Cavalli is an institution on the Dubai nightlife scene, known for its glitzy parties, daring shows and lavish décor. This year the home of all things bold, brash and absolutely fabulous turns ten, so it’s only right to pop along and raise a glass.
It’s a swanky venue and guests dress accordingly, so make sure you dig out your gladrags for a night out here.
There’s opulent glamour throughout, from the massive crystal chandeliers down to the animal-print soft furnishings (and even that furry wall).
We recommend heading here after 11 as it doesn’t really get busy until later into the evening, but when it does fill up, it tends to get lively.
There are events nearly every night of the week including three courses for women on Tuesday ladies’ night (Dhs150) and special dinner shows on a Thursday evening.
It can a bit hit and miss though. At times it’s practically empty, meaning the vibe is lacking – but on other occasions it’s packed to the rafters.
Regardless of the numbers, you can expect something special on the dancefloor, with aerial hoop performances, silk dancers and glitter cannons.
If you’re up for a big night – and you’re after a show – then you can’t go wrong with Cavalli.
The bottom line
A famous club that’s worth a visit.
Flavio Briatore’s Billionaire Mansion burst onto the scene back in 2016, bringing with it spangly interiors, bombastic ladies’ nights and performances that kept a section of the city’s well-heeled pouring through the doors in their droves.
While those punters are still present, there are peaks and troughs throughout the week, and you’ll need to choose the night of your outing carefully (Tuesdays are typically a safe bet, where it’s also ladies’ night in the bar). Some of the shine has faded, too. Before the lights go fully down and a clubbier vibe fills the room, it’s hard not to miss the scuffed edges and peeling tables, and it feels as though the venue is in need of a bit of love.
Service varies wildly between the restaurant and bar. Staff can’t do enough for you in the former, but in the latter, even on quieter evenings, we’re left waving our arms wildly to try and catch someone’s eye. Fortunately, once you eventually manage to grab a member of staff’s attention, they’re unfailingly helpful (and quick on the complimentary popcorn and olives – always a bonus).
Billionaire is not to every taste, but if you are going to give it a whirl, be sure to head down late.
The bottom line
High-end nightspot lacking a little sparkle.
This bar’s opening was shrouded in secrecy. But, being a “speakeasy”, that was exactly how the bosses of R Trader wanted it to be.
With a hidden entrance behind a pawnbroker facade, the fun begins before you’ve even stepped through the door. If you do find it and make it inside, you’ll be stepping into a Prohibition-era bar, with spot-on period pieces and unbelievable attention to detail. Sadly, a no photography rule means the only images we can bring you are of these bar stools.
The music sets the tone, with an excellent jazz soundtrack or live performances. Have you seen the movies Dick Tracy or Who Framed Roger Rabbit? While it might not be Madonna or Jessica Rabbit performing here, house band Rita and the Rogues are the real deal, turning modern pop songs into period pieces and playing the oldies with pizzazz.
R Trader is somewhere you can forget about the outside world. It would be easy to spend hours here, though if you do, we should warn you that the bill is likely to be hefty. But the quality of the entire operation is so high, it is worth it. One of the best new bars in town without a doubt. We’re almost annoyed we have to tell you about it, as we were enjoying it being our little secret.
The bottom line
A place to discover, cherish and lose yourself in.
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
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.