Drinking and nightlife in Arabian Peninsula

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Muscat

    Trader Vic’s

    When it comes to cocktails (try the Samoan Fogcutter or Honi Honi), nowhere competes with this fun and lively Polynesian-style venue. Resident expert stirrers and shakers have been making ’em how you like ’em for more than a decade. With live Latin music (except Fridays) and wafts of Mongolian barbecued choice cuts, you’ll probably be seduced into staying for dinner.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Downtown Dubai

    White Dubai

    The Dubai spawn of the Beirut original did not need long to lure local socialites with high-energy rooftop parties under the stars. International spinmeisters shower partygoers with an eclectic sound soup, from house and electro to bump-and-grind hip-hop and R&B, all fuelled by dazzling projections and light shows. It's the only Middle Eastern club on the Top 100 list of the British DJ Mag.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Muscat

    On the Rocks

    This novel lounge restaurant, with its giant psychedelic TV screen, serves a spirited cocktail and a fine-dining menu for modest prices, but it's the music that draws the crowds. Every Tuesday is steam-and-beer night, with dim sum and pulse and soul music; every Wednesday there's live music, and DJs pitch in from 8.30pm to 2am on other nights. Smart-casual dress is strictly enforced.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Deira

    Irish Village

    This always-buzzing pub, with its Irish-main-street facade (complete with post office) and made with materials imported straight from the Emerald Isle, has been a Dubai institution since 1996. There’s Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, lovely gardens around a petite lake, the occasional live band and plenty of pub grub to keep those tummy rumblings at bay.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

    Barasti

    Since 1995, Barasti has grown from basic beach shack to top beach club spot for lazy days in the sand, and is often jam-packed with shiny happy party people knocking back the brewskis. There's football and rugby on the big screen, plus pool tables (and pool parties), water-sports rentals, a daily happy hour, occasional bands and drink specials on most weeknights. Thumbs up to Barasti's eco-initiative to transform the venue into a 100% sustainable, zero-waste beach bar.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Marina Breakwater

    Ray's Bar

    For a prime perspective on Abu Dhabi's audacious architectural vision, let the lift whisk you up to this 62nd-floor bar at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, which is all about cocktails and mocktails and skyscraper views – arrive at sunset to be dazzled by the light bouncing off all the steel and glass. If the views and cocktails make you dizzy, the small-plates menu of buffalo wings, spring rolls and flatbreads will restore balance to the brain.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dhofar

    Island

    The island may be artificial, only one bar wide and accessible by a humpback bridge so small that you could almost span it in one stride, but the sense of this being a little piece of revelry cut adrift from the marina makes it highly attractive. Open-sided and on stilts, it draws a lively crowd from Salalah. There's a menu of seafood dishes (among others), but it's mostly about the bar.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

    Lock, Stock & Barrel

    Since opening in 2016, LSB has been racking up the accolades as living proof that there's room in bling-blinded Dubai for keeping-it-real party hangouts. Dressed in industrial chic, this two-level joint is the place for mingling with unpretentious folk over cocktails and craft beer, twice-weekly live bands and fingerlickin' American soul food. Two-for-one happy hour daily from 4pm to 8pm.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Al Zahiyah & Al Maryah Island

    Dragon's Tooth

    Just the coolest speakeasy-style bar in town. Walk through the front door of Dai Pai Dong and head left to stumble into this secret drinking den, all leather and brass, which seems to have fallen out of the 1920s. Cocktails are super creative. Our favourite is the Black Panda with rum, amaretto, activated charcoal, and blackberry and rosemary syrup.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Doha

    Backyard

    Set in a lush garden under trees, and lit with fairy lights, this place has a different feel from the other bars in Doha. It hosts acoustic sets, which guests listen to on garden benches or floor blankets, and has a chilled-out vibe. When international DJs play, it turns into more of a festival atmosphere. The dress code is come as you are. Entry is free for women before 7.30pm.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Doha

