At first sight, Doha, the capital of Qatar, may not seem like the best place for nightlife: Alcohol is hard to buy and ridiculously expensive. There is a strong gender imbalance in bars, with much more guys than girls. Pre-marital sex and adultery are both punishable offenses, and you are not even allowed to speak or to hang out with Qatari women.

Despite all these restrictions, it is still possible to have fun, as long as you have enough money. Bottle service is often required in the best venues, so it is easy to spend USD500 in one evening.

If you are on a backpacker budget, just stay in your hostel and save your dollars for elsewhere. If you are on a business trip or an expat living in Qatar, read this guide and you will know everything there is to know about Doha nightlife.

Doha Nightlife Areas + Hotels
Most of the bars and nightclubs in Doha are located in West Bay/ Diplomatic Area, near the beachfront.

Ideally, you should stay in one of the luxury hotels that has a busy bar/club, such as the Hilton, the Intercontinental, the Sheraton, the W, La Cigale, the Mondrian, JW Marriott, or Crowne Plaza (see below for the full list). All of these are girl-friendly.

If your budget is limited, try the girl-friendly Ezdan Hotel (US$60 per night). It is centrally located near the nightlife and the shopping centers, and it has a great swimming pool.

Another interesting hotel for nightlife is the Radisson Blu, a property with several popular bars. However, you cannot bring any guests to your room there and the location is a bit far from the West Bay / Diplomatic Area. A guest-friendly property nearby is Holiday Villa (US65$ per night).

Buying Alcohol in Qatar
As a foreigner, you have only two ways to purchase alcohol in Qatar:
- Go to a bar or a club (see the list below)
- Get a license from the government. In that case, your employer must give you authorization. Your license only allows you to buy from the one liquor store in Doha which is about 30 minutes from the city center. It is a bit cheaper than the bars but still expensive (400 QR for a 24-pack of Heineken).

Note: You are not allowed to import the bottles that you bought at the airport's duty-free.

Meeting Girls in Qatar
Filipinas in Doha
Being a single guy in Qatar sucks.

The local girls are typically wearing an abaya (a long, black body cloak) and a shayla (a scarf hiding the hair and the skin around the neck). They are not allowed to speak or hang out with foreigners (except within a professional environment), so forget about dating a Qatari woman.

There are some foreign expat girls, but much fewer than men. In particular, you have many Filipinas working as maids or as staff in shops/restaurants/hotels. They can be friendly but many will be afraid to date foreigners. Or they simply won't have enough time off from work to meet with you on a regular basis.

The online dating scene is pretty poor. Maybe half the profiles are prostitutes, and very few girls are attractive. On Tinder, you'll quickly run out of profiles to swipe after just a few days. You have some Qatar Airways flight attendants that are cute but they are not easy to date.

In the end, the guys who don't want to be alone often end up paying prostitutes. They are quite common in the hotel bars of Doha (Chinese, Russians, Eastern Europeans, Africans, Moroccans, Southeast Asians) or online on websites like Seeking Arrangement (for sugar babies).

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

ID Compulsory
Whenever you visit a bar or a nightclub in Doha, you should always show your ID/passport. The minimum age to enter any bar/club is 21 years old.

Getting Around
Avoid local taxis as they are hard to get, expensive, and often dishonest. Uber works well and it is cheaper.

If you are contemplating a job in Qatar, make sure a driver is included in your package.

Price of Clubbing
It is very expensive to party in Doha, especially since a new "sin" tax has been applied to all alcoholic products (+100% tax).

In the top venues, you will often need to buy a membership of up to 200QR. Then, a beer will cost 50QR and a cocktail 80QR. If you want a table, be prepared to spend at least 1000-1500QR (that's the cost of just 1 bottle of liquor). Do check for happy hours, as they are often quite generous in Doha (up to 50% off).

There are some cheaper bars where prices are about 30-40% less than that (for instance in Radisson Blu Hotel, in Best Western Hotel, or in Horizon Manor Hotel.

Clubbing as a Woman
Most bars in Doha struggle to attract enough women. This is due to the fact that local women are not allowed to party, and also because most expats in Qatar are men (working in engineers, oil & gas, construction).

Because of that, there are often some very generous ladies nights in Doha. Just check the Facebook page of the bars mentioned below to find one. Typically, you will get 2 free drinks before midnight.

Also, since many bars require men to be accompanied by women, you can easily enter for free anywhere if you just wait long enough near the entrance. There are always some guys who need a +1.

Dress Code
You should always wear closed shoes, pants, and a shirt. Women cannot wear a hijab, and men cannot wear a traditional Qatari outfit.

When to Party
You should remember that the weekend in Qatar is on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, Saturday night is not the main party night. 

Clubs and bars are generally most busy from 11PM to 1AM. They are all closed by 2AM.

