Nightlife & the Arts in Dubai

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Dubai Nightlife

Dubai is party central for the Middle East. Expats here work hard and play hard, so there's no excuse for sitting in your hotel room watching reruns of Friends dubbed into Arabic. The city has action of every type—ultracool bars with multihued cocktails, romantic terraces for sharing a glass of champagne, sports bars and pubs with monumental flat-screen TVs and nachos, and nightclubs where you can dance until nearly dawn. Dubai is a favorite for celebrity DJs with regular one-night-only appearances.

But like everything else in this city, the scene changes rapidly. A new must-see place opens almost every week, and the in-crowd flits from launch to launch like a skittish flock of starlings looking for an evening roost.

You may have to refinance the mortgage to pay for a serious night out in Dubai. Alcohol is served only on licensed premises—usually attached to international hotels—and the prices are exorbitant.

Classic performance arts have a thin presence in comparison with the thriving party scene. Most of the offerings are local, and a few independent galleries stand out as beacons. However, the future debut of Dubai's Culture City may change this. Rising from the south bank of Dubai Creek just beyond Garhoud Bridge, it will include a majestic Dubai Opera House, a focal point for the genre in the Gulf region.

Movies are also popular entertainment for all sectors of Dubai society. At least a dozen large multiplex centers show the latest blockbusters from Hollywood and Bollywood, as well as films from around the Arabic-speaking world and martial-arts favorites from Hong Kong.

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