    Belgian Cafe

    One of the few casual pubs in Doha, Belgian Cafe gets packed to the rafters on Thursday and Friday nights. The crowds are here for the imported Belgian ale and other European beers, great bar food (classic mussels or waffles) and laid-back atmosphere. There's a large smoking area out back. The decent happy hour runs between 12.30pm and 6.30pm daily, with beers from QR30.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Downtown Dubai

    Bridgewater Tavern

    This happening joint has ushered the sports bar into a new era. Sure, there are the requisite big screens to catch the action, but it's packaged into an industrial-flavoured space with (mostly) rock on the turntables, shisha on the canalside terrace, and an elevated gastropub menu whose signature 'black' burger is so messy it comes with a bib.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Eastern Province

    Butlers Chocolate Cafe

    A dangerous spot for chocolate lovers. Each gourmet cup of coffee here comes with a free chocolate truffle. The cafe is furnished in a classy, elegant and upmarket style that hints at the European (Irish) roots of the chain. There's an extensive breakfast menu but it's the exquisite Butlers artisan chocolate you'll be eyeing off.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dubai

    Bahri Bar

    This chic bar drips with sultry Middle Eastern decor and has a veranda laid with Persian rugs and comfy sofas perfect for taking in magical views of the Madinat waterways and the Burj Al Arab. Daily drink deals, elevated bar bites, and bands or DJs playing jazz and soul make the place a perennial fave among locals and visitors.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Bahrain

    Museum Café

    With the best sea views offered by any terrace on the island, this cafe is the perfect place to end an afternoon exploring the Bahrain Fort. Sip your aromatic, locally ground coffee, tuck into divine cakes sourced from local bakeries and watch the mudflats come alive with birds.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Deira

    QDs

    Watch the ballet of lighted dhows floating by while sipping cocktails at this always-fun outdoor Creek-side lounge deck where carpets and cushions set an inviting mood. In summer, keep cool in an air-conditioned tent. Great for shisha-holics too.

  • Nightlife in Al Bateen & Al Mushrif

    Art House Cafe

    Beside, and connected to, Etihad Modern Art Gallery, this artsy cafe, with its shaded patio scattered with tables and seating made from recycled oil-barrels and fuel canisters, is a colourful bohemian hangout. There's good coffee, excellent smoothies and breakfast plates as well as wraps, salads and burgers if you're peckish.

  • Nightlife in Abu Dhabi

    Beach House Rooftop

    Don't be deceived by the unassuming back staircase entrance. Climb to the top, and you'll be dazzled by incredible turquoise waters and panoramic ocean vistas. Atmospheric music at just the right volume and low, emotive lighting set the tone, though it's Mother Nature's stunning sunsets and gentle sound of waves lapping that really steal the show.

  • Nightlife in Dubai Marina & Palm Jumeirah

    Tap House

    This gastropub is as popular with the after-work crowd as it is with families on sunny Saturday afternoons. There are a dozen beers on tap, along with bottled European brews, tap-your-own 5L kegs and even beer-based cocktails (try the Leffe Fashioned: Jim Beam and bitters topped with Leffe Blonde). The breezy terrace boasts views of Burj Al Arab in the distance. If you're taking the tram, it's a five-minute taxi ride from the Palm Jumeirah tram stop to Club Vista Mare, a bustling boardwalk with seven licensed restaurants and bars. It's next to Tiara Residence.

  • Nightlife in Al Bateen & Al Mushrif

    Joud Cafe

    Although earnest artisan-coffee guff generally gets on our nerves – when ordering you'll be asked the origin you want and whether you'd like it served hot or their standard warm – there's no denying this place serves some of the best coffee in town. This is a much-loved neighbourhood hangout with its mid-century-meets-minimalism interior usually packed with young Emiratis. There are good breakfast and lunch dishes, cakes and pastries to munch while you sip. It's squirrelled off the road-front, on the ground floor of an apartment block.