The largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is positioned on the southeast coast of the strategic Persian Gulf and is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country. It is also a country with a surprisingly amazing nightlife.
Although an article about the “Best Bars in Dubai,” a mostly Muslim-populated city in the Middle East, may raise some eyebrows (drinking alcohol is forbidden under the tenets of Islam), it’s important to remember there are thousands of foreign workers and visitors that populate the city, in addition to a sizeable portion of non-Muslim believers. As such, the city has a quite surprising number of superb bars and nightclubs scattered throughout its many neighborhoods, boasting beer, wine cocktails and entertainment, a combination that consistently rocks patrons into the wee hours of the night or morning. So, whether you’re coming down from doing of lots of shopping, indoor skiing, or relaxing, there’s plenty of bars to get your drink on in Dubai.
To prove this point, below we have highlighted several of the best bars, cocktail lounges and nightclubs in the city of Dubai, and provided some pertinent details regarding the type of clientele you can expect at each location; the ambience at each bar; and the respective drink and food lineups that make each of these establishments stand head and shoulders above the rest.
A chic and trendy locale, located at the Marina Beach Resort in Dubai, Sho Cho is a Japanese restaurant and lounge and one of the most popular drinking hangouts for the city’s jet set clientele. The establishment, which is particularly busy on Friday and Saturday evenings, boasts a terrific food menu with all the traditional Japanese favorites, including over 50 types of sushi and a Miso Soup that has to be tasted to believe. The cocktails are fruity and fresh, and the traditional Japanese sake truly packs a wallop.
Although the drink and food menu at Sho Cho is divine, the design of the structure may be even better. The brainchild of designers Kamran Riazi and Greg Oram of the Washington architectural firm Oramiaz, the restaurant/lounge features a “a carpeted low-ceiling pod of a room, lit in glowing blue neon and furnished with cream leather space-age chairs, along with some rather spectacular flower displays and Manga cartoons projected onto the walls.” The bar area also features a showy collection of fish tanks that just may make you think you’re in a submarine rather than an upscale lounge.
The aptly named 360° bar offers panoramic views of the Burj Al Arab. Located at the end of a long pier, this alfresco lounge is one of the oldest and most established bars on our list, and also one of the best, having kept its grip on a loyal cross-section of customers for over two decades now. Music, great conversation and amazing views make 360° very popular during Happy Hour—Monday through Friday from 5 PM until 7 PM—and the on the weekend nights, the locale truly comes alive to the sound of DJ-spun tunes blasting over the bar’s incredible sound system.
The 360° Bar carries over 50 varieties of ice-cold bottled beer, and their fully-stocked bar of fine spirits and fresh fruit juices make each cocktail taste better than the last.
Located in the heart of Dubai’s city center, Neos is a rooftop bar located on the 63rd floor of the Address building, and a must-see locale for visitors to this eclectic city. To get to Neos, patrons must ride two separate elevators—and that will only get them to the 61st floor. Once disembarking, they will then take another lift to the 63rd floor, which mysteriously skips the 62nd floor altogether.
Upon entering the bar, customers of Neos are immediately drawn to the large windows that surround the bar, offering some of the best views of Dubai’s skyline in the city—a skyline littered with high-rise tenements and impressive skyscrapers. The décor is chic, yet rather bare, with black leather furnishings and an oval-shaped mahogany bar.
The cocktail menu at Neos includes a number of tasty signature cocktails—the creations of the head bartender and his amazing staff. There is also an impressive lineup of draught beer from around the globe.
Neos is a dress-to-impress locale, so be sure to wear your finest when visiting this upscale cocktail lounge and eatery.
Located in the Dubai neighborhood of Jumeirah, the Bahri Bar is just another in a long list of trendy drinking locales in the city. Boasting an Arabian décor, the bar is furnished with Persian rugs and plush, comfortable sofas; and a gorgeous verandah offers some breathtaking views of the Madinat waterways and the Burj Al Arab.
The Bahri Bar offers drink specials throughout the week, most of which highlight their inventive menu of house-inspired cocktails, but the beer and wine menu is also quite extensive and affordable, especially when compared to some of the other bars on our list. A great place for an after-work drink and great conversation, the Bahri Bar additionally features some pleasing, DJ-provided jazz and soul music up to five nights a week.
The Uptown Bar, which is located on the 24th floor of the very swanky Jumeirah Beach Hotel, is a fashionable cocktail lounge and one of the most elegant settings in the city. Typically populated with well-clad businessman, oil sheiks and sun-burned tourists on holiday from their workaday lives, the no-frills and very expensive bar offers a drink menu that relies heavily on the classics—think Manhattans and Cosmopolitans—and boasts one of the city’s finest menus of aged wine and champagnes. Their signature cocktail menu includes names such as the Negroni, made with Bombay gin, Campari and Rosso vermouth; and the Uptown Citation, a combination of Chambord, blackcurrant marmalade, cranberry juice and lime juice, all topped off with pricey, sweet champagne.
In addition to the indoor, square-shaped cocktail lounge, the Uptown Bar offers its guests outdoor seating on a simple terrace overlooking the beach—a great place for people watching.
A great place to take a first date (if you can afford it), the Uptown Bar is one of the favored locales in Dubai for those who want to “see and be seen.”
Burj Khalifa by JESHOOTS/Pixabay CC0 license