As 2013 nears its end, new clubs and lounges have been popping up around every corner of the UAE, each of them trying to offer something that the evening scene hasn’t witnessed yet. It’s quite the feat, considering the quantity and quality of establishments they’re already up against.
Whether they’re attempting to take nightlife back to basics by catering to a crowd who’s bored of the glitz, or whether they’re pushing the envelope with quirky infrastructure, advanced technology and an artistic touch, these eight spots are vying to impress. Is Dubai ready for bling-free clubbing? Or are you in the mood for a spot so exclusive it’s only available one day a week? Read on to find out what your winter parties are going to be like.
Opened on: September 19
Located at: Sofitel Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
The unique selling point: With its duplex location, 2LIV wants to take clubbing back to its pre-elitist roots when nightlife wasn’t so divisive. “Most venues are aimed at and centred only around VIP guests and tables — we want to bring back to Dubai how nightlife should be,” said Jordan Jon, the club’s artists and events manager. “The walk-in guests will have just as good an experience on the dance floor as the VIP table guests.”
2LIV’s beats are provided by resident DJ Alex Seda from the sands of Miami as well as former Trilogy spin master, DJ Ejaz.
Look out for: Ladies night on Tuesdays, with free drinks between 10pm-1am, as well as different beats on the main floor and the rooftop. For more information, check out www.facebook.com/2livDubai.
Price range and contact: Dh2,000-5,000 (055-9867180).
Story Rooftop Lounge
Opened on: October 7
Located at: Dubai Media City, behind Zayed University
The USP: Story Rooftop Lounge wants to bring the glitz and glamour down to a more comfortable, homey level. With the walls turned into murals by a commissioned artist from Barcelona, the environment is innovative yet welcoming.
“We are catering to normal people,” said owner, Manuel Ayas. “People who are fed up with the bling-bling, and the five stars, and are looking for something real.”
Because it’s a rooftop location with a view of the ocean, its breezy October 24 opening date was a perfect time to open its outdoor setting to the public.
Look out for: Fridays between 12.30-4pm, Peruvian flavours are featured during “A Different Story” brunch for Dh299. For more information, check out www.storydubai.com.
Price range and contact: free entry (04-3659911).
Opened on: October 24
Located at: Rooftop of Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi
The USP: GLO has been open in some capacity since May, but didn’t launch as a luxury lounge until temperatures cooled down this October.
The only spot of its kind on Al Maryah Island in the capital, the terrace hangout aims to provide a quiet escape from daily obligations — something between glamour and comfort.
“It’s not a club — the type of music is soulful music and the levels remain quiet. The idea is that you can always talk to your neighbour without having to shout,” says director of communications, Marine Vigouroux.
GLO has already had international DJs spinning for their clientele and have plans to host more extravagant and fashion-oriented events.
Look out for: ‘Gloaming’, happening Sunday to Wednesday between 6-8pm, a small window of time when GLO offers 50 per cent off pizzas. For more information, check out www.glolounge.ae.
Price range and contact: free entry, reserve a cabana for Dh6,000.
Opened on: October 31
Located at: Leisure Drive, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
The USP: 360-degree, unobstructed 3D projection mapping means visitors to this circular club will be transported to a different location with each visit.
“What we’re offering doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” said Ebrahim Hilal, the business development and marketing manager.
Though it’s only open on Thursdays, O1NE promises weekly performances from international artists, and has already hosted the likes of Ludacris, Ciara and Sean Kingston.
“Our philosophy is to give more for the same price,” Hilal said. “More entertainment, more services, more technology, for the same price as the competition.”
Look out for: One of the largest privately owned graffiti walls in the world, done by 18 commissioned artists from around the globe. For more information, check out www.o1neyasisland.com.
Price range and contact: Dh3,500-Dh30,000 (052-7888111).
Opened on: November 7
Located at: Radisson Royal Hotel, Shaikh Zayed Road
The USP: Shaped like a flower, Fleurs has a capacity of 270, making it an intimate live entertainment venue. It stands out in as far as it’s a pop-up spot with a five-year contract. Its elaborate set-up vanishes on Sundays to become just another conference room.
The club touts live R&B and Arabesque performances as their distinguishing asset, a change from Dubai’s DJ-heavy scene. Continuing with the overall floral theme, attendees are encouraged to throw flowers on the performers — a sign of appreciation in the Mediterranean. But Fleurs might not be for everyone. General manager Andreas Giatrakos is clear about their desired clientele: “VIPs. Elite is a heavy word… We want people who know how to party, and have the money to do it.”
Look out for: Resident acts, Shaya and Stefania every Thursday, and new acts will be announced each week. For more information, visit www.fleursclub.com.
Price range and contact: Dh2,000-Dh15,000 (050-9139148).
Opened on: December 1
Located at: The Oberoi, Dubai
The USP: Iris is an outdoor retreat overlooking Burj Khalifa. “It will stand out as Dubai’s newest outdoor rooftop experience, featuring a trendy menu, sophisticated ambiance, stunning views of the city, complemented by the best sounds from our chill-out music selection,” said Tony Habre, CEO and co-founder of Add-mind, the company behind the lounge.
Its clientele will vary, according to Habre, between the post-work daytime crowd who just want to kick back, the connoisseurs of elegance looking for something a bit more upscale, and the visiting tourists who’ll want to snap the architecture.
Look out for: Brunch on Fridays between noon-4pm as well as music provided by resident DJ Bruce Hills and Diane and the Band. For more information, check out www.irisbeirut.com.
Price range and contact: free entry (056-7712999).
Opened on: December 12
Located at: Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina
The USP: Societe caters to those who fancy letting their hair down. “The club and team have fun at their core, that sits hand in hand with a ‘Societe’ of party people that relish a non-pretentious environment,” says general manager Gary Holliday. “We are stepping away from the stereotypical music genres and offer the best of pop, dance and rock & roll tunes from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s decades.”
On their opening weekend, they hosted 90’s pop star Haddaway of What is Love? fame.Societe brings with it a friendly vibe, and says their favoured clientele will be those who come wearing a smile.
Look out for: Ladies night on Tuesdays with Dh10 for selected drinks, a free three-drink voucher between 10-11pm, and a free drink voucher between 11pm-12am. For more information, check out www.societe.ae.
Price range and contact: Dh1,000-Dh6,000 for tables (050-3571126).
Opening on: December 19
Located at: Meydan Racecourse Grandstand Rooftop, Dubai
The USP: Two words: Outdoor nightclub. We’ve heard about the rooftop lounges scattered about the city, but this claims to be the first of its kind in the region, offering a dance club on the deck of the Meydan Hotel. “Our ultimate trademark is our rooftop location with the unique open-air experience,” said Tony Habre. “We plan on ensuring a memorable night for all party-goers with the incredible light shows [and] energetic entertainment.”
Open on Thursdays and Fridays, the 860sqft club will be able to hold 1,000 party-goers at a time. It started out as a pop-up in Al Murooj Rotana called The White Room, but moved to a permanent location once it found success in the city.
Look out for: DJ JOJO from Lebanon and DJ Devon from the United Kingdom will be flown in on a weekly basis. For more information, check out www.whitedubai.com.
Table price range and contact: Dh1,700-Dh15,000 (050-4430933).