Bars and nightlife in Dubai

Nights out in the capital of cool are lit

Whether you’re all about the Gram, more into sunset sips with panoramic views, or prefer to check out the talent Quincy Jones likes best, the night scene here is as lively as the city itself.

Melinda HealyJournalist and travel writer
15 September 2022

Its conservative culture aside, this is an emirate that knows how to put on a show and party like its life depended on it. So long as you're sensible and are all about enjoying what Dubai has to offer, you are guaranteed fun, frivolity, quality tunes and even free alcohol on Ladies Night.

Q’s Bar & Lounge

One of the best venues for live music, Q’s is music legend Quincy Jones’s contribution to the music scene in Dubai. Not only was this his first lounge bar foray, he handpicks the talent himself. It is jazz, soul and blues heavy, and electric in its delivery and decor. Intimate and lively, this is an all-out crowd-pleaser and it is elevated by the fact that it is one of Palazzo Versace’s biggest calling cards.

If you are looking for a lit night out and Q’s sounds like your speed, make sure you book a table or a booth well in advance, as this isn’t a walk-in kind of venue – it’s far too popular for that: We’re talking American producer, record label, king of music’s handpicked artists kind of popular.

The dress code spans everything from smart casual to more formal – it really is up to you, but flip flops and tank tops might be out of place.

Address: Palazzo Versace Dubai, Al Jaddaf, Jaddaf Waterfront

Dukes Bar

If you’re looking for a classy drink spot and don’t mind it being all about you, this is the spot. Dukes Bar impresses immediately, its swanky decor greeting you at the door. Plush royal blue velvet furniture, chandeliers dripping in gold, all embellished with sparkling glassware and elevated by a smartly-dressed smiling drinks team.

Expect prices on the high side, but for a pre-dinner or post-dinner drink, this is a sophisticated choice. Vintage drinks dating as far back as the 1930s are a cool addition to the menu. James Bond has a heavy presence on the mixed drinks list, the signature martinis here proving 007-worthy.

Aside from the mixology and presentation, the service is impeccable and the genuine crystal glassware to die for.

Address: Dukes, The Palm, The Palm Jumeirah

SoBe, W The Palm

There are plenty of great spots across the city to soak up an Arabian sunset, from high-rises to beach settings, but there are not too many that afford patrons the privilege of a 360-degree uninterrupted view. SoBe’s palm tree-lined rooftop invokes that desert appeal and once that big blazing sun goes down, the party moves into the chilled-out lounge area emblazoned with purple neon lighting, pops of emerald green furnishings and colorful street art … it’s bang on art-deco. Just as you’d expect from the W brand, SoBe is wow-worthy, fun, cheeky and all about living your best life with house music thumping around you and drinks flowing.

Address: W The Palm, West Crescent Palm, Jumeirah

Lock, Stock and Barrel JBR

A favorite with the party crowd and the Instagram set, this Jumeirah Beach establishment consistently serves up a cracking night out. It doesn’t hurt that it has some sensational happy hour specials, gents’ night offerings and freebies for the ladies, and it kills it when it comes to hops, grape and mixed drink specials. Late night DJs pump out the tunes on the weekends and there are pool tables to hire and pub food to indulge in.

Daily happy hour starts from 4pm with regular pricing kicking back in at 8pm. It’s worth noting that if you’re around JBR on a Tuesday evening, ladies drink free.

Address: Rixos Premium Dubai, The Walk, JBR

Zuma Dubai, DIFC

There’s a reason this bar has been a regular on the World’s 50 Best list. The Zuma bar is a signature element and provides a visual experience as much as a salubrious one. Zuma’s menu is called Kanjo – Japanese for emotions – and it’s stacked with ginjo sake, tequila and Japanese-style aperitivi, along with heritage and Nomikai cocktails, like Japanese garibaldi that mixes cordial with campari and OJ.

This is a buzzing spot most evenings, as the district’s after-work crowd converges on this hero of the Dubai drinking scene. Expect a more sophisticated, classy crowd with a taste for the finer things. Local DJs do their thing to keep the tempo right up there.

Address: Gate Village 06, Podium Level, Al Mustaqbal Street, DIFC


If you’re looking for a good, old-fashioned Irish pub, this is a cracker. Renowned for its impressive drinks selection – everything from beer and ciders, to gin, rum, tequila, shooters and cocktails. It draws a decent crowd thanks not only to its beverage game, but its live music and sport too. The terrace area is the ideal spot to drink in the views, while inside, the crowd is a mix of tourists, older patrons and couples having a good time, oh and of course there’s a good lot of party goers making the most of happy hour. It’s a warm vibe, to be sure!

Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road

Americano Dubai

This speakeasy-style venue oozes a bygone era vibe. Dripping with mystical extravagance, it’s elegant and a little bit naughty. Pull up a brass stool and soak up the American ambience, watch the mixologists do their thing, and of course indulge in your drink of choice.

With indoor and outdoor seating areas, Americano is open seven days a week and offers its patrons three enticing reasons to visit. Monday to Friday between noon and 5pm, the team is all about two-for-one drinks, then on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 7pm and 6pm, respectively, ladies are afforded three free drinks (one food item must be ordered) at Woah Mama.

Its Speakeasy Brunch is popular too, and is held every Saturday from noon until 3pm.

Address: Shop G145 Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road

Level 43 Sky Lounge

Unique handcrafted cocktails and views from what feels like the top of the world, that’s what is on offer here. Set atop the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, you’ll mix it with the mixologists and those taking in the panoramic city views.

