With 1,8M inhabitants, Abu Dhabi is the second-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after Dubai.

Even though the country is officially Islamic, it has a decent nightlife that caters mostly to expats, tourists, and businessmen. There are around 10 lively bars and nightclubs, almost all of which are located in 4- or 5-star hotels. You can find a crowded event most days of the week, except during Ramadan when everything is closed.

That said, not everything is perfect. The main problem is that very few women go clubbing in Abu Dhabi, so it is not rare to have a bar full of guys (minus the prostitutes). To avoid that, select your venues carefully and keep an eye out for ladies nights.

Another issue is that prices are generally quite high. A cocktail in a high-end bar will easily reach US$20, and a beer US$10. To order bottle service, be ready to spend at least US$500 for one bottle. It is a good idea to check for happy hours, usually from 5PM to 8PM.

If you want to know more about Abu Dhabi nightlife, just scroll down and read all my tips below: The best hotels near the nightlife, how to buy alcohol, how to meet girls, the best time to party, how to dress, what to bring with you, and a list of my favorite bars and clubs.

Abu Dhabi Nightlife Areas + Hotels
Abu Dhabi nightlife is spread over a rather large area. You may need more than 30 minutes to reach some clubs, so it's important to choose the right neighborhood, depending on your taste.

Yas Island
If you want to party in the hippest venues, you should stay on Yas Island. This is not very central, especially if you work in the city center, and it is more expensive than average, but you will be near Ferrari World, the F1 Circuit, the Yas Mall, and the Yas Marina. In the latter, you have several great restaurants and bars, particularly Iris and Mad.

Where to stay on Yas Island?
Yas Hotel is the most recommended place to stay as it has several bars and a club (US$110/night). Park Inn By Radisson is also good and it is well-priced (US$65/night).

Tourist Club Area (near Capital Park)
Al Khalidiya and Al Danah, also called the Tourist Club Area, is where you have the highest concentration of bars (many of which can be quite seedy and full of prostitutes). It is an older part of the city, that can be interesting for tourists, but it is not so modern nor beautiful. Choose this area if you want to experience the busy city life.

Where to stay in the Tourist Club Area?
Le Royal Méridien is reasonably priced (US$100 in low season), and it is ideally located. For nightlife lovers, it has three popular bars: Illusions (see review below), PJ O'Reilly's Irish Pub and the rooftop lounge Stratos.

A more affordable option is Al Maha Arjaan Hotel by Rotana (around US$70 per night).

In the midrange category, Novel Hotel (ex-Mercure) is interesting for some tourists. It has a bar called Cyclone (ex-Blitz) that has live music. It's quite popular with an Arab crowd. Many Chinese and Pinay prostitutes work there as well.

Al Bateen/Corniche Beach
This area, particularly between Corniche Beach (St Regis Hotel) and Al Bateen Marina, is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi. There are only a few upscale bars around, but it is only 15 minutes away from the Tourist Club Area. Stay there if you want to live in a beautiful and relaxing neighborhood.

Where to stay in Al Bateen?
Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi is a new 5-star hotel that opened in 2018. Gorgeous design, great views. Around US$200.

Are Abu Dhabi Hotels Girl-Friendly?
Almost all the 4 and 5-star hotels in Abu Dhabi are guest-friendly, especially the famous international chains. However, if you wish for a girl to visit your room, she will always be required to register at the reception and to show her ID.

Buying Alcohol in Abu Dhabi
If you are over 21 and a non-Muslim, you will have three ways to buy alcohol in Abu Dhabi:
- The easiest is to get some bottles at the duty-free in the airport, just after the luggage pick-up (up to 4 liters per person)
- You can also apply online for a special license that will allow you to purchase alcohol from liquor stores like Spinney's (several outlets all over the city).
- Finally, you can just buy drinks/bottles in a bar or a club, and drink on the spot

Meeting Girls in Abu Dhabi
While in Abu Dhabi, it is very unlikely that you will get to meet, talk, or hang out with a single Emirati girl (except in a professional environment). So you can just forget about this option.

The single girls you might meet are all foreigners, from various backgrounds.

There are many Arabic women from other countries (Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, etc) but in the best scenario, you'll just get to chat with them online and you'll never meet.

You have the Indonesian or Filipino maids, especially on social media or dating sites (especially on Tinder, Badoo, OkCupid), but they are not often free to do what they want, and they work almost all the time. If you are very picky, you should know they aren't really the model type. They are easy to meet in Filipino clubs like the one in the Emirates Plaza Hotel.

There are also quite many flight attendants, in particular from Etihad Airways (Tinder, Bumble, Happn). They come from all over the world, and you'll often see them in high-end nightclubs and bars. You cannot imagine how much attention they receive from guys, so don't expect to approach them easily unless you have good money and looks.

