Nightclubs in Dubai and Nightlife in Dubai
Dubai's nightlife scene has come along in leaps and bounds since the mid 90s. Although Dubai is not quite Ibiza, Berlin, New York, etc, it certainly has enough noise and laser beams in the various watering holes to keep most boys and girls looking for a party satisfied now.
Most, if not all, of the clubs listed are open until 3 am. At which point the music stops and the lights come on. Abruptly. There are apparently large fines levied on the establishment if music continues even seconds after the gong. During Ramadan check to see if they are open. Many will be closed, and the ones that are open will be very subdued - no live music or dancing is allowed then.
The rest of the year, many Dubai nightclubs have a lively atmosphere with some world class DJs appearing on a regular basis in recent years. For example Hed Kandi and Groove Armada (at Trilogy), Paul van Dyke, DJ Tiesto (at Madinat Arena - not a nightclub), DJ Krafty Kuts (at IBO), Eric Morillo (at Trilogy), Ferry Corsten and Schiller at Peppermint Club, and more.
From December 2007 to February 2008, outdoor venues were ordered by the DTCM (Dubai Department of Tourism, Commerce, Marketing) to turn the music down, to a level where you'd look like a bit of a muppet if you were dancing. Which seemed to confirm the rumour that the DTCM is not actually an organisation that wants to promote tourism in Dubai. Nevertheless, as of mid-February 2008 this restriction seemed to have been lifted - check with club first. The fish in the vicinity of 360 will just have to stop their whining and go and sleep somewhere else.
Cover charges to enter nightclubs in Dubai
Until the early 2000s, it was rare to have to pay a cover charge for a bar or nightclub in Dubai. But with more people, more sophisticated clubs and more well-known DJs playing more regularly, the number of places trying to squeeze a few extra dirhams out of the punters is on the rise. Expect to pay 50-100 dhs for normal entry which sometimes includes a drink or two. And 100-200 dhs for top DJs. It's not all bad though, many places still have free entry, especially on weeknights. Sometimes women will get in free and men have to pay. Market forces overrule equality of the sexes ...
Thursday is the biggest night with Fridays not far behind. Friday nights may become more popular since the Dubai weekend changed from Thu/Fri to Fri/Sat in September 2006, but there are still large numbers of people who work on Saturdays so Thursday night is expected to remain popular.
Door policies at Dubai nightclubs
Like most countries, women and couples will have an easier time getting in to a night club in Dubai than men (solo or in groups). If you're a bloke or a couple of blokes on your own, you may be able to persuade some friendly females in the nightclub queue that you head in together as "couples".
A few clubs in Dubai will have big angry looking chaps looking important with wires in their ears and clipboards to which they'll refer and then say you're not on the list if you don't look right. There may well genuinely be a list - you could always try booking ahead and getting your name on it. In some of the swankier Dubai night clubs you may have to book a table and a bottle (allow a few hundred dirhams for the bottle).
Some clubs in Dubai don't bother with the clipboard and just permit or deny entry in accordance with random, erm, house rules. Officially, there's no racism and several press articles have investigated accusations of racist door policies at Dubai nightclubs. Reports of different entry fees for different nationalities are of course denied. Unofficially? Um, no comment.
Men wearing local dress (dishdashas, kandooras) will usually be denied entry. Not because of nationality but because it is apparently against the law to wear local dress in bars and nightclubs in Dubai. Presumably the same applies to women in abayas.
During Ramadan you may be asked what religion you are. Muslims will be requested not to enter Dubai nightclubs and bars.
List of nightclubs in Dubai (and Lounge Bars)
- 360° - rooftop of the building at the end of the groyne jutting out from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Very chilled or cool (in more than one sense of those words in mid-winter). Fishing rods not allowed.
- 400 Club - Fairmont Hotel, scheduled opening was December 2005. If you stood in the queue then, you'd have waited a year before the doors opened. UK club music, french decor. Worth the wait? Probably. Exclusive/expensive, tel +971-4-3324900.
- Abaya Nightclub - Dubai Park Hotel, SZR (Tel +971-4-3992222). Curiously named Arabic nightclub (the Abaya is what Emirati women wear). Live music and belly dancers.
- African Star - Marco Polo Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2720000). African nightclub.
- Al Zumorrod - Carlton Tower Hotel, Deira. Iranian nightclub ... two words you don't expect to see in the same sentence.
