Sunday 28 May 2023 (UAE)

Dubai Nightclubs

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Rooftop of the Trilogy nightclub at Souk Madinat Jumeirah
DJ Tiesto in concert at the Madinat Arena in March 2006
Tropicana nightclub
A taste of Bollywood at the Bollywood nightclub

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)
Nightclubs in Abu Dhabi
Bars and Nightclubs in Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)
Last update Saturday 25-Jul-2015
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Abu Dhabi AUH ABD ADB, Ajman AJM, Al Ain AAN, Dubai DXB, Fujairah FUJ, Ras Al Khaimah RAK, Sharjah SHJ, Umm Al Quwain UAQ

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