Best for… sky-high views
At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa, Downtown
If pre-dinner drinks at the level-122 lounge bar of the towering Burj Khalifa isn’t on your girly getaway bucket list already, add it now. You’ll need to book ahead and there’s a minimum spend (more for tables by the window), but it’s worth it.
Vault, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay
This vertiginous venue on the 71st and 72nd floors of the world’s tallest hotel offers dizzying views of Dubai’s famous skyline. With elegant black and gold décor and inventive cocktails, this cool customer attracts a classy clientele.
Skyview Bar, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach
Set on the 27th floor and suspended 200 metres above sea level, a tipple at the top of the Burj will not disappoint. The décor is kind of kitsch but, gazing over the Gulf with a cocktail in hand will be something you’ll talk about for the rest of your stay. You’ll need to book and a minimum spend applies.
Best for… dancing ‘til dawn
360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach
Spectacularly located on a jetty one kilometre out to sea, 360° is considered by many to be Dubai’s best nightclub, with visiting international and resident DJs. The crowd are there to see and be seen so make an effort.
Mahiki, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach
The London original is well-loved by the young aristocratic crowd, and Dubai’s own tiki-themed nightclub is a blast too, with pop classics, glitzy outfits and sparkler-topped champagne magnums for the big spenders.
People by Crystal, Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha
Located at the top of the Raffles pyramid with enormous windows affording 360-degree views, this glitzy club has spectacularly lit dancefloors, top house music, beautiful people and a hedonistic vibe.
Best for… creative cocktails
Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina
The cocktails are as cool as the crowd at this oriental-styled bar. Blackberry-infused vodkas, expertly crushed with fresh fruit and ice, blend to create the bar’s signature berry-themed concoctions. Dress up.
Bahri Bar, Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah
With glam interiors, gorgeous sea views from the terrace, and an award-winning mixologist, Bahri is a great spot to watch the sun go down. Sample the Bubbly Madinat, a mix of peach and Champagne, or the signature gin-based Cool as a Cucumber.
Karma Kafe, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai
Buddha Bar’s little sister is similarly atmospheric but has a more intimate vibe. Choose from over 30 intriguing concoctions, include the Popcorn Old Fashioned, vodka or bourbon infused with caramelised salted butter popcorn. A great venue for pre- or post-Dubai Fountain drinks.
Best for… live performance
The Act, Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
This wild and wonderful nightspot combines cabaret-style theatre with imaginative Peruvian cuisine from head chef Roberto Segura. While not as raunchy as the Las Vegas original, it still manages to be edgy and hugely enjoyable.
MusicHall, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, The Palm
Not just a theatre venue and so much more than a club, Beirut’s famed music concept landed in 2013. An eclectic roster of musicians, ranging from rock to Latino, gypsy to jazz, perform live. Expect high-quality performances and a party atmosphere, with sharing plates available.
Cirque le Soir, Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
First opened in the heart of London’s Mayfair in 2009, this circus-nightclub has since expanded to Dubai and Shanghai. It’s certainly an impressive spectacle, combining top-quality circus acts, such as snake charmers, acrobats, and international DJs, against a burlesque backdrop.