These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.
When the less well travelled ask Dubai expats how they cope without bars, they often choke on their Dom Pérignon. Dubai is awash with world-class bars and discreet watering dens. In observance of cultural sensitivities, polite euphemisms are used in publication: ‘hops’ means lager, beer or ale; ‘grape’, wine; ‘bubbly’, prosecco or champagne; and cocktails are referred to as mixed drinks. Learn the code and unlock the door to local nightlife. Happy hours are ecstatic, often reducing Dubai’s exorbitant alcohol tariffs by half, and on ‘ladies’ nights’ selected drinks are free for women. Join the party, or meditate on a sunset at one of the emirate’s more sedate havens with sand between your toes.
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar
Grosvenor House Dubai is good at creating bars. Start at Siddharta Lounge, named after Buddha (Siddhārtha Gautama) and offspring of the hotel’s popular Buddha-Bar; it’s decorated with enough Buddha busts to stock a Habitat. It could feel clichéd if it wasn’t so classy. Behind golden ropes manned by a black-tie doorman, an elevator delivers guests to two al fresco decks, with sofas, bar stools and bleacher-style seating, one overlooking the city, the other the sea, with an indoor restaurant in between. Balearic beats suit the mood and the drinks menu is extensive, with a guide to its many speciality sakes.