Dubai’s nightlife scene is anything but ordinary. Much like the city itself, with its iconic architecture and impressive international food scene, the bars in Dubai take it to the next level – even when you’re looking for a chilled out night with a beer. Going out for a drink in the UAE is a little different, regardless; bars are always located in hotels, as per UAE law, and doormen will always ask you for your ID or proof that you are of the legal drinking age (21). As a growing city, Dubai has a growing nightlife scene, so we’ve put together this list of lesser-known bars, ordered from oldest to newest, to get you ready for an awesome night out.
The Irish Village
Located in the Dubai Tennis Stadium’s backyard, The Irish Village is one of the oldest bars in Dubai, and one of the best known around town. It’s always full, regardless of the day, and you can enjoy heartwarming, homemade dishes with your favorite Irish whiskeys. You will always find an incredible atmosphere, but if you’re over for St. Patrick’s Day or The Irish Village Hop it’s best to head down early and watch the crowds roll in and the night pick up.
Stereo Arcade is made up of an 80s grunge bar (literally) as well a nightclub. The former is a great place to catch live bands play amazing rock classics you can’t help but sing along to and is a popular choice amongst residents. It fills up quickly, but you can always step out to catch your breath in the arcade room – and yes, we’re talking the original arcade games from your childhood: Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros!
There’s no better way to describe this one than as Dubai’s favorite and biggest sports bar. First among its kind in Dubai, Barasti Beach Bar has absolutely everything going on at once. During the day everyone is welcome to lounge on the private beach beds, with ongoing DJ sets in the background to make it the ultimate summer spot. At night, the crowd begins to build up and you will be asked to put on something more than a bikini, but the DJ sets on the beach continue while the live band picks up on the upper deck. (Somehow both parties are loud enough for the music from each not to blend in with each other!) The best time to go and experience it fully is during the colder winter months, as hanging out on the beach in summer might get a bit too hot.
This hula-themed bar has been one of Dubai’s go-to bars for years. With several locations around town, you will never find any Trader Vic’s quiet or empty. The upbeat atmosphere and incredible live Latin music will have you dancing after your first drink – partially because they tend to be generous with their drink quantities. If you go to the Madinat Jumeirah location, you can always have a look around the other clubs and parties the area has to offer!
Located in Dubai Marina’s Pier 7, Cargo Dubai is the go-to place for everything from a posh brunch to a messy after party. Overlooking the Dubai Marina, their great food, affordable drinks and upscale crowd will make you forget yourself on the spot! However, being one of the seven bars in the building, you can always take the elevator and check out the rest of the options – as everyone does.
This newcomer took the Dubai bar scene by storm. The block-party-themed bar will leave you disappointed by any other hotel bar you come across in the city. A live band on weekends and DJ sets on weeknights keep the bar a resident favorite. You will find a mixed crowd – anyone from biker gangs to hen party celebrations – enjoying the two-story bar, and you can get in wearing anything from sneakers to heels. We recommend heading over before 10pm on a weekend to avoid hanging out at the hour-long queue.
Nola is a class-act bar where you can enjoy dinner and drinks. Dubai likes to stay out on weeknights, so every night at Nola is a great night out. Make sure you’re ready to dress up and spend a little more though, as this is the place to be seen. The extensive food and drinks menu will leave you spoiled for choice, but it will be well worth it!
Brunswick is the go-to sports bar to have a drink, some of the best bar food in the city and watch any game from NFL games to EuroLeague matches. The vintage sports-league-themed bar is packed at any time of day with Dubai’s hippest crowds thanks to its chilled-out vibe, extensive beer menu and amazing cold brews. Weekends are run by resident DJs, and if you’re lucky you can experience their one-off events with some of the UAE’s most talented musicians. So if you fancy lunch with a beer or just some chilled-out drinks, this is the place to be.
Hidden in the newly open Oberoi Hotel in Business Bay, Iris has a sophisticated and relaxed vibe, perfect for after-work or pre-party drinks. The live, jazzy-blues entertainment creates the perfect romantic atmosphere and sets the mood for a great night out. It’s one of Dubai residents’ favorite new spots, so get ready to mingle with some locals!