Dubai nightlife is the best I've tried so far in the Persian/Arab Gulf region.

Compared to that of Doha, Abu Dhabi, or Muscat, it is less conservative and far more foreigner-friendly.

Even though drinking alcohol is restricted, you can find nearly a hundred bars and nightclubs, some of which are busy even on weekdays.

There is a huge diversity of venues: Jazz lounges, rooftop bars, expat pubs, open-air nightclubs, beach cafés, speakeasies, etc. There is even a brand-new warehouse with Berlin-style techno parties once a month.

However, not everything is perfect. The major problem with Dubai nightlife is that to enter most nightclubs, single men are required to book a table. Often, this means you will need to spend over US$500 just for one place.

I will talk more about this in the following nightlife review. If you still have questions after reading it, please leave me a comment at the end of the article!

Hotels Near Dubai Nightlife
You can click on this map of Dubai nightlife to visualize where all the most important nightclubs, bars, and beach clubs are located.
As you can see, there are 3 best party areas:

1) Between Downtown Dubai and the World Trade Center:
This area, in the heart of the business district, has many expensive bars that are popular with expats and executives. Most can be found in the 5-star hotels on Sheikh Zayed Road (Fairmont, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza or Conrad). This is also an interesting location to reach Dubai's best nightclubs like Boa, Base, White, and Soho Garden.

The recommended hotels there are:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Fairmont (rated 8.5/10, US$140 per night) - It has 4 bars and clubs, including Cavalli Club, Bagatelle and Cin Cin.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Carlton Downtown (rated 8.4/10, US$84 per night) - Best value option in this location.

2) Around the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Resort (JBR):
This is a more touristy part of town with many popular beach clubs (like Zero Gravity or Barasti). There are several bars as well which tends to be a bit less sophisticated and exclusive than the ones on Sheikh Zayed Road. This is the best location for those who are visiting Dubai for the holidays.

The recommended hotels there are:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Sofitel Jumeirah Beach (rated 8.7/10, US$232 per night) - Bordering The Walk, near many bars and the beach.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Rose Park Al Barsha (rated 8.9/10, US$73 per night) - Best value option in this location

3) In Deira and Bur Dubai:
This is the older part of Dubai, starting at the north of Sheikh Rashid Road. There are dozens of bars there, most of which have live music, affordable prices, and.... prostitutes. Each venue targets a different crowd: Filipinos, Indians, Blacks, Westerners, etc. Hotels in this area are generally cheaper than elsewhere.

The recommended hotels there are:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Al Bandar Rotana (rated 9/10, US$135 per night) - No bars there but it is deemed girl-friendly.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Flora Grand Hotel (rated 8.3/10, US$58 per night) - Best value option in this location

Dubai Nightlife Tips
Here are a few things you should know to prepare your nights out in Dubai

Drinking Alcohol
You can drink alcohol in licensed venues (bars and clubs) only if you are over 21. Bouncers will check your ID, so bring your passport with you. If you get tipsy, be discreet as public drunkenness is officially illegal.

If you want to purchase alcohol in a shop (or at the duty-free), you will need a special license. As a visitor, it is quite easy to get one, just go to any of the MMI shops with your passport, and you'll get one for 30 days.

Price of Clubbing
It can be very expensive to party in Dubai, especially if you are a single guy. Indeed, most high-end clubs will force men to book a table, with a minimum spend between AED1,500 (US$410) and AED3000 (US$820).

Generally speaking, in the best nightlife venues, you can expect to pay AED45-55 for a beer (or US$12-15), AED60-80 for a cocktail (or US$16-22) and AED1200 for a cheap bottle of liquor (or US$325).

If you go partying in Deira or Bur Dubai, the prices will often be lower (about 30% less).

Another good way to save money is to check for happy hours. Almost every bar has some, usually between 4 PM and 8 PM. Typically, you will get a buy 1 get 1 promo on selected drinks.

Dress Code
All the upscale bars and clubs will require you to dress well: No shorts, no sandals, no caps, etc. If you are a woman, it is better to wear high-heels and a skirt.

Racism
There is a lot of racism in Dubai, much like in the UAE in general. You will be judged based on your ethnicity or skin color.

It is very common to be denied entry at a club in Dubai, especially if you are African, Indian, or Southeast Asian.

