5 bars for a Bur Dubai pub crawl
Recently I was asked out on a bar crawl of Bur Dubai, and I have to admit I was hesitant. I had only been to the district a handful of times before to visit Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and take visitors to the Dubai souks. The only occasion I’d stayed past sunset was for Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa’s Fawlty Towers interactive dining experience, based on the hit British TV series. Unlike the live show, which never returned after 2012 (much to my dismay), it turns out that Bur Dubai thrives after dark. After tourists retreat back to their five-star hotels, the area’s nightlife scene lights up. Off-the-radar pubs? Live music venues? Packed clubs? My friend insisted we’d find them all, so I agreed to take part. What’s the worst that could happen?
Stop 1: George & Dragon
Where: Ambassador Hotel
It made sense to kick off the bar crawl at Bur Dubai’s first ever hotel, Ambassador Hotel. The George & Dragon was, as could be surmised from the name, a typical Englishman’s pub with a quiet ambience that made it a good place to catch up over a decent drink before the madness began. With its chintz-y, country hotel carpet and dark wood furniture, it’s very much warming up territory
Stop 2: Sherlock Holmes
Where: Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa
Sherlock Holmes is decidedly kitsch – think fake windows with curtains, chests of drawers and old leather sofas. That said, like the George and Dragon, it was equally welcoming and made for an enjoyable pit stop and a few entertaining selfies. The Victoriana theme (stenciled mirrors, various engravings) is at least consistent with the times unlike, say, Shakespeare’s 100-year timeshift.
Stop 3: The Music Room
Where: Majestic Hotel
Slightly grungy but with an electric atmosphere, The Music Room lived up to all expectation. A talented live band performed on stage as avid music fans jigged along to the tunes and more rowdy party goers tried, but failed, to compete with the guitars blasting from the speakers. Not a place for a conversation, mind.
Stop 4: Club Se7en
Where: Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel
A lively nightspot popular with Bur Dubai’s Filipino community, Club Se7en, which was either named after the movie or is trying to cash in on the rugby, was where our party really got under way. Here we enjoyed live music performances from resident bands and DJs who covered a whole range of music from pop and rock to reggae and R’n’B.
Stop 5: Rock Bottom Café
Where: Regent Palace Hotel
The evening came to a close at expat favourite Rock Bottom Café – the ‘best nightclub in Dubai’, according to some. While some of the group conveniently disappeared before reaching the venue (a wise idea on hindsight), the survivors kept going strong, dancing to chart tunes and filling up on sugary drinks and shawarmas until the early hours.
Bur Dubai is a great alternative night out if you go with a big group of friends, a plan such as a bar crawl or a game of pub golf, and an open mind. While it doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of Downtown Dubai, the good news for your wallet is that unlike a bar crawl in DIFC, it doesn’t break the bank. Enjoy!