Swill your way through everything from beer, cognac and wine, or have that extra bit of fun by making the night about the lounge’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun cocktail selection – we’re talking Lycheenis, Bellinis and even a Sweet Escape.

The section of the menu called A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody is an interesting selection too, and there’s a Designated Driver mocktail menu for those who prefer to party on the less wild side.

Wow-worthy and laidback, it’s got an in-house ‘music stylist’ and is ideal for a pre-dinner drink or sundowners.

Address: Four Point by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road

Cargo Pier 7

Wine and cocktail nights, happy hour, or everything in-between, Cargo has party power. This Dubai Marina hotspot brandishes a beverage menu that’s as broad as the views it affords its patrons. Meet, eat and mingle is the name of the game here and Pier 7 really is the place to be and be seen.

Every Tuesday from 8pm ladies drink three for free (cocktails, wine or house spirits); Happy Hour kicks in from noon to 8pm daily (except Saturday), and brunch on Saturday is a lively affair, full of great food and copious drinks.

It’s here that the beautiful people choose to drink and there are plenty of those in Dubai, so get the heels and the dress shirt out and kick on.

Address: Third floor, Pier 7, Dubai Marina

Barasti Beach Bar

If you want to drink beside the seaside, this is a good place to enjoy the coastal breeze. Barastic is as much about the beats as it is the drinks, and if nursing a beverage while catching some live sports on the big screen is more your speed, you can do that too. It’s a chilled venue with a lot going on.

Day or night, this is a fun spot to kick back and enjoy the rays or desert nights with a fruity cocktail in hand and the sea lapping at your feet. Plenty of residents would go as far as calling this the party capital of Dubai, so do yourself a favor and check it out. On weekends you’ll find some of the best DJs on the planet doing their best work on the decks.

This is a child-free venue, so adults-only please.

Address: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina

Gilt, Burj Al Arab

Dazzling and dynamic are perhaps the best words to describe this modern cocktail bar that has recently taken up residence on the 27th floor of the world-class Burj Al Arab Hotel.

As you’d expect from a property of this caliber, the menu is uniquely crafted and creatively executed. Led by mixology extraordinaire Thibault Mequignon, Gilt’s cocktails are put through a rigorous testing lab before making their way onto the menu. Techniques like centrifuge and rotovap are used to deliver beautifully balanced cocktails that delight and deliver a pleasurable punch.

Brilliantly decorated, you’ll be as gobsmacked by the gold bar and white-gold feature wall that elevates the richness of the space. Dress up for the occasion and expect sophistication and luxury all round.

Address: 27th floor, Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqueim


With a slogan like ‘No Saints Allowed’ it’s a surefire bet that this underground bar is for those who don’t take life too seriously. This tiny, red-infused club is a little left of center with its DJ spinning the decks from the inside of a birdcage to complement its red neon lighting and vibrant red and black furnishings.

Those who enjoy their hip-hop tunes and go out to dance well into the AM will relish the opportunity to properly party. But you need to be comfortable with a crowded club and, given its intimate size, you should book one of the six tables up for grabs each evening if you want to ensure yourself a place.

Address: Above La Carnita, InterContinental Dubai Marina

Ole Dubai

Professional dancers doing their thing to the best beats in town – this is just part of what makes this Dubai cocktail lounge and nightclub party central. Abuzz from 9pm to 3am, Thursday to Sunday, this after-dark lounge is lively, lavish and fun. Plush velvet lounges and bar stools, red curtains and ambient lighting add to the appeal.

But it’s the live performances, along with the hip-op, RnB tunes that give it real oomph. Choose a high table or a lounge, or go all out and book a VIP booth. The crowd is full of young, ‘you only live once, so live it up’ kind of partygoers.

Address: Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai

White Club

With the title ‘Best Club in Dubai’ and rated 15th in the world by DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs, this is one experience you simply can’t miss when you visit Dubai. A venue that often hosts the world’s leading DJs, not only does it provide the best global beats, it also serves up skyline views that are simply breathtaking and are the ideal backdrop for an evening under the stars.

Patrons are invited to dress up and put their dancing shoes on – this is a night you won’t forget when you look back on your travels to the Emirates’ version of Las Vegas. Expect spirits that have spirit and that delectable taste of summer, mixed by the talented team of cocktail craft masters.

It’s worth noting that the club doesn’t open until 11pm.

Address: Meydan Racecourse Grandstand Rooftop

Do’s and Don’ts - Dubai Bars and Clubs Tips

Remember that alcohol is only served to those over the age of 21. No matter how much older you are, you should always have your ID with you to prove it.

Most of the night venues in Dubai open late and close late, so do your homework before you head out and always remember that at club closing time, which is usually 3am, the demand for public transport will be at its peak, so do plan to head off a bit earlier to avoid waiting in long queues.

Dress code

What is acceptable in this regard differs from venue to venue, so the best advice I can offer you is to check out the website of the places you’re looking to hit up and ensure that you are across what is acceptable and what isn’t. There’s nothing worse than rocking up to a club, lining up and being turned away.

Rules around alcohol

It is illegal to consume alcohol in public, but drinking in a licensed premises is fine so long as you don’t leave in a ridiculously drunken state – this may well find you in prison. Drinking and driving is not tolerated, so if you plan on drinking, even a sip, plan to get back to your accommodation in a taxi.

About the author

Melinda HealyAlthough born in PNG, Mel is an Aussie-made journo who's always been more interested in passport stamps than possessions. A whiz with words, Mel spent a number of years living and working in the United Arab Emirates, it was here that she shared insight into Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the world. Mel believes travel is a privilege and an educator.