venue is celebrating Oktoberfest, it looks set to be an exciting one. Mark your diaries and get down to the beach to sample a selection of German hops, food and music. For the first time ever, the newly expanded and refurbished Barasti middle deck will have more schnitzel, wurst and frites than you can shake a stick at, plus daily live performances by Die Lauser. The special Oktoberfest menu ranges from Dhs25 to Dhs85 and costumes are encouraged.
Free entry. Die Lauser will perform nightly from 6pm from Sat-Wed; from 12.30pm Thu-Fri. Barasti, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Dubai Marina, www.barastibeach.com (04 399 2313).
Dubai Sports City
Spread over two days in the air-conditioned comfort of the Indoor Dome, Oktoberfest here will feature a range of Bavarian food options and drinks. The price includes entry with additional costs for food and beverages. Celebrating its fifth anniversary of the popular Bavarian festival, the music will have an undeniably authentic feel thanks to the appearance of German band Die Derbys, once again flying in for the two-night spectacular ahead of a 21st year playing at the original Munich Oktoberfest event in Germany. There will be a DJ in action too, an entertainment zone including a bull ride and photo booth and an outdoor area for those who prefer to enjoy their evening under the stars. In the past, the majority of revellers have gone in full costume but you aren’t obliged to.
Dhs30, VIP tables available for Dhs400 (eight people) and Dhs500 (ten people). 9pm-2am. Indoor Dome, Sports Village, Dubai Sports City, www.ticketmaster.ae (04 425 1111).
Grand Hyatt Dubai
For the eighth year running, Grand Hyatt Dubai plays host to the largest Oktoberfest event in a spacious air-conditioned festival tent from Wednesday to Saturday. Priding itself on authentic flair, guests will feel like they have been transported to Munich when entering the original Oktoberfest tent entrance and marvel at the Bavarian sky, a play of blue and white cloths hanging on the ceiling giving the feel of an open-air venue.
Sample hendl (chicken), obatzda (spicy cheese concoction), apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel), kaiserschmarrn (German pancake) and other traditional dishes. Guests are served by traditionally dressed waiters and waitresses, completing the authentic atmosphere. If you fancy a dance and sing-along session, the original Oktoberfest band from Munich, Die Kirchdorfer, are on hand to entertain. With a foot-tapping melody and energetic beats, the band will perform songs dedicated to the long-awaited festival. On Sundays and Mondays the hotel is opening its festival tent for exclusive group bookings starting from 100 persons. Families who wish to celebrate the event can indulge in a Bavarian-style Saturday Brunch.
Free entry, a la carte dining. Tent open Wed-Sat 7pm. Brunch from Dhs180 for food only, Dhs240 including hops and house grape. Sat October 11, 18 and 25, 12.30pm-4pm. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha dubai.grand.hyatt.com (04 317 2618).
JW Marriott Hotel Dubai
Embark on a mini-break to Germany and visit this year’s Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai, Deira. The cheery staff greet you in lederhosen and dirndls and the venue’s décor evokes the cosiness of a family brewery. A live Oktoberfest band will play every evening from 8pm onwards. Some of the Bavarian delicacies on offer include grandmother’s potato salad, Bavarian beef goulash, veal dumplings in caper sauce and a variety of German sausages, with pretzels.
Packages from Dhs250 including a Bavarian buffet and soft beverages; Dhs350 including a Bavarian buffet and house beverages. Thursday and Friday. À la carte menu will be served from Saturday to Wednesday, 6pm to 2am. JW Marriot Hotel Dubai, Deira, www.marriot.com/hotels/travel/dxbae (04 607 7977).
Belgian Café, Dubai Festival City
October 10-11, 24-25 and 31
Prepare for a weekend of revelry with authentic Belgian delicacies at the ‘Belge Fest’. Sample a three-course menu, with Hoppertizers and salads including crispy shrimps, calamari and chicken wings followed by a lavish main course with roast chicken, veal sausages, short ribs, tiger prawns and steamed mussels. Desserts include a choice of waffles, all served with unlimited house beverages.
Dhs225 including unlimited house beverages. Friday and Saturday, noon to 3.30pm. Belgian Café, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City, www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/dubai (04 701 1127).
Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Oktoberfest at the Sheraton is a popular one. Located in the gardens of the hotel, guests can enjoy traditional Bavarian dishes and beverages. The venue is lined with picnic tables, perfect for groups of friends and families. The main stage will host a traditional band who entertains throughout the night with their comical songs. Costumes and traditional dress are welcomed.
Packages from Dhs195 per person including entrance fee and buffet; Dhs395 per person including entrance free, buffet and soft drinks, hops and grape. 7pm-midnight. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, JBR, www.sheratonjumeirahbeach.com (04 399 5533).
More Dubai festivals coming soon…
Quoz Arts Festival
The Quoz Arts Festival takes place on November 8 and offers public events spanning design, music, art and film across 45 creative spaces. The line-up will include live art and public murals by local artists, workshops, film screenings and gallery openings, as well as live music performances. Dedicated family-friendly events will take place throughout the day catering to children and parents.
Free. 10am-10pm. Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1 (04 416 1900).
Dubai International Film Festival
The 11th edition of the festival takes place from December 10 to 17. Each year the festival presents new and exciting cinema from the Arab world and beyond, introducing audiences to fresh new talent. Celebrities flock to the premieres of some of the world’s best films, which have included Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in past editions.
December 10 to 17. Various locations, www.dubaifilmfest.com.
Dubai Christmas Festival
The Amphitheatre in Dubai Media City will be transformed with a wintery Christmas atmosphere from Thursday December 11 to Saturday 13. Taste incredible festive dishes from Dubai’s hottest restaurants, see local celebrities put their individual twists on Christmas festive workshops and enjoy festive activities and find the perfect gifts at the Christmas Market.
December 11 to 13. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City, www.dubaichristmasfestival.com
Now get the look
Get your lederhosen or dirndl dresses in Dubai’s costume shops – but hurry!
Mr Ben’s Costume Closet
Bavarian style costumes for both men and women are available to buy from Dhs325 to Dhs500 and to rent from Dhs175 with a deposit of Dhs1,000. Men’s rental costumes include a frill shirt, jumper, hat and suspenders and there’s a full dress and tutu for ladies.
Open Saturday to Thursday 10am-9pm; Friday 10am-10pm. Al Diyafa Street, Al Wasl Junction, (04 346 3422).
Ladies have a choice of Bavarian maid outfits to buy, which include the dress with apron, pink pettiskirt and hair bows for Dhs295, with other options from Dhs270-Dhs295. Guys can go for the full lederhosen, pullover shirt with lace-up collar, hat and knee socks for Dhs295. Accessories are available, such as suspenders.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Umm Suqeim Street, Shop No. 1, Al Barsha 2 (800-26788637) or Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Shops 12B and 120B, Jumeirah 1 (04 349 4719).
Partyzone offers an array of Oktoberfest accessories from Dhs35, including glasses, hats, suspenders and headpieces. Full adult costumes range from Dhs219 and include everything from traditional Bavarian-style outfits to comical choices.
Party Zone. Open daily 10am-10pm. Town Centre Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.partyzonellc.com (04 344 8464). Other locations: The Dubai Mall and Mirdif.