Qatar is a dry state, in which public drinking is banned. But despite tight controls, the capital is home to a lot of bars inside its many hotels. Here are some of the best. Just remember: be respectful of local culture and abide by the rules.
Bar, Middle Eastern
Right in the heart of Downtown Doha, at the W Doha Hotel & Residences in West Bay, Wahm Lounge is a cosy, dimly lit, sophisticated venue done out in style with brightly coloured velvet furniture. Outside, the whitewashed, minimalist seating area fringes a sparkling pool, so you can enjoy your drink with a waterfall centrepiece roaring in the background. There’s an extensive drinks list and a reasonably priced dinner menu comprising salads, sandwiches or sharing boards. Or why not do like the locals do and enjoy a shisha after dinner? Wahm Lounge hosts different events, too, so you can enjoy anything from Latin to ladies’ nights – and you wouldn’t want to miss happy hour.
This European-themed lounge bar, in the JW Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha, offers live music nightly from Wednesday to Saturday. It’s a classy venue, offering guests a place to relax and enjoy a wide choice of cocktails, spirits and wines – which makes it the perfect place for an aperitif or nightcap. The piano bar has a smoke-free lounge with a relaxed atmosphere, where you can unwind at happy hour or enjoy a quiet after-work drink.
This laid-back rooftop bar, with stunning views of the West Bay skyline and the Arabian Gulf, is one of Doha’s finest. Enjoy a cooling pre-dinner cocktail on the terrace at sunset, or dance the night away at the indoor nightclub, which attracts top international DJs. Pure serves classic drinks, bar bites and Big Boys, 3-litre (100 fl oz) – and up – bottles of champagne, vodka or whisky. Happy hour is between 6pm and 9pm. Don’t miss the weekend, when the whole place transforms into a huge rooftop party, with pulsing beats and hundreds of revellers.
Sky View is a bar like no other: with its swanky interior, decorated with chandeliers and comfy lounge areas. The carved wooden wave ceiling glides around a circular island bar, which flows out onto an impressive rooftop terrace. Booths are available to sit and enjoy the amazing views of the Doha skyline. It’s famous for its margaritas and weekend themed events such as Flashback Friday.
Champions, Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha Hotel
Bar, Snacks, $$$
This award-winning sports bar, at the Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha Hotel, boasts 47 televisions so you’re guaranteed a good view. It shows some of the most popular sports from around the world, with two large screens used for big matches. Done out like a 1950s American diner, it serves quirky drinks such as the Beer Giraffe – a 3-litre (100 fl oz) beer tower. If you’re hungry, try the Champions Sampler – a huge plate of chicken wings, cheeseburger sliders, fries and a stack of onion rings. The second Monday of every month is quiz night, where you have the chance to win QAR3,000 (£670).
With a Caribbean-inspired pool bar and private beach, with beautiful views of the Gulf, the St Regis Hotel hosts the ultimate beach party in Doha. The Oyster Bay and Bar provides the perfect beach escape, with busy staff bringing drinks and snacks straight to your sunbed. Pay for a table or pull up a sunbed for free and make the most of the setting from 9am until sunset. The eclectic menu take its inspiration from around the globe, with anything from patatas bravas (golden russet potatoes with beef, chorizo and garlic mayo) to Vietnamese vegetarian summer rolls on offer.
A hip rooftop bar turned nightclub, Society Lounge, at the Hilton Doha in West Bay, offers dazzling views across the city. The elevated DJ booth puts music at the heart of the place, while purple lighting sets the mood. There are DJs every night of the week, with happy hour every night but Saturday. Great for large groups, the lounge also offers hookah pipes, or shishas. The diverse menu of beers, wines and spirits should please everyone.
Another entry for the W Hotel & Residences in Downtown Doha, the upscale Crystal is one of the hottest nightclubs in town. Lasers light up the bar as you enjoy champagne buckets sparkling with indoor flares. The feel-good playlist brings the sleek lounge to life, and you can make shapes on the dancefloor under the elegant Baccarat crystal chandelier. The bar staff have a lot of fun with the various cocktails on offer, and this is the place to come for what is reputed to be the best champagne in town.
Monkey Tale, a beach-side lounge on the edge of The Pearl-Qatar, overlooking the Gulf, serves cocktails and drinks from day to night. Sweet-smelling shisha smoke billows from the thatched tiki-style bar. Here you can lounge in your private cabana, take a dip in the sea or play on the sea swing. DJs blast out the latest tunes on weekends, and girls, you’ll get three complimentary drinks on Saturdays for what’s dubbed Beauty and the Beach day. It’s the oldest trick in the book to draw you in, but it works!
Stepping into La Vista 55 makes you feel like you’re in Havana. This bright, bold funky hangout, high up on the 55th floor of the InterContinental Doha The City, is Cuban style – bright, bold and funky, with colourful murals and cool street art, while the bar is lit with neon lights. Cuban cigars and tapas are on offer, and a live band provides a suitably Cuban atmos. Show off your best dance moves between 5pm and 2am, and celebrate a good day with happy hour till 8pm every evening.