The elevator at Pier 7 would be an interesting study. To see which buttons are pressed by those walking in on the ground floor just by the entrance to Fumé, and then noting the different sights and sounds that are revealed by the sliding doors on each of its seven floors – and who gets off at each – might well reveal a fair bit about the variety of attractions on offer in modern Dubai. From upscale pub-grub in The Scene to the more sedate appeal of Abdul Wahab, there probably isn’t anyone to whom at least one level doesn’t appeal.
The one floor that offers perhaps the most energetic ambience when those doors open is Cargo, which invariably attracts the younger revelers. From the dark reception area to the thumping bass of whatever the DJ is pumping out, the first impression is hardly “restaurant” – and hence why we have decided to include this in the “Nightlife” section. This is a lounge bar that just happens to serve excellent pan-Asian food; the stools and high tables, exposed fittings, minimalist furniture and open, loft-like feel place it more on a par with Q43 than, say, Okku.
November and December are when Cargo really comes into its own. The arcing terrace common to all Pier 7 establishments provides the best seats in the house, with unbeatable views down the Marina’s inner waterway and the sparkling skyscrapers that line it. Grab a chunky leather sofa, wait approximately two seconds for the waitress to arrive – the service here is startlingly prompt – and there’s very little reason to wonder what else is happening in Dubai that night.
The drinks menu is comprehensive and imaginative, and there are usually special offers to be had, and the food menu is certainly well above bar snacks. The Cargo Mixed Platter, with chicken and beef yakitori and dumplings, is a good-value, everyone’s-happy option, although the prodigious “light bites” menu serves up the likes of char-grilled tiger shrimp, dim sum and Asian-style beef carpaccio – which is marinated in a light soy source and served with a mixed salad.
It’s little surprise, then, there’ll be more people outside than in between now and April, but with those big floor-to-ceiling windows, the difference between them is pleasingly blurred. Get there early and watch Marina life go by.
New Year’s Eve
Those looking for a chilled out way to bid adieu to 2015 should check out Cargo. Pop in for two drinks for AED100, or go for the extremely reasonably priced open bar package at just AED400, which gives you house beverages from 8pm onwards.