Dubai has a fantastic nightlife scene. Life actually begins in the evenings here, given its hot climate during the day, and it is not until 9pm that people will come out and play, often hanging out until midnight.
A great variety of bars and nightclubs can be found in Dubai. The main party districts are places with large concentration of hotels, like the Jumeirah and Al Barsha districts in New Dubai, and the Deira and Bur Dubai districts in the older part of the city. The party places here are mostly located on the Oud Metha, Al Rigga and Karama districts and largely inhabited by Indians.
The legal age for drinking in Dubai is 21 years of age. The bars that serve alcohol tend to be the ones found in hotels. In Dubai, nightclubs are required to close by 3am; large fines are levied if music continues beyond this hour. If you happen to visit Dubai during Ramadan period, check first to see if they are open, as majority of the bars will be closed during this month, and the ones that are open will be very subdued, with no live music or dancing allowed. However, outside of this time, the nightclubs in Dubai have a lively atmosphere, some with world-class DJs spotted on a regular basis.
There are plenty of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in Bur Dubai. There are several Indian places such as the Bollywood Bar or the Chill Rooftop Club, which offer a great atmosphere. Deira is the place to go for a taste of Arabic atmosphere. There is the Al Mushref Bar, with belly dancers, the Arabic Nightclub, and the Iranian Nightclub all at the Al Zumorrof. Deira is also filled with Indian, Bengali, and Filipino clubs as well. The Kasbah Nightclub is a Moroccan-themed nightclub located in the Royal Mirage Hotel in Dubai, and is one of the biggest nightclubs in Dubai.
Dubai hotels offer an international variety of nightclub entertainment experiences, everything from German and English pubs to Russian discos. The Aviation Club, located along the Dubai Creek is a great place for beer, while other places such as hi-tech discos of Atlantis the Palm, the Triology at Madinat Jumeirah Complex, all have hi-tech discos. The Dubai Marina complex offers forty different bars and lounges, including the popular Buddha Bar, a hot spot for parties.
In Dubai, as the weekend falls on Thursday and Friday, Thursday nights is the biggest night to go out. However, Saturdays are also quite popular.
Like in most countries, women and couples will have an easier time getting into a nightclub, than men. To discourage racism, it is against the law to wear the local Middle Eastern dress in bars and nightclubs in Dubai; anyone dressed as such is usually denied entry. In addition, during the Ramadan period, Muslims are denied entry into nightclubs and bars in Dubai.
Bars and Nightclubs in Dubai
Alamo: Located at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, Alamo is popular with both expatriates and nationals, and can get busy during the weekends.
Apartment Lounge and Club: Located in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Apartment Lounge and Club is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and offers some of the best music flavours. Friday nights tend to be busier and is reserved for hip hop, R & B and soul.
Atlantis: Located adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe, this club gets busy around midnight. They have dancing girls and drum masters performing, which adds to the lively atmosphere. They have Ladies Night on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
Abaya Nightclub: Abaya is the traditional dress worn by Emirati women. Located at the Dubai Park Hotel, this club has live music and belly dancers. (Tel: +971 4 3992222).
African Star: Is an African night club located at Marco Polo Hotel, Deira. Tel: +971 3 2720000.
Alpha Club: Located at Le Meridian Dubai Hotel, the notable aspect here is the massive sound system. Tel: +971 4 7022640.
Barasati Bar: It is one of the top bars along the seaside, wherein DJs play music indoors, and you can sit inside for change of scenery.
Bang Nightclub: Located in Old Town Burj Dubai, it is run by Boudoir, and may have a fussy entrance policy. Tel: +971 4 4397444
Bar Zar: Located along the Madinat Jumeirah, it is a very pleasant and relaxed bar with large outdoor area overlooking the water. However, it got a little too fussy about the dress code in 2008.
Barasti Bar: Is an excellent venue with indoor/outdoor lounge club, and has a relaxed dress code.
Beach Club: Located at the Palm Beach Hotel in Bur Dubai, this African band is small, but different. Tel: +971 4 3931999.
Boudoir Night Club: Located along the Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, this Persian Club has the best reputations in the city of Dubai. It draws Lebanese crowd, particularly those who can enjoy music.
