The opening of BASE, the new nightlife hotspot in d3, has been one of the most hotly anticipated in Dubai's recent memory.
Its arrival was preceded by talk of massive international headliners and a super-venue ready to rival anything the city has seen before. Axwell, of Swedish House Mafia fame, opened the club, and rap legend 50 Cent followed on Friday April 28, with yet more major artists expected to follow before the club breaks for summer.
BASE certainly has the aesthetics nailed. It’s an open-air club featuring a central bar, with tables surrounding the inner circle of the amphitheatre-esque setting, all complemented by pyrotechnics, spectacular lighting and flame-throwing dancers.
Though it boasts many similarities to WHITE (Time Out Dubai’s Club of the Year 2017) in both appearance and atmosphere, the problem with BASE is that it doesn’t feel quite ready yet. It feels oddly like a temporary fixture on the Dubai nightlife scene, and there's some work to do before it will be considered a genuine contender. It's clear on opening night that the operation isn’t ready for the scale of publicity and consequent volume of clubbers – staff are going to need more training in handling the sizeable crowds the club will inevitably attract.
Entry is free, granted, for opening weekend, but from the venue’s perspective that cost is more than recovered by the wallet-sapping drinks prices.
From a clubgoer’s point of view, you'd hope for more. If you don’t have a pricey table in reserve, don’t expect the world. BASE has the makings of a cool, premium venue, but it has some way to go until then.