During Ramadan and religious holidays, Doha nightlife is completely dead. All bars are closed, and it is impossible to buy alcohol from anywhere.

Nationalities/Ethnicities
There are many "ethnic" nights in Doha nightclubs - Here a Bollywood party
If your skin is dark, you may find it more difficult to get in the top nightclubs in Doha. There is certainly a bit of racism against Africans and Southern Indians.

Overall, the nightlife in Doha is segmented. People from different ethnicities or social backgrounds don't really mix together: Arabs stay with Arabs, Indians with Indians, Westerners with Westerners, rich with rich, etc. For this reason, many bars have special "ethnic" nights that target a specific crowd: Arabs, Filipinos, Blacks, Latin, Indians, etc.

Weekly and monthly events:
A good way to know the schedule of upcoming guest DJs and special parties is to check the Facebook page of Night Out Qatar.

You can also read Doha By Nights, 24/7 Events, A1 and Doha Gossip.

Internet Censorship in Qatar
One more thing to know is that many websites are blocked in Qatar, especially some dating sites, escort websites, or adult websites. You should also consider that any emails or messages you send while in Qatar might be read by the authorities. To avoid this, most expats have installed a VPN on their phones and computers. It is cheap (less than US5$ per month), and it allows you to surf the web anonymously and to open any website. Personally, I use VyprVPN and I'm very happy with it. If you are confused about how it works, please read my article: Why Adult Websites are Blocked in Qatar? (and How to Unblock Them).

Best Bars and Nightclubs in Doha
As I mentioned before, almost all the bars and nightclubs in Doha are located in 5-star hotels. Here are the best ones:

Society Lounge in Hilton

Located on the rooftop of the Hilton, Society Lounge is an upscale venue, partly outdoor, with a large bar in the middle and sofas on the side. Since it can get too hot during summer, it is only open during the cooler months from November to April.

It is often packed, so the management has a very strict door policy: As a guy, you should dress well and bring a girl with you. You also must pay a 150QR membership fee. Expect to queue to get in. The crowd consists of 70% guys, mostly in their 40s, from all over the world (Arabs, Indians, Europeans, etc). Some very pretty Eastern European girls might be prostitutes.

Music is EDM/RnB (check the schedule on their Instagram). A few famous DJs and artists have performed there. You also have dance shows. Overall, it's a bit pretentious in my opinion.

There are more bars in Hilton like Shots (for watching sports) and Trader's Vic (open-air, Hawaiian-themed).

Oxygene Club and Sky View in La Cigale Hotel
Dance show in Oxygene
Oxygene nightclub
Girls in Oxygene Doha
La Cigale Hotel is home to the famous Oxygene Club. It is a large venue, similar to Society Lounge except it is indoor. The crowd is young and beautiful, with a decent number of girls (some of whom are pros). Strict door policy: Dress well and bring a lady with you. The best nights are on Tuesdays (Ladies night) and Fridays (RnB).

In the same hotel, you can also check Sky View, a high-end bar with a beautiful terrace (closed during summer) which is unfortunately very hard to get in. You will need to make a reservation, to pay 200 QR, and to be accompanied by a woman.
Terrace in Sky View
Indoor bar in Sky View
"Sexy" dancers in Sky View
Crystal Lounge and Wahm in W Hotel
Crystal Lounge in W
Partying in W Hotel Doha
Crystal Lounge is usually the first venue people will recommend if you ask them about Doha nightlife. It is a medium-sized club, recently renovated, with a long bar, sofas on the side, and unfortunately very little space for dancing. Entrance for hotel guests is free. For the others, it depends. A membership of 200 QR may be required, but they seem to have dropped it recently.

They have a different theme every night (Latin on Monday, RnB on Tuesday, Arab on Saturday, Slavic on Sunday, etc). Ladies night is on Tuesdays. Their resident DJs are quite famous in Doha, and they invite famous guest DJs once in a while. It is reasonably crowded, and you have about 30-40% of women (including many Qatar Airways flight attendants and probably some high-end hookers).

If you are a single guy, you will probably be required to be accompanied by a girl. For this reason, Crystal is more recommended for groups of friends planning to order bottle service.

Inside W Hotel, there is also a nice lounge bar/restaurant called Wahm. It is partly outdoor, with a nice patio next to the pool. The atmosphere is chic and you always have a good crowd. DJs mix from Wednesday to Friday, and you have a daily happy hour from 5PM to 8PM. The beer is 50 QR and cocktails 80QR.

This pub has a crowded Rn'B night every first Thursday of the month, with 3 free drinks for all girls. It's worth going if you happen to be in Doha on that day. The other days, it is an OK bar with a clean and comfortable setting.

They have live music, comfort food, and flat-screen TVs to watch sports. Entrance costs 100QR after 8PM (for men). There are some normal girls and some prostitutes.

