Sometimes the best nights are the unplanned ones. You’re having a good time and you don’t want to travel far, you half-remember the name of a club in a hotel around the corner and before you know it you’re dancing to the greatest music you’ve heard in years, surrounded by similarly-minded people, and vow never to forget this hidden gem again – until, immediately on leaving, that’s exactly what you do. ShortList has rounded up a half dozen of these “must know about” bars and clubs, away from the five-star favourites.
Ibis Hotel, Al Barsha – 3.5*
Ezaz has got “indie night” written all over it, like so many killer clubs in, say, London or Berlin. In fact, the whole bar has a European vibe that’s a subtle – yet vital – step removed from the try-hard “British pubs” you hear so much about. Ezaz will play loud rock and indie hits from the early 2000s up to the present day – and may even throw in a new track or two. You can then check out what Casa Latina has to offer, too.
Contact: +9714 382 3218
Story Rooftop Lounge
Holiday Inn Express, Internet City – 4*
With good views over Media City and cool street art displays on the walls indoors, Story is distinctly alternative and deliberately anti-glam. You won’t find ornate gold pillars or plush velvet seating. What you will find is unpretentious bar staff, great prices on drinks and awesome nights like the R&B Urban Education on Thursdays and the monthly Friday Brunch Bunch.
Contact: +971 55 773 0010
Sea View Hotel, Bur Dubai – 3.5*
It doesn’t actually cater to elite soldiers, this club is instead aquatic themed – fitting, as it’s located way up by Port Rashid in Bur Dubai. A night here is not easily forgotten for one reason – the manic Filipino band that play cheesy hits at a breakneck pace. Starting early and playing through the night, an evening here is absolute gold for future “Do you remember that night..?” moments. Although the answer is likely to be “No”.
Contact: +9714 355 8080
Boutique 7 Hotel & Suites, Tecom – 3*
Smartly splitting its attractions across three areas of varying loudness, 1UP Bar describes itself as a “trendy upscale British music bar.” The slightly naff paintings of the Beatles and, we think, George Best on the walls belie the trendiness somewhat, but there’s no doubt the place has a non-stop vibe of fun. Finish your night at the far end, where DJs rule a small ‘n’ dirty dancefloor, and a pretty hot covers band plays each Thursday.
Contact: +9714 434 5555
Kung Restaurant & Karaoke
Byblos Hotel, Tecom – 4*
A genuine hidden gem. Hidden in the sense that, whenever we go, we end up getting lost and walking through the kitchen to find the door. This is less a bar than a series of rooms off the restaurant that offer karaoke for groups from anything from two to 16. There is a huge choice of songs – A-Ha to ZZ Top – and they’ll even bring your food and drinks to your den. Have your own American Idol contest.
Contact: +9714 550 9109
Chelsea Plaza Hotel, Satwa – 3*
Formerly Champs, this place offers the same tried-and-trusted blend of flatscreens, high and low tables, a range of just-above-average bar food and whatever beverages you could want. There’s also a pool table in the corner, if you can manage to get on it. It’s best on Saturday evenings when the sport is on and Premier League and rugby matches are beamed in from various parts of the world. It’s one of the few genuinely decent bars in this part of Dubai.
Contact: +9714 448 9547