Budha Bar: Situated at the Grosvenor House West Marina Beach Dubai, the Budha Bar houses a large Budha statue, and has a bar serving a mixture of cocktails.
Carter's: Located within the Pyramid Complex at Wafi City, it closes doors at 1am on Thursdays and 2am on Sundays. The DJs begin playing by around 10am.
Champions: Located at JW Marriott, an excellent place to watch major live sporting events such as Football, Rugby, and large boxing matches, the bar is open daily until 2am. This is a popular venue frequented by expats and locals alike.
Chi Night Club: Located at Al Nasr Leisure-land, in proximity to the American Hospital, the club is popular with younger generation. There is the funk house and hip-hop nights and various theme nights to keep youngsters interested. The night club has four large rooms, a dance area with a garden, and a VIP room to chill out, provided, you have made your reservations. Tel: +971 4 3379470.
Downtown Africa: The club, located at President Hotel, Bur Dubai, is an African nightclub, a bit on the expensive side, but quite different. Tel: +971 4 3346565.
Escoba: Located at Al Khaleej Palace Hotel in Deira, it plays loud Arabic music and has belly dancers. Tel: +971 4 2231000.
Ginseng: Located within the Wafi City Mall in Bur Dubai, it is a good place to begin the night. The bar serves the best range of cocktails and plays variety of chilled music.
Ikandy: The bar is located on the fourth floor of Shangri La Hotel, along Sheikh Zayed Road, at the pool deck. It reflects pink light, and is the perfect spot for pool parties.
Issimo: Located in Deira at Hilton Dubai Creek, Issimo is trendy sports and martini bar, particularly popular among middle-aged men, who enjoy watching live sports.
Jimmy Dix: Located at the Movenpick Hotel in Bur Dubai, this club attracts the real party goes. The DJs and band play the best rock, pop and dance music. There is a venue for comedy nights, held every month.
Juna Lounge: Located at the Burj Al Arab hotel along the Jumeirah Beach, this bar sometimes requires a dress code (a shirt with a collar). There are cocktails, Scottish single malts and premium Cuban cigars offered.
Kasbar: Is located at Royal Mirage Hotel and is a Moroccan-themed venue. The club is built on three levels with terraces that overlook the dance floor. Tel: = +971 4 3999999
Ku-Bu: Located at the Radisson SAS Dubai in Deira, this bar has an African-based decor and has a darkly-lit chill out zone. Tel: 971 4 2227171.
Malecon: This is more of a live music venue, located at Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa. It has a salsa bar with in-house Latino group. Although it appears as a true restaurant during the day, it transforms into a lively dance spot in the evenings, housing the best house DJ’s.
Mix: Located at Grand Hyatt, Mix was one of the first clubs in Dubai and continues to be popular event today among the Middle Eastern crowd. With a huge dance floor, an elevated bar and podium dancers, it hosts some top international DJs playing mix of Arabic pop, house and R&B.
Peppermint Club: It is the top nightclub for party lovers, wherein more than 2000 clubbers dance away on an overheated dance floor. Although men may have to pay an admission charge, women may get in for free.
Planetarium: Located adjacent to the Pyramid Centre, it has strict membership and entrance regulations permitting access only to members, couples and ladies. Tuesday nights are reserved for ladies. The club is closed on Saturdays.
Scarlett's: Located at the Emirates Towers Hotel, this bar is open from 12:30pm to 3am. The bar doubles up as a restaurant, serving great American cuisine. This bar is popular among expat corporate types and among businessmen.
Skyview Bar: The Skyview bar in Dubai offers stunning views from atop Burj-Al-Arab, and easily conjures up a cocktail to suit your moods. There is live music six nights a week.
Submarine: True to its name, this nightclub is located at the Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai. Tel: +971 4 3599992.
Tropicana: The Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, which houses the Tropicana, an Arabic model nightclub, mainly draws an Arabic crowd. They play the latest international hits and Arabic popular dance music.
Triology: This is one of the biggest and contemporary nightclubs in Dubai, located along the Jumeirah Beach Road. It has three storeys, renowned DJs and hosts several VIP bashes.