During the winter months, there is a great open-air party every Friday, called The Backyard, in the garden of the Sheraton Hotel. Check this page for more information.
The Backyard Party in Sheraton Doha
The Den, Champions Bar, and Glo in City Center Mall
Glo Bar
City Center Mall has two luxury hotels: JW Marriott (previously under the brand Shangri-La) and Marriott. In this complex, you can find 3 bars:

Champions is a popular sports bars but it has nothing special. It is reasonably priced during happy hours from 5PM to 8PM (39QR for a pint of Heineken).

The Den is a classic venue, quite elegant, with live music from Wednesday to Friday. Happy hour from 5PM to 9PM (45QR per drinks). Good band, laid-back music (Latin/jazzy/pop). The whole bar is non-smoking.

Finally, you can also visit Glo Cocktail Bar. It is larger and more like a club, with various themed nights every day of the week (African, old school, Bollywood, hip-hop, etc). They give free drinks to ladies from 9PM to midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Qube and Orion in Radisson Blu
Live music in Qube
The Radisson Blu is infamous for having several bars with prostitutes. While Shehrazad Sports Bar and The Library are quiet, Orion and Qube are where the action is.

Orion Bar occupies the 9th floor of the older Radisson Blu building. It is a rather classy place, yet with reasonable prices. The music is not too loud so it's better to choose there if you are only looking for a casual drink.

Qube is more like a club. It is louder, with a live band playing pop/rock songs. It has a 90QR membership fee.

In both these venues, it is very likely that prostitutes will approach you (Chinese or Africans). They generally charge around 1000QR. Since Radisson Blu is not girl-friendly, they may take you to their apartments, or to a short-time hotel.

This sports bar is a cheaper version of Irish Harp (you can get a beer for 30QR and there is no entrance fee/membership fee). Decent pub fare. Live band every day. Live sports on screens. Quite friendly and recommended to meet other expats.

The Horizon Manor Hotel has two more nightlife venues: Fahrenheit and Wonderbuzz.

MankoLava and Paloma in Intercontinental
Manko Doha
The InterContinental Hotel Doha has several F&B venues with either DJs or live bands:
- Paloma is a Tex-Mex restaurant with live music most days of the week. Wednesday is ladies night (2 free drinks for girls until midnight) and Sunday is salsa night.
- Lava is a lounge next to Paloma. It feels a bit more intimate, with a central bar area and sofa seating in the corners. You can go to the terrace as well for a view of the swimming pool. Ladies night on Tuesday and Friday (2 free drinks). They have live DJs.
- Manko is their newest venue, and it is the sister restaurant of Manko Paris. It is a beautiful Peruvian lounge/restaurant, more upmarket, which targets a younger and trendier crowd. They have a French DJ and a chic Parisian interior design. Prices are reasonable (65 QR for a Pisco Sour Cocktail). Nice view.

Replacing Strata, this brand-new Cuban bar has live Latin music every night. Nice view of the city from the 55th floor of the hotel, and good food as well. For ladies, there is an all-you-can-drink promo (100QR) every Monday and Wednesday from 8PM to midnight. For guys, it is on Sundays and it costs 200QR. Daily happy hours from 5PM to 8PM.

Black Orchid and Rise in Mondrian Doha
Black Orchid
Girls in Black Orchid
Salsa night in Rise
The Mondrian Hotel has a small membership-only nightclub, Black Orchid, which is only interesting on Thursdays (Rn'B nights) or on Sundays (Ladies night). It is quite elitist and not worth it unless you want to open a bottle with a group of friends (1,000QR minimum spend to reserve a table). Strict dress code.

Rise is in the same hotel. It is a sky bar with a beautiful view of The Pearl in Doha. You can go there on Friday for their salsa night which is quite busy and fun. Full schedule on their Instagram. 45 QR for a beer.

Vogue Club in Crowne Plaza West Bay
African night in Vogue
Vogue Club has some "ethnic" nights that can be interesting for some. For instance, Monday is Arabic night, Tuesday is Latin night, Wednesday is African night and Thursday is Indian (Desi) night.

Illusion in Kempinski Marsa Malaz
This exclusive club has an impressive design, but it was empty when I visited. It seems Thursday (Rnb) and Friday (House) are the best nights to visit.

Midrange Hotels with Bars in Doha:
I didn't visit those bars but I heard they were OK. Many have a Filipino live band and a mixed crowd with mostly Indians/Filipinos. They can be less expensive than the ones listed above, and they do not require a membership fee:

Lux Lounge and Gravity in Gokulam Park Hotel
Club Manila (for the Filipino community) and Afro Wood Lounge Bar (for the African community with Reggae, Dancehall, Rumba) are both in the hotel Al Mansour Plaza.

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