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.

056 501 2039 Al Habtoor City

Perhaps you’re heading to Al Habtoor City to take in the city’s most spectacular show, La Perle. Or you’re treating yourself to a meal at the wonderful J&G Steakhouse (our Best Steakhouse 2018) at the neighbouring St. Regis Dubai. Whatever your reason, if you find yourself in this part of town later on in the evening, we’d thoroughly recommend slipping into the über trendy W Dubai for a quick drink at BOA Lounge.

We head over late at the end of the week, and while the bar is quiet when we arrive, by the time bedtime comes a’calling we defy our wake-up call and stay, gazing out of the 32nd floor window, for just a little bit longer, as the place fills up.

Split (sort of) over a range of levels – you may have to watch your step at times – this lounge bar has an effortlessly relaxed vibe, and is classy in equal measure. With gold fittings, comfortable sofas and a very art-deco design, this place radiates quality. Even the black-as-deep-space bathrooms are befitting of the design-conscious hotel in which this bar resides.

Drinks can be on the pricey side (nearly Dhs70 for a glass of grape), and the service sometimes grinds to a halt, but with chilled beats and a classy vibe, we find ourselves wanting to return soon.

The bottom line
Cracking views at this high-class bar.

04 439 9903 Jumeirah

Tucked in the corner of La Mer’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene you’ll find an American sports café with a twist.

Enter Stars ’N’ Bars – the famous Monaco haunt frequented by celebs.

Now, you could be traditional and ask the barman to pour your drink, hand over your card and go merrily on your way. Or, like us, you could do it the Stars ’N’ Bars way by pouring it yourself at its own DIY dispensing bar. Just load up a card with credit, grab an empty glass and proceed to filling up – as the hops goes in (fun), the cash goes out (not so fun).

Don’t want a full pint? Just fill up the glass to wherever you want, as you’re charged only for what you pour.

It certainly grabs our attention as novel way to spend an afternoon and as we find a table upstairs we pass the barman, who stares at the ATM-style machine and remembers when he had a purpose.

Inside, the space is decorated in a surfer’s beach bar style – surfboards on the walls, light wooden furniture to match and an eclectic collection of California-themed pictures. And the obligatory VW campervan for good measure.

And we love it. Sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors unfold to connect the bar to the terrace, bringing in a sea breeze (in cooler months) and plenty of light.

There are arcade games, table football and a stage for live music. There’s a daily happy hour from 5pm until 8pm and a menu of burgers (buns made in-house), pizzas and oh-so-gooey cheese wedges.

It really is one of the most laid-back bars we’ve been to and perfect for lazy days on weekends.

Star by name, star by nature, this space shines above the rest.

The bottom line
A fun beach hangout with a twist.

04 386 5645 Dubai Marina

With laid-back beach vibes, tropical drinks and old-school Polynesian décor, there are a lot of reasons to like Trader Vic’s. Created by Vic “The Trader” Bergeron in 1934, the brand has become massively popular all around the world, and nowhere more so than in the UAE. There are now six across the emirates, with Trader Vic’s JBR the newest addition to this list, having opened in March.

We choose to get an early evening drink, and the terrace area is where it’s at. It’s packed, and we have to wait indoors in the (empty) bar until a space is available for us to move to.

The terrace is a prime spot on JBR with views across to Ain Dubai. And if you’re not on holiday you’ll feel like you are once you’ve had your first sip of the bar’s signature Polynesian mixed drinks.

Inside, the space is massive, and disproportionately in favour of dining. There’s a long, non-smoking bar, but not much space to sit, which, when the weather heats up, could prove problematic. There’s also a stage for live music.

Drinks are, as you’d expect, on the pricey side, though there’s a daily happy hour from 5pm until 8pm, which helps.

The team has gone all out with the interiors, with canoes from the Taiwanese Orchid Island hanging from the ceiling, tribal masks from Papua New Guinea, fishing net orbs from Japan and hand-crafted tiki statues. It’s the kitsch Trader Vic’s you know and love, though there’s something lacking that other branches have. Maybe it’s the huge, empty dining space that misses that fun vibe, or maybe it’s the service, which isn’t on point. We’re not writing it off, but there are better branches in the city.

The bottom line
Has potential, but is more restaurant than bar.

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