- Alpha Club - Meridian Village / Le Meridien Dubai Hotel, opened 22 May 2008, prides itself on a massive sound system. Go on, go and give your ears an acoustic enema. Open 2100-0300, from 2000 on Thursdays, and 1600 on Fridays. Tel +971-4-7022640.
- [Closed] Amnesia - next to Hard Rock Cafe on SZ Rd. Used to be popular when it was called the Atlantis (back in the days that the only other choices were The Lodge and The Diamond Club). Closed June 2007?
- Apartment, The - in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, getting a good reputation.
- Alegra (Alegra Lounge?) in Al Murooj Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road - open February 2012. Website www.alegralounge.com.
- Arbat Club, The - Carlton Tower Hotel, Bur Dubai. Russian nightclub.
- [Closed] Bang nightclub Dubai - open end October 2008 in Old Town Burj Dubai, run by Boudoir so expect a fussy entrance policy. Tel +971-4-4397444 to get on the entry list (or expect to be bounced). Modelled on the Crystal Club in London? Website www.clubbang.ae (not available). Update: maybe ClubBang were too fussy. Opened with a bang (lots of loud press releases), closed in early 2009 with a fizzle. Last update on Club Bang Facebook page was December 2008.
- Bar Zar - Madinat Jumeirah, used to be a very pleasant relaxed bar with a large outdoor area overlooking the water, not really a night club but open late with good music. The "Come As You Are" slogan literally meant that, until they got fussy with dress code in 2008, attempting to move into the more pretentious prestigious league of bars in Dubai. Go to Barasti instead if you're looking for somewhere casual.
- Barasti Bar downstairs - indoor/outdoor sort of lounge club. Excellent venue, relaxed dress code.
- Basement Night Club - see The Basement Nightclub.
- Beach Club - Palm Beach Hotel in Bur Dubai, nowhere near a beach. African band, small, different, tel +971-4-3931999.
- Billabong - Holiday Inn, Deira. Australian nightclub (if you can have such a thing).
- Blush - club night rather than a club, no longer operating?
- Bollywood - Regency Palace Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3556633). Indian nightclub with live music and dancers.
- Boudoir - they like to make a big thing of their bouncers with clipboards (you don't get in if you're not on the list).
- Buddha Bar - Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina (+971-4-3998888), more of a lounge bar. Chilled, worth a visit. The first time you visit, make sure you walk up the staircase shortly after you enter, before going anywhere else. It will be one of those "Oh wow!" moments.
- C-Bar - Al Murooj Rotana, Defense roundabout, opposite The Dubai Mall and Downtown Burj Dubai.
- Chi@The Lodge - revamped version of The Lodge at the Al Nasr Leisureland complex, opened early 2007. Genuine and authentic Thai decor. No really, that's what they said. Huge dancefloor outside. Tel +971-4-3379470.
- Club Alpha - see Alpha Club.
- Club Envy, Ibis Hotel Sheikh Zayed Road. A "Face Club". Try and get past the bouncers to see if you're hot or not.
- [Closed] Cyclone - the late night version of the Dubai Financial Market (except it's not shares that are traded). Bit of an institution since opening what seems like a couple of centuries ago in 1994. Closed in June 2007?
- Club Quantum - see Quantum Club.
- [Closed] Diamond Club, The - like The Lodge, a great place in its heyday but has not reopened since being shut down in 2001 after promoting a "Miss MoneyPennys" night. Shame.
- Double Deckers - similar to JD and RB. Bouncers have a reputation for being a bit heavy-handed.
- Downtown Africa - President Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3346565). African nightclub where the soft drinks are more expensive than the beers. Different.
- Elegante - Royal Ascot Hotel.
- Envy - see Club Envy.
- Escoba - Al Khaleej Palace Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2231000). Loud Arabic nightclub with belly dancers.
- Fridge - see The Fridge.
- Geri Halliwell nightclub Dubai (rumoured) - the "Ginger Spice" chick reportedly wants to open a superclub (what's a "superclub"?) in Dubai after a visit in December 2008.
- Garage Club, The. Nasser Square, Deira. Location should tell you everything you need to know. Only for the adventurous...
- Ginseng - more of a lounge bar than a nightclub. Great music but pretentious. Go before 9pm to get cheap drinks and food.
- GQ Bar - under consideration by Conde Nast Restuarants according to August 2010 reports.
