Nightlife in Dubai has improved by leaps and bounds since the mid 90s and party animals will find that this diversely rich city has much to offer in terms of night time activity. The party scene in Dubai is restricted mostly to large hotels as these establishments have a liquor license that allows them to serve alcohol in their bars, lounges and clubs. The crowd is largely mixed with people of both Eastern and Western origin. Thursday and Friday nights are the busiest in Dubai as Thursday is the last day of the work week, and Friday-Saturday is the weekend for most people.
Nightclubs in Dubai offer unforgettable experiences right from the music to the venue. Few clubs can compete with the renowned 360º bar and club perched on the rooftop terrace at the end of a pier in the heart of the Arabian Gulf. As the name suggests, the club offers stunning views of Dubai’s spectacular shorelines as well as the Burj al Arab in the distance. Attracting popular international DJs from around the world, 360º is the perfect setting to relax with a drink and chill out to cool tunes into the wee hours of the morning. For a unique night on the town that can only be experienced in a vibrant city such as Dubai, party goers can opt to party on Nasimi Beach, an artificial beach set 7km out to sea. A grooving nightclub on weekends, Nasimi is equally comfortable as an elite beach club on week nights. For serious music fans, Trilogy, located at the Souk Madinat Jumierah, hosts some of the top DJs every week and is one of the best places to visit for modern music lovers.
If you are in the mood for a great night out without the fuss of having to dress up, check out the Barasti beach club located at the Mina Seyahi beach. A popular institution since its modest beginnings almost a decade and a half ago, this vibrant venue has something for everyone with an in-house band playing some of the old classics to a dance floor at the lower level offering more hip—swaying tunes. The food and cocktails served are absolutely delectable and nothing beats dancing barefoot on a sandy beach! The choice to dress up or go in flip-flops is entirely up to you.
For those who like to start partying earlier in the evening, there are many locations that offer restaurants, bars and clubs under one roof, so you don’t have to worry about traffic and parking which can be a nightmare, particularly on weekends. The Pyramids at Wafi City, Madinat Jumeirah and the Walk at JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) are some of the liveliest hot-spots in town that offer a one-stop entertainment venue for night owls.
Laws on alcohol consumption
While many of the other emirates in the UAE, such as Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, do not allow the consumption of alcohol, non-Muslims are free to drink in Dubai. The legal drinking age is 21 years of age and all bars and nightclubs have strict procedures for checking IDs. For visitors, a passport is the best from of identification while for residents of the U.A.E., the recently introduced Emirates I.D. or a driving license will suffice.
Dubai has absolutely no tolerance for drinking and driving and local police here are very vigilant when it comes to driving while consuming alcohol. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you have had even a beer, as getting caught will definitely land you in jail! If you are planning on drinking, take a taxi service back to your hotel or residence.
Most nightclubs in Dubai will not allow entry to men wearing jeans, flip-flops, shorts or other casual attire. Women, on the other hand, can wear pretty much anything they want, depending on which part of town they go to. Many establishments employ bouncers who ‘selectively’ let in the best dressed people. In swankier clubs in Jumeirah and those in large hotels, short skirts, micro minis and short dresses are normal clubbing attire. If you are planning on going to some of the more questionable bars or clubs in Deira or Bur Dubai, it is recommended that you dress with a little more caution. You could also pack a pashmina in case you are planning on going out somewhere after clubbing.
Club Timings and Ladies Nights
Most clubs in Dubai start filling up after 10 p.m. and are open till 3 a.m. Bars and pubs usually close earlier around 1 a.m. On Tuesdays, nightlife in Dubai is dedicated to women with most clubs offering a Ladies Night. Women can enter free with many places even offering free drinks. It’s a perfect night to spend out with your girlfriends. Some establishments also have a Ladies night on Sundays.
Up until a decade ago, most nightclubs in Dubai had free entry and a cover charge was rare except for the most exclusive establishments. However, in recent years, as the nightlife scene has exploded with clubs running packed to world class DJs and musicians, you can expect to pay around AED 200 at these establishments. This fee sometimes includes a free drink.
If clubbing and partying is not really your thing, there are many other forms of night time entertainment to be found in Dubai. The city is home to some of the most fabulous restaurants in the world including At.Mosphere on Level 122 of the Burj Khlaifa. For a lavish International buffet in a contemporary, but relaxed setting, visit Dubai’s only revolving restaurant Al Dawaar, located on the rooftop of the Hyatt Regency hotel.
Dinner can be followed by a movie at one of Dubai’s many world-class movie theatres located in the majority of Dubai’s malls. Get served in your seat at the 14-screen cinema at the Mall of the Emirates or enjoy the 3D movie experience at the IMAX theatre at Ibn Battuta Mall. If you’re visiting Dubai during the cooler months, enjoy a movie under the stars every Sunday from October through May at Wafi’s rooftop garden terrace. The movies are popular older titles, but the event is free and you can enjoy popcorn and hotdogs on comfortable bean bags in the heart of the city.
Whether you are a party animal or just looking to have a great time after sundown, Dubai offers a wide variety of nighttime entertainment options. If you are in the Middle East and looking for some fun and unique after-dark experiences, the nightlife in Dubai has something for everyone, from the wild party animals to families looking for fun things to do in the evenings.