Sure it’s a conservative city, but Dubai still has plenty to offer in the way of nightlife. From rooftop bars and speakeasies to pool parties, you won’t find it hard to let your hair down in the City of Gold. Bad news for you youngsters, though; the legal drinking age in Dubai is 21, and under-agers aren’t allowed to enter bars and clubs (ID is often checked at the door). The exception would be places that also have a food license, though they sometimes kick under 21s out at around 9/10pm – best to check before heading over.
Ready for a night out, Dubai style? Here’s our pick of the hottest bars, clubs and parties. Bottoms up!
The Best Bars in Dubai
If bars are your scene, you’re seriously spoilt for choice in Dubai. From the super-swanky to edgy hipster-dwelling spots, there’s something for every mood. Look out for the impressive variety of happy hour deals, as well as free drinks at ‘ladies’ night’ (maybe bring a wig, guys?).
With its large patio, comfy sofa-style seats and fair share of foliage, Treehouse feels like something of an oasis in the middle of the city. This rooftop bar offers an awesome view of the impressive Business Bay skyline and its cosy ‘green house’ complete with twinkling fairy lights also makes it one of the best places for date night, Dubai style. There’s a nice selection of cocktails, though there’s no denying it’s a pricey spot.
OK, it’s another rooftop bar, Dubai is the city of skyscrapers after all, but The Penthouse is always worth a mention. Settle down for the evening on one of the poolside sofas and sip on a cocktail while enjoying the sunset over the Palm Jumeirah. If it’s glamour you want, this popular 16th-floor spot won’t disappoint.
Fancy something a bit more casual (and cheaper)? Head to The Backyard in Business Bay. This quirky, colourful spot serves up inventive cocktail creations and Thai street food in a relaxed setting, surrounded by street art. The venue regularly hosts special events, including an outdoor cinema, so be sure to check their calendar.
If you want a chilled day or evening at a beach club, Dubai has plenty to choose from. Sun lounger and mojito at the ready – here are the beach-side lounges with the best vibes…
Part of the prestigious One & Only Royal Mirage resort, Jetty Lounge is a great spot for sunset drinks. Is there really any better way to enjoy a cocktail than with sand in between your toes? This beachfront bar is laid back but with a luxe feel – even if you are sat on beanbags. Unsurprisingly, it’s not cheap – especially now they’ve done away with the happy hour offers – but it’s a special spot worth adding to your itinerary.
For something livelier, head to Zero Gravity at Dubai Marina. With a massive swimming pool, private beach and DJs spinning from day to night, this place is always buzzing. There’s also the added bonus of being located next to the Skydive Dubai drop zone, so you can watch other tourists falling from the sky whilst being sprawled across a daybed feeling grateful you’re firmly on the ground.
Does Dubai have a club scene? Does it ever. Plenty of world-famous DJs have played the clubs in Dubai, including David Guetta, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto, alongside regular weekly sessions from underground artists. Here’s where to dance ‘til it hurts.
One of the most popular clubs in Dubai, WHITE is not only massive, it also has a pretty spectacular view from its rooftop. This mega-club regularly hosts famous artists, though it’s usually packed any night of the week. Be sure to dress to impress; this is an exclusive club and the door staff are notoriously picky.
The Secret Room
The cat’s very much out of the bag on this secret. And, despite the stringent adherence to the ‘on the guest list’ only policy, it’s surprisingly easy to get a reservation. The Secret Room is an underground club with all the swanky Dubai stylings you’d expect. Including a bar that’s part optical illusion and part sculpture. Drop by for a chance to see Dubai’s elite literally drive their cars onto the dance floor. It may be smaller than Dubai’s super clubs – but it never fails to deliver on atmosphere. The drinks aren’t too pricey either.
There’s a time and place for frenetic open air clubs and exclusive packed venues. For all other times, you’ll want to hang out at Soho Garden. It’s a, dare we say it, perfect blend of beach club, restaurant and nightclub. if we had to describe the vibe? Elegant mingling set to a hip hop and RnB soundtrack. The open air walled garden is suitably strewn with soft lighting at night – and the interiors are luxe enough – without needing the gilt-littered surfaces that the Secret Room has plumped for. Four different bars sling different drinks and cocktails to match the surrounding vibe and decor. For views of the city, take a seat at the Negroni bar.
Dubai is buzzing any day of the week, and as you’d expect from any major city, there’s a solid schedule of parties and festivals throughout the year. Here are some highlights:
If you want to experience a pool party, Dubai is the place to do it. Grab your bikini or trunks and head to Barasti on a Wednesday or Thursday for the Tropicana BBQ Pool Party. Fill up on unlimited food and drink from 8pm to 11pm and dance to the catchiest bops from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. For an ever-changing calendar of themed pool parties, be sure to check out Nikki Beach. Meanwhile, one for the girls’ trip; Praia at FIVE Palm Jumeirah has its ‘Ladies Day’ pool party every Thursday, with free-flowing drinks from 2pm-10pm. Chin-chin.
Virgin Radio’s RedFestDXB takes place every February, with recognisable names spread over two days. The 2020 lineup included Stormzy, Young Thug, and Machine Gun Kelly. Rather confusingly, Dubai Jazz Festival hosts famous names from a diverse range of genres. Held towards the start of the year, so far it’s attracted headliners like Sting, John Legend and Tom Jones. If you’re an EDM fan, Groove on the Grass is for you. Hosting events every month across two stages from September to May, you might just have a chance to catch something.
Dubai’s incredible nightlife isn’t going anywhere. But you are, right? Forget the FOMO – download the Orbzii app and start planning your ultimate trip to the City of Gold.
Wondering if there are any rules and regulations to be aware of before you pack your best disco outfit for a night out? Here’s everything you need to know about what to wear in Dubai.