- Hive - Souk Al Bahar, Dubai Mall area. Closed February 2010? Reopened May 2010, open 1800-2400, maybe later after mid-May 2010. Outdoor terrace. Oops, closed again July or August 2010. This time for good apparently.
- I2 - called a "breathtaking new chill-out lounge" in the 16 April 2008 press release announcing the new venue. Hmmmm... In the Metropolitan Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, open 2000-0200 (8pm-2am), tel +971-4-4076770 or +971-4-3430000.
- [Closed] IBO - more of a casual underground feel, very cool. Some men might feel a little uncomfortable... Closed end of April 2007 to make way for the Dubai Metro (the public transport system, not another nightclub).
- iKandy Ultra Lounge - Shangri-La Hotel, poolside lounge bar opened April 2007. They say fans will keep you cool in the summer. Good nighttime views of Dubai. Serves shisha and tapas.
- Isfahan - Howard Johnson Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-3379470). Iranian nightclub with live music.
- [Closed] Jimmy Dix - Movenpick Hotel near Lamcy Plaza, not sure you'd call it a night club. Loud, drunk, bit of a meat market. Closed in 2009?
- Jules Bar - another one of those places where women might feel oddly neglected.
- Kasbar - classy place, was the talk of the town for a while when it opened in 2001 or so, in The One&Only Royal Mirage hotel, tel +971-4-3999999.
- Ku-Bu - Intercontinental Hotel, Deira, (tel +971-4-2227171).
- Loft, The - closed? Website www.glamourdubai.com returns DNS error.
- Lotus One / Lotus1 - very cool, (tel +971-4-3293200 or mob +971-50-2741111).
- Lodge, The - a bit of nostalgia although it's still open for business. Was shut down for several years until 2004 and when it reopened, discovered that Dubai had moved on. Thursday nights might be lively. Outdoor dance area is impressive. Refurbished as Chi early 2007 and starting to make its name on the Dubai club scene.
- Madinat Arena - Souk Madinat, Umm Suqeim. Not a regular nightclub but hosts big DJ acts (and other shows) occasionally. Enormous. You'll wonder if you've walked into an aircraft hanger.
- Maharlika - Filipino nightclub in The President Hotel in Bur Dubai, tel +971-4-3346565.
- Malecon - noisy Cuban bar where you can scribble on the walls.
- MIX, The - Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bur Dubai, near Garhood Bridge (Tel +971-4-3172570). Monstrous nightclub opened in about 2003, with international DJs playing regularly. Sounds better than it is.
- Oxygen - Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Al Garhoud.
- Out of Africa - Avari Dubai International Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2956666). African nightclub.
- Peppermint Club - not a nightclub but name given to Friday night sessions at the Fairmont Hotel (and occasionally other nights). Doesn't operate during Ramadan. Shifted to the Al Habtoor Grand (September 2007). Also puts on shows at the Madinat Arena.
- Plan B - Wafi Center, Bur Dubai - the Planetarium reopened.
- [Closed] Planetarium - Wafi Center, Bur Dubai. Closed in 2005 and reopened as Plan B. Resident DJ Charlie C produces the Desert Annual and Planetarium Planetdance CDs which are a good musical souvenir of Dubai.
- Plastik Dubai (forum topic) - Set up as an exclusive party night for rich people, but don't let that put you off. Plastik party nights were wicked. In every sense of the word. Plastik was at the Al Habtoor Grand on Fridays during 2007, was then scheduled to be at C-Bar in the Murooj Rotana early 2008 on Tuesday nights. Now they're planning to set up their own beach club with helipad, to be open 7 days a week. Free entry with reservations. Tel +971-4-3073482.
- Quantum Club (Club Quantum) - Crowne Plaza Hotel Sheikh Zayed Road, tel +971-4-3324383, mobile tel +971-50-9110600 or toll-free 800-QUANTUM (800-7826886). Open 2230-0300 (1030pm-3am) Tues-Sat, maybe Sun & Mon now. Couples only on Thursdays and Fridays? Opening date 01 April 2009? Website www.quantumvenue.com.
- [Closed] Rattlesnake, Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road - somewhere between a bar and a nightclub. Well known for very friendly females (at a price). Closed when the Metropolitan Hotel was closed and demolished.
- Rock Bottom - in the Regent Palace Hotel opposite the Burjuman Center in Bur Dubai, tel +971-4-3963888. Another one in TECOM.
- Rumours Nightclub - Ramada Hotel, Bur Dubai. Been around a long time, not one of the more popular places.
