Drinking in Dubai

As a city that pushes the limits of modernization, its nightlife is abuzz with impressive and one-of-a-kind venues.
dubai main image
Although Dubai may have strict alcohol laws, that hasn't stopped the city from developing a lively and unique cocktail culture.

Dubai’s drinking scene is as varied as its cultural diversity, but it does come with certain caveats.

The city’s licensing laws make it illegal for alcohol to be served outside of licensed venues. As a Muslim city, Dubai follows the rules of Sharia Law, but being a hub of tourism and ex-pats in the UAE, it allows drinking for non-Muslims — with strict rules. Dubai residents and tourists are legally required to have an alcohol license to buy liquor at a shop, so it's easiest to just patronize licensed venues (usually restaurants and hotel bars).

But don’t let this deter you. As a city that pushes the limits of modernization, its nightlife is abuzz with the most impressive and one-of-a-kind venues and experience. It’s a global destination that knows how to party (in the right places).

From off-the-beaten-path bars to craft cocktails with sky-high views, here’s a roundup of Dubai’s spirited nightlife.

Drinking with a view

Extraordinary views and cocktails go hand-in-hand in Dubai. The towering skyscrapers, such as Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, H Hotel, and Four Points by Sheraton, are home to some of Dubai’s finest alfresco bar experiences.

Expert mixologists craft stylish cocktails and drinks, with drinks only rivaled by surrounding views. Each venue has a unique feature, from live music sets, and atmospheric lounge bars, but all offer mind-blowing views and creative cocktail menus.

Unusual and alternative bars

dubai alternative

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Dubai’s nightlife covers the full spectrum when it comes to nightlife experiences. For those looking beyond the old watering holes, Dubai’s alternative bars shake up the cocktail scene.

For a night of serious social mingling, head off to The Den, Claw, or Rodeo Drive. Each offers its guests a unique drinking experience, from vintage games like giant Jenga to a taste of the Wild West, complete with a revolving mechanical bull.

For beer enthusiasts

Having developed a taste for hops and malt, Dubai's beer culture is seeing a rise in popularity. In recent years, trendy craft beers have been finding homes throughout Dubai’s flourishing bar scene. Bars like Black Tap and Brunswick serve some of the coldest beers on tap.

Beer enthusiasts can enjoy the traditional brews, such as Guinness and Belgian exports, among several others while developing a thirst for both exotic and craft brews.

Brunch cocktails

Dubai brunch

Dubai’s thriving cocktail scene isn’t relegated to evenings. An iconic weekend pastime, Dubai’s brunch culture is a rite of passage. Brunch-goers experience unparalleled cuisine, only bested by unlimited flowing drinks. Brunch sees locals and expats alike flocking to restaurants like Saffron at Atlantis the Palm and Safina, in Saadiyat Beach Club for some serious social mingling.

Secret bars

While prohibition bars grew out of necessity in the U.S. during the 1920s and ‘30s, speakeasies today are fun, hidden drinking spots offering intriguing cocktail menus and “illegal” boozing.

Dubai’s ever-growing prohibition-style cocktail dens offer something unique to its guests; swathes of “secret.” You won’t stumble upon any of Dubai’s hidden watering holes. Bars like the Nippon Bottle Company and The Hobo Club are hidden through secret passages. But once you find your way, you’ll discover intimate settings, themed events, and prohibition-inspired cocktails.

From buzzing rooftop oases to off-the-beaten-path bars, Dubai's thriving drinks scene will have you raising your glass in style.

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