Dance, Theater, and Music

Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC)

Plush 550-seat theater; program ranges from slick Persian drama to English amateur productions; art gallery, artist ateliers, dance studio. Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 341 4777.

Madinat Theatre

Slick international shows in opulent theater with arabesque detail; varied program, from Russian ballet to Broadway musicals; dinner-show deals; buy tickets online. Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 366


“Sensational live jazz bar.”—Dion Mavath, Dubai-based international club DJ. Dubai’s only dedicated jazz venue; consistently good jazz, blues, soul, and R&B bands; stylish space; great fusion food. Souk Madinat, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 366 6730.

Peanut Butter Jam

“Chill-out scene featuring open mic, movies, and bean bags: a local favorite.”—Shehab Hamad, Dubai fashion and musicentrepreneur. Live acoustic sets, jam sessions, and sausage sizzles or barbecues, on Wafi rooftop in winter; relaxed atmosphere. Wafi City, Bur Dubai; tel. 971 4 324 4100.



“Probably the finest sunset venue in town. Margaritas meet music.”—Mike Ross, venue manager, entertainment company 9714. Alfresco rooftop bar; panoramic vistas of Burj Al Arab; laidback local favorite. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 406 8769.

The Agency

Dubai’s best wine bar, famed for its wines by the glass and tasty tapas; minimalist decor; outdoor wooden deck with breathtaking views of Burj Al Arab. Souk Madinat, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 366 6730.

The Apartment Lounge Club

Hip apartment-style decor, each room offering different music such as R&B, hip-hop, and house. International DJs on the weekend. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 406 8769.

Bahri Bar

“Couples love the big comfortable sofas and beautiful, romantic setting.”—Simone Luca Gagliardi, chief sommelier, Gordon Ramsay’s Verre. Colonial style, rattan lounges, Persian carpet-covered veranda, jaw-dropping Burj views–especially at sunset. Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 366 8888.

Bar 44

Glamorous 44th-floor cocktail lounge with mesmerizing views of the marina and the hundreds of gleaming new skyscrapers along this stretch of coast; impressive champagne list, inventive cocktails, delicious snacks. Grosvenor House, West Marina Beach; tel. 971 4 399 8888.

Buddha Bar

“Dubai’s best bar, a must-do.”—Simone Luca Gagliardi. Exotic Thai-meets-Shanghai style; expertly mixed spicy cocktails; media crowd ensures the place buzzes; beats the Paris original. Grosvenor House, West Marina Beach; tel. 971 4 399 8888.

Cin Cin

“Chic bar known for champagnes, vintage wines, exquisite cigars, and chilled house sounds.”—DJ Stickyfingers, radio station Dubai FM 92. Champagne nights attract the well-dressed set (no jeans or T-shirts); decadent bar snacks include mini-Wagyu beef burgers, freshly shucked oysters, and Iranian caviar. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 311 8316.

The Roof Top

“Expect to hear an eclectic mix of Arabic fusion and world music you won’t hear elsewhere in Dubai.”—DJ Stickyfingers. Candlelit One Thousand and One Nights Arabian-style rooftop; cushioned banquette seating. Arabian Court, One&Only Royal Mirage, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 399 9999.


“A local institution, the beautiful people are here religiously every Sunday night,” Shehab Hamad, Dubai fashion and music entrepreneur. Groovy white leather lounges, blue-lit bar, breezy beachside deck in cooler seasons. Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 346 1111.


“The terrace is where it’s at, look out for local DJ legends Ali Ajami and Charl Chaka.”—Shehab Hamad. Dubai’s biggest and best dance club, Arabesque decor, top DJs flying in on weekends. Souk Madinat, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 366 6917.


Dubai Desert Classic

Late January-early February. World class golf event. “Men in polo shirts and women in pearls come out in force. Post-tournament celebrations are as popular as the contest itself.”—Georgia Lewis, editor, Middle East Car magazine.

Dubai International Film Festival

December. Showcases regional and international films. Tip: “Skip overblown gala nights and watch the world’s most comprehensive new Arab cinema program instead.”—Antonia Carver, co-editor, Bidoun magazine.

Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF)

January-February. A month of shopping bargains and cultural events. “I defy anyone to walk into a mall during DSF and not float out with an armful of bargains.”—Rachel Sharp, editor in chief, Harper’s Bazaar Dubai.

Dubai World Cup

March. World’s richest horse race day. “Bubbly flows freely, and the prize money is astronomical.”—Georgia Lewis.

Art Dubai

March. “Go for local flavor: Main fair includes leading galleries; others exhibit at the unmissable alternative Creek Art Fair in Bastakiya.”—Antonia Carver.


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