When to Party
Dubai's nightlife is at its best during the cooler months, basically from November to May. In fact, during summer (July to August), most of the open-air venues are closed because the heat and humidity are just unbearable (for instance, Soho Garden, White, or 40 Kong). Avoid Dubai during that time if you can.

Another thing to keep in mind is that weekends in Dubai are on Fridays and Saturdays. This means that Thursday nights are the best to go out, and Saturday nights are the worse.

Most clubs will close at 3 AM, but a few stay open until 4 AM (like Toy Room or Base).

Finally, if you visit Dubai during Ramadan, don't worry too much. Most bars and clubs are open, but only after sunset. They can be less crowded, but you can still have fun.

Ladies' Nights
Ladies' nights in Dubai are a big deal. Since girls are rare, the best clubs and bars compete fiercely to attract them. If you are a woman, you will probably never have to pay for any drinks while in the city.

Currently, most of the best ladies' nights happen on Tuesday (at the Pier7, at Gravity Zero). You can check Ladies Night Dubai for an updated list.

Weekly and monthly events:
For a general list of events, you can follow the Facebook pages DubaiNight and Luvevents (trendy parties).

For house/techno parties, check It's Deep Like and Plus Minus.

Internet Censorship in Dubai
Porn websites, as well as any websites that are deemed anti-religious, anti-Islam, or critical of the UAE,  will be blocked by the government. Also, you cannot use WA, Skype or Messenger to make calls (only messaging is allowed).

As a result of this censorship, it is common for expats and visitors to use a VPN. If you don't know what it is, you can read this article: Why Porn Websites are Blocked in Dubai (and How to Unblock Them)?

Personally, I've been using VyprVPN for a couple of years now and it works great (even in China).

Best Nightclubs and Bars in Dubai

Soho Garden (in Meydan Hotel)
Main space in Soho Garden
Toy Room Nightclub
Code Room
Soho Beach
This complex about 15 minutes from the city center is the top nightlife destination in Dubai at the moment. This is where you have the best clubs, the best events, and the best crowd.

The main space, Soho Garden, consists of several bars and restaurants (Negroni, Tiki, Glasshouse, Tokyo Vibes, and Bellini). It has an open-air garden in the center which is only opened during the cooler months (September to June). They have famous DJs regularly, for instance, in 2019: Agoria, Joris Voorn, Tiga, Mark Knight, etc. If you manage to pass the strict door policy, expect to spend money (as a single man, it may be difficult to enter without booking a sofa). Drinks cost at least US15-20$ and the minimum spending for a table is US700$ during special events.

On the same location, there are also some separate nightclubs and pool lounges:

Toy Room, the Dubai branch of Toy Room London, is a bottle club focusing on hip-hop/R'n'B. It is an elitist venue with a flashy interior design: Walls are painted with colorful murals and decorated with large neon signs. It is medium-sized and rather intimate, with the DJ mixing in the middle. They've hosted a fair number of famous artists like Ne-Yo, Busta Rhymes, and Coolio. It closes at 4AM.

Code is a techno club with a minimalist design and an underground atmosphere (even though it is expensive and upmarket). Last summer, they had DJs like Gui Boratto, Oxia and Pete Tong.

Soho Beach and Drai are two pool clubs located nearby. They are quite similar but they don't have the same opening days. Check their schedule on Facebook before heading there.

White (in Meydan Hotel)
Voted #16 best club in the world by DJ Mag in 2019, this is the most famous nightclub in Dubai, and maybe even in the Middle East.

It is a huge venue on the rooftop of the Meydan Racecourse Grandstand, opened starting mid-September until May. They have various kind of events, from EDM parties to live hip-hop, each time with a different décor. It is a bit pretentious and overrated in my opinion, but still worth to check. Expect a mixed crowd of expats and tourists.

Entry is free for girls and couples. For single guys, you need to spend at least AED2,000 (US$550) at a table. The best time to go is on Thursday or Saturday (ladies night until 1 AM).

Pier 7
This hotspot of Dubai nightlife is a 7-floor building with 7 different bars and restaurants. It is slightly cheaper than elsewhere, and very crowded, so it is usually a good place to start partying. My favorite place there is Atelier M, which is on the rooftop, but it's easy to just walk around and try different bars. The ladies night on Tuesday is very popular since girls can get up to 5 free drinks. Good for meeting tourists and young expats. The dress code is more relaxed than elsewhere.