- Sapphire, The - Century Village, Dubai Tennis Stadium. Lounge bar and restaurant. Tel +971-4-2868520.
- Savage Garden - Capitol Hotel, Satwa. Savage salsa dance spot with deafening sound system. Popular.
- Scarlett's - Emirates Towers, SZR. Sports bar downstairs, nightclub upstairs. Spacious, sort of popular. No smoking since September 2007 though as it's in a shopping center.
- Sho Cho's - more of a lounge bar than a nightclub but the music is good. Full of Dubai's hoi polloi posing in expensive clothes. Expanded to an outdoor area.
- [Closed] Societe Jumeirah - opened late 2014, closed in May or June 2015. Sold to new owners?
- Societe Marina?
- Submarine - appropriately named nightclub in the Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai, tel +971-4-3599992.
- Tangerine - Fairmont Hotel, SZR (tel +971-4-3118100). Was location of Friday Peppermint Club sessions. Renamed?
- [Closed] The Basement Nightclub, Boutique 7 Hotel in TECOM area. Closed - FB page statement on 08 Jul 2015 said "It comes with great sadness that we have to announce that The Basement has now officially ceased trading." Nightclub might reopen after Ramadan with a new name, it has a new owner. FB page at facebook.com/thebasementb7.
- [Check location, is Al Serkal Avenue now] The Fridge - not really a night club but a small concert venue with a wide range of music performances from classical to jazz. Location on 26th Street between Sheikh Zayed Rd and Al Khail Rd opposite Gulf Arena around the corner from Grand Mall in Al Quoz. Contact email email@example.com, tel +971-4-3477793, website www.thefridgedubai.com.
- The Rooftop Madinat Jumeirah - what the Trilogy club became, great views from upstairs outside terrace, tel +971-4-3666730.
- Trilogy - one of the most popular, good sounds, bring top DJs in regularly. At the splendid Souk Madinat, long queues in the weekends... until members only policy introduced in January 2008. And then Trilogy died - the club closed 24 February 2008. Their website statement said they did not intend to reopen as a nightclub and there were rumours that the rooftop of Trilogy would reopen as a some sort of bar, with the you'll-never-guess-it name of The Rooftop - confusingly similar to The Rooftop Bar at the Royal Mirage near Dubai Marina. Then Trilogy announced reopening as a nightclub on 23 September 2010 with Mark Ronson appearance. Opening times for Rooftop Mon-Sat 2200-0300, nightclub Tu, Thu, Fri 2200-0300. Website www.trilogy.ae (not available when checked September 2010, try www.jumeirah.com).
- Tropicana - Dubai Marine Beach Resort, Jumeirah Beach Rd. Arabic nightclub.
- Vogue Cafe - under consideration by Conde Nast Restuarants according to August 2010 reports (more of a restaurant-bar-cafe than a nightclub though).
- [Closed, when?] Waxy's - Bur Dubai (more correctly known as Waxy O'Connors but everyone just calls it Waxys), a bit of a Dubai institution with bargain food and drink for the Waxy's Friday Brunch (AED 80 gets you 5 drink coupons and greasy sausages). Loud and raucous, not a place to take a first date for an evening of romance. Enjoy the surreal effect later on Friday afternoon of walking from broad daylight into a nightclub atmosphere in full flow.
- Zero Gravity?
- Zinc - Crowne Plaza Hotel, SZR. Last but not least on the list. Odd mix of nightclub and comedy show evenings.
Nightclubs in Abu Dhabi
- Blitz - Novotel.
- Colosseum - Abu Dhabi Marina, tel +971-2-6440300.
- Enigma - Al Raha Beach Hotel, tel +971-2-5080555.
- Embassy - Emirates Palace Hotel, open November 2007, tel +971-2-6908960.
- Illusions - Le Royal Méridien, also known as Delusions.
- Zenith - Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, tel +971-2-6970358.
Bars and Nightclubs in Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)
- Bars and night clubs in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) will be closed down from 01 May 2009 according to a report in the Khaleej Times (KT) 22 April 2009 - "More than 25 nightclubs, which serve liquor and entertain guests with live music and dance performances, will be shut down across the emirate."
- The KT reported that Colonel Sultan Al Shweikh, Director-General of the UAQ police force, informed hotel and nightclub managers about the decision on Tuesday 21 April 2009.
Last update Saturday 25-Jul-2015