Dubai City Guide

Dubai, a Middle Eastern Clubbing Mecca

Dubai nightlife is a fickle creature; lurking in the depths of every promoter’s heart is the tenacious desire to out do and out smart. For the clubber this means one thing – an overwhelming plethora of entertainment and music options.  With the predominate commercial R&B love of the nation catered for across most of the venues, smaller more intimate underground parties are stepping out from the shadows. The smaller events across 360, Catwalk and The Rooftop at Trilogy have the buzz and the brag to stand out.

Any music lover can now find a place to call their own on their clubbing calendar. With big name DJ’s attracted to the sandy shores on a daily basis the winter season lines up’s feel almost Ibiza-esque.  With the big name clubs like Chi at The Lodge, Trilogy and Nasimi exhausting booking agencies back catalogues; across one evening you can go from Frankie Knuckles to Dave Seaman and Pete Tong, to the Cuban brothers. Noted for its beautiful winter temperatures, the Gulf breezes and 30 degree evening temperatures, means alfresco clubbing is another huge hitter.

Social Destinations


The hub of pre club exploration, Madinat hosts a string of on-trend bars and casual eateries. Notably Leftbank and Trader Vics being the big time crowd pleasers. The nearby Jumeirah Beach hotel is soon to add London’s Royal set watering hole ‘Mahiki’ to its achievements. Set to open October 2011, Mahiki hosts a large space adjacent to the hotel. We’re promised it will be pumping out accessible, fun music and potent cocktails 7 nights a week.



In the mix of art galleries, fashion houses and financial head offices, DIFC mirrors it’s London and New York counterparts. Several established venues provide both casual and formal thirst quenching prospects.  Las Vegas brand The Light Group (famous for its vegas destinations including Pure, Bare and its namesake Caramel…..) homes its first international venue here in the form of Caramel. The truffle macaroni cheese is the stuff of legend.




Not far removed from a London Canary Wharf scene, Zuma’s 2 floor eating and drinking nucleus breeds trendy Arty types and hedge fund show off’s. The food is superb, the cocktails even better. The background music is a steady mix of beard stroking minimal lounge sounds for its hip cosmopolitan crowd


La Petite Maison

Based again in Dubai’s DIFC complex La Petite Maison part of the London and Paris chain is truly a breath of fresh air to Dubai’s saturated dining scene. Bustling, friendly and with the correct pinch of affection, La Petite Maison dishes up the cities finest French fare. Booking in advance is recommended, as is double portions of the Potato Dauphoinse.


Bombay Chowpatty

Off the beaten track, exciting and exotic for the western set. This is North Indian street dining Dubai Style. The food is cheap, fast and hugely fulfilling. Several locations can be found across Dubai from malls, to side alleys.  The Samosa Chat is the most epic of hangover cures. Tuck in and don’t be afraid to try it all.




Embracing intimate underground events like House Arrest, Glitch and Warped, Catwalk cater for the niche markets at its backstreet venue. Catwalk is an interesting room based in the recently constructed Tecom/ Al Barsha area of town. Hard to find but worth the irritating taxi ride on a busy night.  Covering sounds from tech & deep house to facemelting dubstep,



360 at Jumeirah Beach Hotel Dubai

360’s weekly audio tonic and MustHaveSoul parties are THE go-to events. Dropping everything from big soulful grooves to dark deep basslines, these guys have the hangovers sorted. Attracting a mixed, fun and hedonistic demographic during Dubai’s cooler months, this unique alfresco venue based at the end of a long winding pier and set to the backdrop of the Arabian ocean packs in the crowds from sunset till close.  Sundowners will never be the same; grab an apple mint shisha, a cocktail and a friend. It’s our top tip.

View of Burj al Arab from 360 at night–Nightlife/Bars-and-Nightlife/360/



iLL Communications Dubai’s most well know Tech house nights continues its long running relationship with Dubai’s Clubbing gem, Trilogy. Based across three floors, the main room, studio and the star in its crown The Rooftop cater to a variety of clientele. Hosting predominantly house focused events on Thursday (NB Dubai’s weekends run Thursday/Friday/Saturday) and iLL Communication deeper vibes on a Friday. Friday’s also see a host of smaller room sounds with the funk, soul, dubstep and DnB all having their significant places.   Some of the best music and friends can be found here although prices aren’t cheap.–Nightlife/Bars-and-Nightlife/Trilogy/



People by Crystal

Homes in the glass roofed triangular dome of Raffles hotel and Time Out Dubai’s best club 2010, mixed music policy and fun crowd, this club is worth a mention at the least.



Boasting a bizarre location discovered through an underground car park, one of Dubai’s only gay venues is worth a visit for atmosphere alone.  Positioned on the ‘darker’ side of town the club churns out smaller minimal sounds and diverse club nights for a variety of music lovers.


XL Beach Club

Dubai’s most recent addition on the alfresco set is not a destination for all types but none the less merits a mention. A variety of club sounds from House, RnB and bassy Lebanese Electro attracts a predominately Middle Eastern frat boy crowd. Ridiculously overpriced Cabanas surrounding a catwalk style swimming pool ensure a mass congregation of bikini clad ‘Dahlings’ the weekends over. Worth a visit if you can splash the cash on your own tented shelter and private washroom.  It’s a little ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’.

Check out our listings here: XL Beach Club!/xlbeachclub


Fine tuning Dubai’s clubbing trends, (minimum table spends and guest list only policies) Republique has fought through to be become a ‘one to watch’ venue. Turning Dubai’s fundamental money spinning RnB sound on its head and opting for a more varied, versatile and vintage sound this Downtown based venue is the place to see and be seen in.!/xlbeachclub



We couldn’t write an article without mentioning the illustrious Roberto Cavalli nightclub. This club thrusts tacky glamour, commercial synthed RnPop and scantily clad clientele from it’s fur coated and crystal lined insides. Fun, pretentious, over the top and talked about, this isn’t a club for the faint hearted…or poor.



Nasimi at Atlantis The Palm is a two-pronged affair. The Nikki beach fashioned venue brings global stalwarts such as Defected and Hed Kandi alongside Dubai’s original Full Moon Party by well respected and established event promoters Infusion. On a monthly basis a predominately western ‘up for it’ crowd can be found shoeless and giving it large on the sand.


Across the hotel on the Nasimi BIG BEACH the thrice annual Sandance Festival packs in a 12,000 strong crowd. Those with a penchant for long lovely days, drinking and dancing should put it in their calendars now.


Must See’s and Do’s

Without stating the obvious Dubai’s many marvels include giant malls and 7 star hotels, however, a jaunt across the Creek on an infamous Abra and you can find yourself in eccentric Philipino karaoke clubs or lounge bars themed on airport waiting rooms. Satwa, Bur Dubai, Karama and Deira host a wealth of absurd, entertaining and sometime daunting amusments.  From Spice Markets to Gold Souks, all you can eat Chinese buffets and shawarma and sheesha stands.  Stick some comfortable shoes on and just get lost.