Boa Nightclub and Lounge in V Hotel
Elite nightclub, it features an elevated stage with various performances during the evening (dancers, singers, etc).  If you come alone, you can meet people quite easily at the bar. Music is mostly hip-hop and R'n'B. As always with such venue, the dress code is strict (especially on weekends).

Entrance for couples and girls is free, but there is a minimum spend of AED500 for guys (that's actually only 4 or 5 drinks).

Base
Located 5 minutes from Downtown in the Dubai Design District, this open-air nightclub manages to attract world-renowned artists almost every two weeks. Last year, they had Akon, Afrojack, Booba, A$AP Rocky, Tyga, or Bob Sinclar to name a few. The stage will be decorated with a different theme each time there is a special event. You will often have artistic performances as well (dancers, fire breathers, light shows, etc).

On normal days, it is opened on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until 4AM. As in White, the entrance is free for couples and women, but single guys may be required to book a table (AED2,000). Ladies night is on Thursday.

Vii in Conrad Hotel
Vii is a restaurant/bar/lounge/nightclub which is popular at the moment. It is rather classy and pleasant, especially the "secret" garden area. The club itself can get pretty packed so book a table if you can (AED3,000 minimum spend). Different events and shows every night of the week: Afro beats, techno, live music, retro hits, EDM, etc. Open every day except Sunday until 3 AM.

Industrial Avenue - in Westin Mina Seyahi
Though located in the 5-star hotel The Westin, it has an underground vibe, inspired by the type of venues you would normally find in London, Berlin or Paris. There is a real dancefloor, and the management doesn't seem so focused on selling tables.

Opened Wednesday to Friday until 3 AM. Hip hop nights on Thursdays, house/techno nights on Fridays.

The dress code is more relaxed, and you can get in for just AED100 with 2 drinks (free for ladies).

Cavalli Club in Fairmont Hotel
High-end nightclub and restaurant with daily live entertainment (dancers, acrobats, singers, DJs, etc). Rich crowd of men, with plenty of unattached ladies willing to meet them. Some might call it a hooker bar with a fancy interior design. Ladies night is on Tuesday. Mainstream and Top 40 music.

If you want a table, the minimum spend is AED2,000. To sit at the bar, you'll need to spend at least AED300 (some reports say AED500).

The Fairmont Hotel has more nightlife venues of interest such as Cin Cin, the Trophy Room and Bagatelle. It is one of the best hotels in Dubai for nightlife lovers.

Armani/Privé in Armani Hotel
This small luxury club inside the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa has a good ladies' night on Saturdays with Latin/Reggaeton music. Girls get free drinks until 1 AM. Guys can enter for free, and then each drink will cost between US$15-US$20.

The dancefloor is large enough to dance, and there is plenty of space near the bar for those who don't want to book a table. Some pretty girls.

On the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa, there is also a panoramic bar/restaurant called At.mosphere. It is supposedly the highest in the world.

Billionaire Mansion (in Taj Hotel)
Part of the Billionaire Life brand (created by the jet-setter Flavio Briatore), this complex features 2 restaurants (a Japanese and an Italian), a terrace (Diamond Kalian), a karaoke, and a nightclub. As the name suggests, it is very pricey and exclusive. Most guests come to have dinner while watching various performances (mostly dancers). Most male customers are rich expats and locals. The girls all seem to be Eastern European sugar babies in their 20s. Closes at 4AM.

They have two ladies' night. The best one is called Monroe Nights, every Tuesday, with free-flow drinks all night long. Women can also have a 3-course dinner for AED250. There is another one on Sunday, called The List, with urban music (rap, R'n'B, hip-hop).

Mantis in Emirates Financial Center
This new club in DIFC (Dubai International Finance Center) is opened from Wednesday to Friday until 4 AM. Girls can drink and eat sushis for free every day until 1 AM. No dancefloor so it's better to book a table (starting AED3,000). There are several shows to watch, from live music to sexy dancers.

Other Popular Bars in Dubai

European expat bars:
Lock Stock and Barrel - Best on Tuesday for their busy ladies' night. 2 locations in Dubai (Jumeirah Beach Resort and Grand Millenium Hotel)
Double Decker - British pub with outdoor garden
Mc Gettigan's - Irish pub, part of an international chain, with 5 different locations in Dubai
Fibber Magee's - Discreet Irish pub in the financial district with quiz nights and live music
The Stables - British pub, near Fibber Magee's. Good daily bands. I recommend the reggaeton night on Fridays. Three ladies night per week = a decent number of girls, including some flight attendants. AED30 for a pint of beer during happy hours.
The Irish Village - 3 branches in Dubai for this Irish pub, full of regulars.

