Bars, Pubs & Clubs in Dubai

I seem to have spent rather a lot of time in venues where alcoholic beverages are sold recently, so thought I would give you my opinions on them!

Obviously, as I am a super important entertainment critic, my opinions are the only ones that matter… Not!  If you disagree, that’s ok!

Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina:

Loved it!

We went for a friends birthday drinks on a Tuesday night (yeah, dumb move!) as we hadn’t been before and fancied a bit of a nose around.  We had heard all kinds of stories about it being packed with the BritPack (revolting, high earning, loud British expats), prostitutes everywhere, and extortionate prices, so were a bit concerned.  Why did we go you may well ask?!  Well, because we like to be shocked and feel moral whilst downing a bottle or two of vino!!

Sadly/thankfully, just the prices being high (not extortionate), came close to the truth.

The bar was moderately busy upon arrival, and gradually became more so.  There was a really good mix of clientele, and not an obvious prozzie in sight.  The music was fantastic, and at the right level, and the staff were friendly, competent and speedy.  I have to say, it was such a refreshing experience!!

My only complaint is that wine was average (I was on the PinotG, but unfortunately someone bought me the SavB which tasted like paint stripper at one point).  The beautiful glasses (where can I buy them?!) were not enough to distract from the pitifully small (125ml, maybe?) serving size with a price tag of AED65.  It is what you get when you go to a cool bar though, I guess!!

8/10 – more wine, more points as it is the only thing that irritated me!!


Girders, Ocean View Hotel, JBR Walk:

Ummm… Give me a while to work out how to say this…..

Thursday nights in Dubai are a night to celebrate the end of the working week with a beer or two.  No work for 2 days makes it the rest of the world’s Friday night equivalent.  In my last job I worked most weekends so it mostly passed me by, but now with a new job, Ramadan being over, and the girls back from the summer holidays, I am going to give it a bash!

So, we went off to Girders on JBR.  I don’t think I will go back again in a hurry.  We walked in up the stairs on the outside of the hotel.  We opened the door to the enclosed terrace and were hit by a wall of smoke.  Lovely.  We went inside, it was worse.

It was heaving, which was viewed as a good thing.  We wanted excitement.  We hit the bar, ok so elbowed our way through the people sat along it and refusing to budge, and ordered two Vodka and Sprite, (AED66 for both in case you were wondering!), and then set about finding somewhere to stand.  Thankfully a nice table came up so we jumped on it and parked ourselves ready for a night of people watching.  Sadly, the British chaps sat next to us STANK.  Every time an arm raised, I thought I was going to vomit.  And, given the fact the smokey bar was hot as hell, it only got worse.  In a genius move, I turned myself sideways, only to then be accosted by the groin of an old, fat German.  Delightful.  He tried conversation, but could barely slur a sentence together in English and in fairness, I don’t think it would have mattered had he been attempting it in German.  The “highlight” was his little weeble dance, which I can only assume was to encourage looking at his nether-regions, which were thankfully hidden from view by a menu which I was then hiding behind.  There was no escape – BO on one side and weebling German on the other.

Thankfully a waitress came to our rescue (sadly for her the weeble gave her a good grope on her bottom, but fair play to her for not hitting him with the tray she was carrying), and we ordered a simple bowl of cheesy fries.  My appetite had shrunk considerably, but being a responsible drinker and knowing there was a brunch in my immediate future, I wanted to line my stomach to avoid a hangover.

The plus of having made it this far into the evening is that the bar was starting to thin out.  We spied another table and made a bolt for it.  Phew!  No BO or weebles in this corner.  Oh no.  Instead we got a group of about 20 braying BritPackers.  Delightful.  It wasn’t as bad as it could be though.  After the first, who apparently was celebrating his 21st birthday, bashed into our table, a responsible older chap shooed them back into their area a little more and apologised profusely.  The rest of our time in Girders was spent relatively quietly, playing spot the worst tattoo.  For your information, the chap with spiders webs around his elbows won.

Our food eventually arrived about an hour after ordering.  The poor waitress was smiling her way through working in what appeared to be hell, so we didn’t mention it and just picked at them instead.  On the plus side, there was pork bacon on it too.

Time to leave me thinks.  We did.

3/10 – points mostly gained by a) having pork on the menu and b) the lovely waitress.


The Hub, Sofitel Hotel, JBR Walk:

Ok, so this one we knew nothing about, but it was just down the road from Girders and it was too early to go home.

It’s billed as an Irish bar, which are always good fun.  it is also a lie, I think.  If truth be told, I cant comment on much.  We walked in one door.  There was maybe 15 people in there and no music, and it didn’t even look fun.  So, we walked out the door on the other side.


1/10 – because it was clean and well lit.


Cabana Beach Bar, The Palm:  Can’t find a website!!

It was so busy that the staff were doing a stock take… on a Thursday night.  Does that tell you how much fun I had?!  The drinks were nice.  Absolut vodka is always a bonus compared to Russian Bear or whatever nasty cheap stuff you find in most bars!

I think this has the potential to be a fun place though so going back is on the cards.

For the meantime:

5/10 – Friendly staff, great vodka.


Bidi Bondi, The Palm:

Again, it was dead.  Apparently 11pm on a Thursday is normally so much fun!  This was the last bar on our trek.  It wasn’t worth continuing.  We had two drinks, and gave up.  Equally, the worlds most unfriendly woman served us our second drink so we weren’t included to stay longer!

Again, I think it has potential so will try again another time.

2/10 – there was vodka.


N’dulge, Atlantis, The Palm:

Wicked Awesome fun!!  Totally going back!!  It does have the potential to be an absolute car crash though!

It is the nightclub of choice for post brunch partying, especially for those who have been to Saffron.  We hadn’t been to Saffron thankfully.  We had been to another which doesn’t have a handy bar in crawling distance.  So, the taxi was turned into a mini disco in order to get ourselves in the mood, and it totally worked (aside from the massive row with the driver about his lack of manners at one point!).  We arrived and it wasn’t as crowded as the last time I was there, understandably as the last time I was there was the last brunch before Ramadan!  Anyhoo, the music was aces, the bar staff did a great job, and there were plenty of people to laugh at!!

(See last post re Quotes).

Not much more to say really, except one of the girls we were with had an asthma attack and the door staff once they realized what was going on, were great.  I don’t think that they employ the goons on the door for their English language skills though!  One of the them had biceps the size of my head, literally!

9/10 – They need a better extraction system though as the smoke was thick enough to cut with a knife after the main doors shut.


Rock Bottom, Tecom: Can’t find a website again! Probably just as well!!

Rock Bottom is a Dubai institution.  There originally was the one in Bur Dubai, but thankfully they opened a second in Tecom, and its much nicer!!  Friday nights are generally fairly busy, and this was no exception.  The only sad point was that Coxy, the resident karaoke host, wasn’t in action and we had to suffer the poor attempt of a cover.  Please never leave us again Coxy!

Food and drinks were plentiful, and reasonably priced.  The staff are friendly and helpful, and even after you have been a handful of times, remember you and greet you like BFFs.

As soon as karaoke was done, DJ Danny Cee took to the stage and whipped the crowd into a frenzy once again.  He really is good, if a bit on the far side of acerbic sometimes.

So, in conclusion…. Friday nights with Cozy and Danny Cee rock the ass out of Rock Bottom!  Highly recommended.

8/10 – Dropped points for the lack of extraction systems too.   You always end up leaving smelling like an overflowing ashtray.


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