Like its thriving foodie landscape, Doha’s drinking scene has never been more diverse – from the upscale lounge to the odd dive bar. Culture Trip selects the best bars to visit in the Qatari capital.
While most bars are located inside five-star hotels because of licensing rules, Doha’s continuous expansion has meant that there is now a diverse range of venues available. And though recent hikes in alcohol taxes in Qatar have made going out a more expensive proposition, these bars and hotels have come up with creative and pocket-friendly ways to keep drinkers happy.
Hotel Restaurant, Bar, Asian, $$$
Nobu Doha actually has two bars – the light and airy White Pearl and the edgier Black Pearl on the second floor. But the crowning glory is the rooftop area that, with 360-degree views of the Doha coast and glittering skyline, is hard to beat in terms of location and ambience. The restaurant and bar is located on its own island at the Four Seasons Doha in West Bay, which gives an almost castaway feel as you sip your Japanese gimlet. While you may think that the Nobu name comes with a hefty price tag, the very popular daily happy hour and weekly Monday Ladies Night, plus special prices on bar snacks (all based on dishes from the restaurant’s menu), make this a must-visit.
This once dark and gloomy bar situated on the top floor of the towering Intercontinental Doha the City has been reborn as a Cuban-themed venue, and the difference is astounding. With Cuban-themed drinks (think lots of rum) like the Cuba libre, and a menu of bar snacks and comfort food direct from the island nation (like empanadas), this bar has become one of the city’s hotspots. Up the winding staircase is a cigar lounge, and the views of Doha, which can be seen from the entire bar, are priceless. Early evenings are quiet, but the fun Latin atmosphere cranks up when the in-house band from Havana hits the stage at 7pm. The daily happy hour has drinks starting at QR45 (£9.60). Be sure to snap a selfie at the giant angel-wings mural.
Known simply as ‘The Irish’, Doha’s first and much-loved Irish bar at the landmark Sheraton Doha continues to pack in a cross-section of the city’s residents and visitors. The crowd is as diverse as the country’s population, but if you’re looking for trendy, this is not the place for you. Drinks are as you would expect for an Irish pub – lots of beer and mixed drinks for those wanting something different, and prices are kept reasonable thanks to the daily happy hour. As for the food, it’s good solid fare and perhaps the only place in Doha where you can get a beef and Guinness pie. The house band of the day belts out crowd favourites most nights, and weekends really draw a crowd, so go early.
One of the few bars in Doha with spacious indoor and outdoor areas, The Belgian at the Intercontinental Doha packs in a devoted and friendly crowd night after night. The design of the café is typical of the global chain – dark wood, chalkboards, drinks on display with a long bar and wood floors. The outdoor area – covered and uncovered – is great for families. It offers a range of Belgian and European beers on tap and in bottles, as well as the usual suspects: cocktails, mixed drinks and soft drinks. What sets this place apart is its excellent food menu – running the full gamut of Belgian and comfort-food classics. They are justly famous for their steaming mussel pots, which come with crunchy fries and mayo as well as the traditional burgers, steaks and schnitzels.
Wahm is a place only the W Doha could create – a perfect mix of atmosphere, service and menu. The indoor bar is clubby, busy and a little loud, but head outdoors or poolside for the real experience. The ideal seats are the cabanas with billowy curtains and comfortable sofas, but the tables next to the pool are also enjoyable. Here, you can also try the shisha menu (be sure to check out the Medusa – with many hoses off one shisha pipe to share). Prices are five-star-hotel territory, but the cocktails are worth the investment. Highlights are the Ice Flower Gin with Monkey 74 gin and rosewater and the dark-rum-infused Fire in the Desert. Like W Doha’s other offerings, the food menu is inventive and craveable – try a brioche lobster roll with smoky tomato sauce or the “naanwarma” – a cross between Indian naan bread and Middle Eastern chicken shawarma. This is another venue where you must bring ID or passport for entry.
Smoke-free and family-friendly, this sports bar at the Holiday Inn Doha on Airport Road keeps visitors happy with a great selection of beers and wine as well as dozens of screens showing the latest sporting events. The bar is spacious and has booths as well as tables for larger groups. The focal point is the private viewing room with a giant screen and race-car-style seating. Burgers are the heroes on the bar’s extensive menu, and you can even build your own. It’s worth veering off this path to try some of the other offerings like the power salad stuffed with falafel and kale or the selection of flatbread pizzas. Prices are standard for Doha (read: high), but the bar does have a daily happy hour and special offers.
Come for the crab and stay for the warm vibe and the long happy hour. The closest Doha has to a dive bar, this venue became an instant classic when it opened its doors in 2018. Located just off the Doha Corniche at the Doubletree Hilton, and one of the few lively venues away from the West Bay area, Claw BBQ packs in regulars with a mix of creative drinks and American-style classics. The Lagerita is its most famous drink – a giant frozen margarita served with a bottled beer in the centre – and is also an example of the unpretentious and fun atmosphere. Must-tries on the food menu include the buckets of king crab cooked any way you please and the XXX Suicide chicken wings that are so spicy they are served with gloves and goggles.
While the place’s slogan, “Unleash the monkey inside you,” is a little cringeworthy, there is a lot to love about Doha’s first proper beach bar and restaurant. Located on the white sand beach at the Grand Hyatt Doha on West Bay Lagoon, the bar puts out a vibe that is distinctly casual and is the closest thing to a beach vacation without leaving Doha. Decorated in bright turquoise and yellow with sun loungers and cream sofas, it’s a unique venue. In the cooler months, it opens at 11am (Tuesday to Saturday), so come early to grab a spot, order some snacks like wood-fired pizza and crab cakes and enjoy the tunes pumped out by the in-house DJ.
With knockout views and a tiki-bar vibe, the Tahitian Village is an offshoot of the popular Trader Vic’s at the Hilton Doha. Located adjacent to Trader Vic’s, it has a separate entrance (beware, they do ask for ID) to its thatched-roofed idyll. Squint a little and you could be in the Maldives, with the tropically themed drinks and the laid-back lounge area. The drinks menu is best enjoyed in the cooler months – the 1944 Mai Tai is the bar’s signature, and its Lanya Punch Bowl is good for two thirsty souls. The Village’s Polynesian-themed menu also delivers with retro bites like crab rangoon (crab puffs) and jalapeño cheese bites.
Taking the honours for the sexiest bar in Doha, Manko is interconnected with the white-hot Peruvian restaurant La Mar. Housed in a standalone building inside the vast Intercontinental Doha complex, the bar has views across to West Bay – try to nab one of the sofas on the terrace to drink in the panorama. The drinks menu is varied, and prices start from QR65 (£14) for the cocktails, with the house favourite being the South American pisco sour. Highlights of the short and sweet food menu include the Nikkei (the Japanese-Peruvian fusion food) menu of maki rolls and cured fish. A great place for a sophisticated start – or end – to an evening out.