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 in Arabic. The city has action of every type—ultra-cool cocktail bars, beach clubs with day-into-night partying, desert terraces for sharing a glass of champagne, sports bars and pubs with monumental flat-screen TVs, and designer-label

nightclubs where you can dance until dawn.

You may have to refinance your 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 often exorbitant. You have to be 21 to order drinks or stand in bar areas where alcohol is being served, and an ID will often be demanded. In addition, some popular clubs restrict entry to clients based on their appearance. People love to dress up in Dubai, so be sure to follow suit for your evening of clubbing; otherwise you may be left on the curb. Sandals are not allowed in clubs.

Live music is popular in the city, and tends to sit at extremes of the spectrum—cover bands perform in dive bars and mainstream international artists play for tens of thousands. Classic performance arts have had a thin presence, however recent years have brought welcome change thanks to the growing population, opening of the Dubai Opera House and the increasing quality of acts at venues like Madinat Theatre.

Movies have always been popular in the Middle East. Large multiplex centers show the latest blockbusters from Hollywood and Bollywood, as well as films from around the Arabic-speaking world. Here, going to the movies is a luxurious experience; theaters with food designed by Michelin-starred chefs, kids-only zones, and of course the latest in high-tech viewing, such as 4DX and IMAX.

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Dubai Nightlife

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  • Fodor's Choice

Aji

  • Piano Bars/Lounges

One of Dubai's first forays into Nikkei cuisine is also one of the prettiest overwater bars. The decor is what sells this place—someone...

Armani Privé

  • Dance Clubs

No other club in Dubai can compete with Privé when it comes to elegance. Where many of the clubs in the region are flashy, bold, and...

Atelier M

  • Piano Bars/Lounges

Although strictly a restaurant, Atelier M has a very clublike feel on the rooftop, and opening hours until 2 or 3 am prove the clientele...

Bahri Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Set among the rose-color barjeels of Madinat Jumeirah with splendid views across the complex, Bahri Bar is a good spot to slip off your...

Barasti Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Barasti might be the old dame of bars and nightlife in Dubai, but it's still going strong. It's grown from a pub set on a large wooden...

Barrel 12

  • Bars/Pubs

Despite Palm Jumeirah's chichi image, there are plenty of casual bars and bistros, particularly on the trunk where the bulk of residential...

Bean There Bistro

  • Cafes–Nightlife

It might be called a bistro, but this eclectic space is also great for a quick beverage. Despite the coffee connotations in the name,...

Belgian Beer Café

  • Bars/Pubs

There's an excellent choice of boutique beers on tap and in bottles, and similar to what you'd find in Belgium, each beer has a specific...

Boudoir

  • Dance Clubs

Opening in 2002, Boudoir was the first French lounge-styled club to open in Dubai (of course, without the Burlesque dancers). Think flocked...

Brunswick Sports Club

  • Bars/Pubs

True to its name, BSC keeps it sporty, casual, and very, very laid back. There are plenty of TV screens to catch live action, and an...

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