Nightlife & Music

Sumo wrestling. Not the first thing that might spring to mind when you think of Friday brunch at one of Dubai’s biggest bars. But here at Lock, Stock & Barrel in JBR, it takes centre stage. This is a place that does things differently, and the weekends are absolutely no exception.

After paying at the door and sticking on your wristband, you’ll be led through the sprawling bar to your table – past giant Connect Four and ring toss games, revellers sipping drinks out of miniature bathtubs (complete with floating rubber ducks) and that room-dominating sumo ring.

Though Lock, Stock & Barrel typically does some stellar grub (the Grand Millennium branch has won Time Out Dubai’s Best Bar Food gong two years running), few are here on a Friday afternoon to feed.

Served to the table, the menu is, fittingly, divided into “rounds” rather than courses, which staff race around delivering to tables. Given the crowd and the rush, woe betide those bold enough to fuss over the ingredients or order in which dishes come out… Of the inaugural Americanas round, the Buffalo wings are the highlight – everything else is either a little undercooked or a little cold. Not that it stops us shovelling potato skins into our faces – we’ve got a wrestle to fuel up for.

Round 2 arrives, and though we’ve been keenly anticipating the battered sausage, the small nubbins that arrive (surrounded by a fairly meagre scattering of chips) are more backstreet Barsha chicken shop than British chippy.

After some tasty fried rice and a surprisingly succulent shish taouk, however, we’re well and truly ready to party – as, it seems, is the rest of the room. The place is swinging and fists are flying in the ring. Clad in giant plastic suits, friends spar with one another to the strains of the Spice Girls, and once the bell rings and brunch ends, the place really kicks off.

As The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger comes blaring through the speakers, staff bring around a short drink for everyone in the room, a video of YouTube fails beams onto the screen, and the band begin leaping around on stage. It’s at this point that (what seems like) the rest of the city’s brunchers pour into the bar to carry on their own festivities, and the entire room is suddenly packed.

Lock, Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk serves up a Friday throwdown that is not for the faint-hearted. But for Dubai’s weekend party crowd (sausages aside), it’s pretty close to perfect.

See you in the ring.
Dhs369 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 520 0049).

The bottom line
Less about the food, all about the fun.
Nightlife & Music

A massive and fantastically mad brunch in one of the city’s biggest bars

Sumo wrestling. Not the first thing that might spring to mind when you think of Friday brunch at one of Dubai’s biggest bars. But here at Lock, Stock & Barrel in JBR, it takes centre stage. This is a place that does things differently, and the weekends are absolutely no exception.

After paying at the door and sticking on your wristband, you’ll be led through the sprawling bar to your table – past giant Connect Four and ring toss games, revellers sipping drinks out of miniature bathtubs (complete with floating rubber ducks) and that room-dominating sumo ring.

Though Lock, Stock & Barrel typically does some stellar grub (the Grand Millennium branch has won Time Out Dubai’s Best Bar Food gong two years running), few are here on a Friday afternoon to feed.

Served to the table, the menu is, fittingly, divided into “rounds” rather than courses, which staff race around delivering to tables. Given the crowd and the rush, woe betide those bold enough to fuss over the ingredients or order in which dishes come out… Of the inaugural Americanas round, the Buffalo wings are the highlight – everything else is either a little undercooked or a little cold. Not that it stops us shovelling potato skins into our faces – we’ve got a wrestle to fuel up for.

Round 2 arrives, and though we’ve been keenly anticipating the battered sausage, the small nubbins that arrive (surrounded by a fairly meagre scattering of chips) are more backstreet Barsha chicken shop than British chippy.

After some tasty fried rice and a surprisingly succulent shish taouk, however, we’re well and truly ready to party – as, it seems, is the rest of the room. The place is swinging and fists are flying in the ring. Clad in giant plastic suits, friends spar with one another to the strains of the Spice Girls, and once the bell rings and brunch ends, the place really kicks off.

As The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger comes blaring through the speakers, staff bring around a short drink for everyone in the room, a video of YouTube fails beams onto the screen, and the band begin leaping around on stage. It’s at this point that (what seems like) the rest of the city’s brunchers pour into the bar to carry on their own festivities, and the entire room is suddenly packed.

Lock, Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk serves up a Friday throwdown that is not for the faint-hearted. But for Dubai’s weekend party crowd (sausages aside), it’s pretty close to perfect.

See you in the ring.
Dhs369 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 520 0049).

The bottom line
Less about the food, all about the fun.

Bar & pub food +971 4 888 3828 Burj Khalifa Area

Dubai is famous for many record-breaking things, not least for the fact it’s home to the world’s tallest building. So whether you’re a resident or visitor to the city, if there’s one bar you need to visit, it’s At.mopshere. Perched high on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa the views are unparalleled.

