Here’s a selection of my favorite places to go out in Dubai right now. I’m not much of a nightclub person, so it’s mostly nice bars on my list. You know the kind of places with the meanest cocktails, the sweetest bartenders and the friendliest patrons. Some of them have a dress code but otherwise there’s no requirements regarding good looks or heavy wallets. All the places are most happening on weekends or on ladies’ nights.
Cocktail kitchen (CLOSED)
Cocktail Kitchen makes the most amazing cocktails and this place is by far my favorite bar in Dubai right now. The music is primarily hits from the 90s and early 00s and the staff members are always super nice. Furthermore, the bar is so long that it’s rarely a problem to find a place to sit. Cocktails are 55-60 AED which is cheap for Dubai. Though some of them are served in rather small glasses, so if you’ve planned to babysit one drink for the entire night, you’d better check the size of it before placing your order.
Cocktail Kitchen is located in the basement at Armada Blue Hotel and it can be a bit tricky to find. From the hotel lobby, there are signs and staff to point you in the right direction.
Ladies Night: Tuesday
Cocktail Kitchen, Armada Bluebay Hotel B1, Cluster P, JLT, Dubai, Tel: +971 (0)568280727, Hours: Sun-Thu: 5pm-2am, Fri+Sat: 1pm-2am
NOLA is in the same building as Cocktail Kitchen. It’s actually first and foremost a restaurant, but there’s a big bar in the middle of the room so it’s hard not to stay a little longer for a cocktail or 10. Some might even skip the food completely, but that would be a shame because NOLA’s take on Southern Food is solid and shouldn’t be missed. They’re open until 3am so it’s a great place to spend an entire night out. There’s often live music but it rarely gets so loud that you can’t keep a conversation going. If you’re lucky (or fast) you get one of the outdoor tables.
Ladies’ Night: Tuesday
NOLA Eatery & Social House, B1 Level, Armada Bluebay Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, Dubai, Tel: +971(0)43998155, Hours: 12 Noon – 3am
Retro nightclub in Dubai marina. This is the place to go for all the hits from the 80s and 90s. The vibe is unpretentious and people are here to have a good time. Most of them are a bit older too, so if you’re in your 30s, like I am, this is a great place to go out without feeling like a dinosaur.
Ladies’ Night: Tuesday
Societe Marina Byblos Hotel 1F, Dubai Marina, Tel: +971(0)506993191, Hours: Tue-Sat: 10pm-3am, Closed Sun+Mon, Dress code: Couldn’t find any official, but a friend’s husband didn’t get in because he was wearing shorts.
Atelier M is a French restaurant on the upper floor of Pier 7, and inside the restaurant you can take the elevator further up to the open-air lounge bar. You have a great view of Dubai Marina from the bar, so it’s easy to forgive that the drinks are a bit pricey and not very memorable. During the week, the atmosphere is very relaxed and you might be the only one up there, but on weekends (and Ladies’ Night) Atelier M is more like a nightclub.
Ladies’ Night: Tueday
Atelier M, Pier 7 7M Floor, Dubai Marina, Tel: +971(0)44507766 Mon, Wed, Sat and Sun: 6pm-2am, Tue + Thu-Fri: 6pm-3am, Dress code: smart elegant