Outdoor lounges and rooftops:
40 Kong
Penthouse - In Five Palm Jumeirah, if offers one of the best views of the city. Chic and elitist. Best to go on Thursdays only.
Iris - Managed by the same group as White, this open-air bar is on the 27th floor of The Oberoi hotel. Cool crowd, good cocktails and live music on Tuesday and Sunday.
40 Kong - Hip rooftop on the 40th floor of the H Hotel. One of the top bars among younger expats in Dubai.

Live music:
MusicHall - Weekend only. 10 performances of various genres (rock, jazz, arabic, etc). Minimum spend AED3,000.

House and techno clubs:
The Grid - Berlin-style warehouse with monthly events
The Hatch - Great underground club in the engine room of the ship Queen Elizabeth 2.

Hip Bars:
Skorpeus - New bar, gorgeous design, very intimate. They have deep house nights on Friday which are pretty cool. On that day, it becomes an after-hour club by staying open until 5-6 AM. Girls get 3 drinks for AED100, guys get 4 drinks for AED150.
Indie DIFC - Various events every day of the week. Great brunch. Salsa night on Monday.
Seven Sisters - Chic bar with an open-air terrace. 5 free drinks for their Tuesday's ladies night.

Ethnic Bar and Clubs:
Czar is a bar targeting the Russian community in Dubai
These nightlife venues target specific communities.

→ Filipinos: BoracayClub 7 or Bodega Garage (all great to try if you want to meet Filipinas and spend less money on drinks).
→ Indians: PulseInka. Check also the events organized by AKS NightsDejaVu, or Desi Night in UAE
→ Lebanese: 961LB
→ Russians: Czar and Chameleon Club.
→ Arabs (Khaliji music): SolitaireOmni and Drama
→ Africans: I'm not sure they have their own club, but there are many in Club Boudoir.

Pool and Beach Clubs:
Zero Gravity Beach Club
The beach clubs in Dubai are a nightlife destination of their own. You can go there in the afternoon for a brunch (with free-flow drinks), then stay until late for partying. Beware as most of them are closed during summer months. Here are the best ones:

Zero Gravity - Huge and crowded beach club. I recommend their brunch on Thursday and Friday with 4 hours of free-flow alcohol and food.
Barasti Beach - Legendary beach club among the party crowd. A bit touristy and tacky, but perfect for those who want to mingle and flirt. Free entrance.

Meeting Girls in Dubai
Overall, Dubai is not a good destination to meet a girl, especially at night.

As elsewhere in the Middle-east, it is almost impossible to date a local girl. They rarely go out, and if they do, they don't mingle with foreigners (too conservative, too rich, and too protected). It is not very important anyway since they only represent a fraction of the women staying in Dubai (over 90% of the population is foreign).

There are women from every single nationality on earth in Dubai, but you could split them into just a few groups:

Staff workers, mostly from Southeast Asia, India, and Africa (waitresses, shopkeepers, maids, receptionists, etc). They are the easiest to meet, either online on Tinder or in bar/clubs during ladies' nights.

Mid-to-upper level expatriates: They aren't as numerous as men, but there are still plenty of them, from various nationalities. They are usually quite westernized, even if they are from Asia or the Middle East. Many are English teachers. The single ones are usually looking for expats, so they can be hard to date if you are a tourist.

Flight attendants working for Emirates. There are thousands of them, usually young, pretty, and single. They are in high demand, so you'll be able to date them only if you are good-looking,  confident, and reasonably wealthy. It will really help if you are living in Dubai as well.

Short-term visitors: Dubai welcomes a fair number of tourists, especially from the nearby countries that are more conservative. You'll find them in places such as Pier 7 or Barasti Beach Club.

Hookers and "professional girlfriends": There is an incredible number of prostitutes in Dubai, from low-end to high-class. They can be found everywhere: In clubs, in the streets, or online (for instance on the sugar baby website Seeking Arrangement).