A super-speedy journey in the lift belies the height, so get ready for the wow-factor when you reach your destination. From the moment of stepping out into the reception area we’re blown away by the views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Take a seat in the lounge area (you’ll pay a premium for a window seat, but it’s worth it) and settle in to enjoy the unrivalled vistas.

There’s an innovative range of mixed drinks, so be sure to study the menu, as well as a selection of grape and hops. Bar snacks are on the classy side, think burrata et al, although there’s also a generous portion of complimentary stuffed olives and roasted nuts, which is a nice touch.

Drinks are on the pricey side, but for a special occasion there really is no better place to impress your date or surprise your family members.

The bottom line
Elegant bar with world-class vistas.
050 650 4988 Sheikh Zayed Road

It’s a common misconception that the lucky cat figures (or maneki-neko) adorning the counters of Asian restaurants are waving at customers. In fact, they’re actually beckoning them in. But at The Unlucky Cat, it doesn’t seem to be working.

Billed as a “funky Asian speakeasy”, it’s essentially a restaurant bar, shoehorned into the corridor that leads to Miss Tess. The eatery itself is fun – with entertainment in the form of break dancing, Chinese dragons and more – so, while you might stop by pre-dinner, we’re not sure many would choose to linger in The Unlucky Cat or visit as a standalone.

Like Miss Tess, it’s a complete mash-up of cultures. The menu focuses on Japanese mixed beverages, using flavours such as plum in a fascinating range of drinks. Yet the bar food menu serves dim sum and pad Thai – and the staff wear Vietnamese-style hats.

A constant flow of hungry diners idle by, making the centre of the dimly lit space a thoroughfare, which isn’t particularly relaxing, nor do they seem to be stopping.

However, if you do decide to take a seat there are loads of offers including a daily two-for-one happy hour from 6pm until 8pm. Ladies also get two free drinks every night, making it good for a bargain, but probably not worth a visit in its own right.

The bottom line
If you want deals, you’re in luck.
04 503 6111 Downtown Dubai

CLOSED AND RELOCATING WITHIN THE SOFITEL DOWTOWN

Dubai has tonnes of sports bars, and with so many offering top deals, multiple screens and a great vibe, finding the right place can be a challenge.

Player Sports Bar is a relatively new addition to the scene, but this beast is already one of the stand-out contenders.

If you’re looking to watch the footy at the weekend, it’s a great place to try. This 31st floor bar is striking, from the moment you walk in. Greeted with a wall-sized image of Egyptian football superstar Mo Salah, you’ll also be welcomed with a wall of noise, with music pumping out and the sound of fans defying their morning alarm clocks for an evening of live sports action.

There’s a decent daily happy hour, too, where you’ll get selected hops for Dhs20, and 50 percent off selected mixed drinks from 3pm until 7pm. However, if you miss it, fear not, as drinks are reasonably priced the rest of the time, too, at around Dhs35.

You can’t fail to be struck by how much effort this place has put into its décor. The amount of flags, jerseys, posters and more is immense. They’re everywhere. And, refreshingly, it’s not just focused on football – whether you’re a rugby, cricket, tennis or golf fan, Player Sports Bar dedicates different areas of the venue to certain sports.

There’s also a vast number of screens. More than a dozen flatscreens plus a projector screen line the walls. too. The bar sprawls a long way down, with a view of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows providing alternative sights to the game, too.

Plus there are two pool tables, foosball, darts and more to keep you entertained. This is one player that has made a quick impact since its arrival.

The bottom line
TVs and deals. What more do you need?

04 455 9989 Palm Jumeirah

With the sweltering summer having made a heavy-handed entrance, it’s time to turn our attention from the city’s wealth of al fresco watering holes, and contemplate something cooler. And happily, at Above 21, that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice views. We’ve raved about The Penthouse at FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai on many an occasion. Its classy vibe, Time Out Dubai award-winning ladies’ night and stunning vistas out across the Marina make it a winning spot for residents and tourists alike. But if you can’t face temperatures rising above 40°C, there’s another option.

Set on the 13th floor of the trendy hotel (there’s also a private members’ version on the floor above) Above 21 has a chic, fresh feel as it’s all blue and cream leathers. Mirrored cabinets and pale fittings add to the feeling of space, even though it’s a petite area.

We settle in to admire the views from floor-to-ceiling windows out across the Marina. It’s stunning and the cool air-conditioning is a delight.

We visit at sunset – the perfect time to go as you can enjoy the best of both skylines in light and dark.

The drinks menu is fairly extensive and although on the pricey side, as you’d expect from such a venue, it’s not eye-wateringly so. The bar specialises in Scottish shorts, as well as having a good selection of grape and sparkling.

Service is friendly and slick, and there’s a small bar snacks menu with light bites.

Above 21 is on the quiet side when we visit, but we’re sure once word gets out it will pick up, as it’s one of the best indoor spots we’ve found for views from the Palm.

The bottom line
Grown-up indoor bar with stunning vistas.

Newsletters

Follow us