Prostitution in Dubai
It's hard to talk about Dubai nightlife without mentioning its huge prostitution scene. You will see hookers or escorts everywhere, from the cheap ethnic bars in Deira to the most exclusive clubs in the 5-star hotels.

In the latter, prostitution is rather discreet. You will see some young women, from every part of the world (but mostly from Eastern Europe and Russia), sitting by themselves at a bar and enjoying drinks. If you smile at them, they will approach you and reveal who they are. The most beautiful ones may ask over AED3,000 for one night.

In Deira, things are more straight-forward. In the hotel bars of that area, 100% of girls are prostitutes, and they will go straight to your table. Typically, they will ask between AED700 and AED2,000.

Here are some of those famous clubs (most of them have a DJ/live band and a dancefloor).

Premier Bar in Hyatt Regency - Famous spot with over a hundred girls from every ethnicity. Pricier than elsewhere. AED200 for entrance after midnight.
Red Square in Moscow Hotel - Mostly Eastern European girls - Weekend entrance fee is AED150.
Ratsky in Fortune Karama Hotel - Bar full of Filipinas - Affordable
Jules in Le Méridien Centre: Lots of Vietnamese and Chinese girls. Entry fee is AED65 on a weekday.

10 comments to '' Dubai Nightlife: Best Bars and Nightclubs (2019) "

ADD COMMENT
  1. Funny no mention of the old favourites which surely are still open and busy? Sho Cho, Zinc, Rock Bottom etc, the less pretentious places which even though 20 years old are still full busy and popular with crew and decent expats and not many tourists

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, thank you for mentioning these venues. To be honest I had not heard of them. Sho Cho and Rock Bottom are still open, but Zinc seems to be closed. I added them to the map.

      Delete
  2. As for working girls best pkace is Marines club at Seaview hotel and Ratsky. Both with SEA girls and reasonable prices, but you have to negotiate. Also York hotel club, but its a real dump. All other pkaces are too compkicated and waaaay too expensive (with no justification). Especially for anyone with some/lot of experience fron SEAsua region. All in all, Dubai not so bad, and a week can be spent there, but thats it. Maybe perfect for rich Arabs, Russians or Indians. Not for us farangs

    ReplyDelete
  3. And you have to correct some of the headlines (still Doha or Qatar mentioned). Impression is that you visited some of the best and most expensive places, which are ment for Russian oligarchs or arabian cheiks

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is the best in all Arab world. Doesnot mean that its good, though. Almost any Asian metropolis is better (maybe not Ulan Bator). Is dynamic and diverse, but nightlife is a waste of time. Except for wealthy local emirs or their foreign business partners

    ReplyDelete
  5. The mentioned Jules bar is really good. Many working girls, all races and types. Another good thing is that in the complex there are many other venues, like restaurant, cafes and such. But only Jules and only inside is what you are looking for really. Prices are another matter and have to be negotiated in a tough manner. Preferably later in the night, since girls specify exorbitant prices early in the evening. That is to ignore and to approach them later. However, Seaview is much better, more relaxed and more Asian girls. Ratsky is OK but in a very Indian neighbourhood, so not to everybodys taste

    ReplyDelete
  6. If someone is sent there for work, its fine. Places to go out, girls, food, malls etc. To visit also fine, maybe long weekend. But to go and live there if there are alternatives in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Phills.... would be insane

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great review as usual! I work as an expat in Saudi Arabia and I visit Dubai every month or so for fun and girls.

    As you said, the big problem in Dubai for a single guy is that you cannot enter most clubs. I found a way around this by always taking a girl with me on my weekends. It's quite easy to find a pretty Filipina or a Ukrainian sugar baby who is willing to accompany you to most places as long as you pay for drinks/hotels/dinners.... Have you tried SeekingArrangement.com? . It's really straight forward and you have lots and lots of girls there... It's expensive but anyone with an expat salary can easily afford it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How much money should I give to a sugar baby for a weekend in Dubai?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on different factors (your age, your look, your personality, and how desirable your sugar baby is).

      I would say the following rule applies:

      US1,000$ for a weekend -> 80% of sugar babies will accept
      US500$ for a weekend -> 50% will accept
      US300$ for a weekend -> 20% will accept

      Of course, you should also pay all expenses like flight ticket, hotel, restaurants, etc. The more handsome you are, the cheaper you can get away with.

      Some sugar babies will not ask for money if you just pay for everything.

      Delete