English teachers are also plentiful and they are more easy to date. Again, not always the most pretty.

In the end, apart from the famous dating apps, your best bet is to go to the most successful ladies' nights in Abu Dhabi, like MAD on Thursday/Friday, or Iris on Wednesday.

Prostitution in Abu Dhabi
While it is normally forbidden for a non-married couple to live together, prostitution is nonetheless very common. There seems to be a certain tolerance from the authorities, at least with expats.

There are hookers in almost every bar or club in the city, mostly Chinese, Africans, Eastern Europeans, and Southeast Asians. As a general rule, if a pretty girl is staring at you or smiling repeatedly, you can assume she is after your money.

On Tinder/Badoo, you will also see many girls advertising for massage or sex, but beware as they are almost always scams. Most likely, a pimp is managing the account and the pictures are fake. The sugar baby website Seeking.com is more trustworthy, but it can be expensive.

Finally, there are some secret AMPs (or Asian Massage Parlors) in hidden locations in the city. They are constantly moving from one apartment to another, but taxi drivers will often know where they are.

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

Bring your ID
You can enter a bar or a nightclub in Abu Dhabi only if you are over 21. Showing your ID is often compulsory (passport recommended).

Price of Clubbing
Partying in Abu Dhabi is rather expensive if you are a guy (girls can find free drinks almost any day of the week). The best clubs will often charge at least AED100 for entrance (with one or two drinks) on weekends. On top of that, you will pay around AED30 for a beer and AED50 for a cocktail.

Overall, for a typical night out, expect to spend AED300-500.

Dress Code
You should always dress up when you visit a bar or a club in Abu Dhabi: Wear pants, closed shoes and a collared shirt. It is very common for non-accompanied guys to be denied entry at a club (particularly if your skin is dark).

When to Party
Since the weekend in the Emirates is on Friday and Saturday, the busiest nights of the week are Thursday and Friday. On the other nights, bars can be quite empty unless there is a special event or a ladies' night. Most venues close at 3AM or 4AM.

The best time of the year to party in Abu Dhabi is during the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Most of the action happens on Yas Island, near the racetrack. You can expect some famous DJs or singers to come for the occasion.

On the contrary, the worst time is during Ramadan. Then, there is no nightlife in Abu Dhabi. Some clubs stay open but there won't be any music or alcohol.

Weekly and monthly events:
To check the latest clubbing events in Abu Dhabi, you can have a look at Abu Dhabi Nightlife Guide.

Internet Censorship in Abu Dhabi
Many websites are blocked in Abu Dhabi, including porn. 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 Abu Dhabi
This is a list of my top venues to party in Abu Dhabi.

Roberto's Club in Rosewood Hotel
This elite lounge/bar is attached to the fine dining Italian restaurant Roberto's. Chic design. Stylish, mature crowd (40-something), mostly Westerners, including some pretty flight attendants.

Music is eclectic: Deep house/electronic/techno on Wednesday (best night to visit) and Thursday, 70s/80s hits on Monday, Jazz on Tuesdays and Fridays. Strict dress code (no flat shoes for ladies). It is best to book a table in advance.

In the Rosewood Hotel, there is also an elegant speakeasy bar called Dragon's Tooth. Perfect for sipping cocktails in an intimate setting.

MAD (Yas Island)
Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, MAD is probably the most exclusive club in Abu Dhabi at the moment. It's a massive venue, surrounded by a 360° LCD screen, with a bar in the center and sofas on the side.

It is open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 3AM and, despite the 350 Dirham entrance fee per couple, it is usually full. Very strict door policy: Dress well and bring a girl with you (she should wear high heels). If you are just a bunch of guys, you should reserve a table ahead (minimum spend around AED3,000-US$815 on a normal day). Ladies night on Thursday and Friday.

The music is mostly hip-hop/R'N'B. Great sound system. About every 2 weeks, they will host a famous band or singer (so far this year: Akon, Busta Rhymes, Maitre Gims, among others) for their URBN nights (Thursday).

Iris (Yas Island)
This outdoor bar-club-lounge-restaurant is only opened during the colder season, between fall and winter. Upscale crowd, mostly Arabic and Western (seems that Blacks and Asians have issues getting in). As usual in this kind of venues, dress chic, and make a reservation if possible. Without a lady with you, you will have to buy a bottle to enter. Music is good, mostly house/EDM/chillout. Some famous international DJs have played there like Erick Morillo or Roger Sanchez.

They have a popular brunch on Friday for around 200 AED per person. The Ladies Night on Wednesday is interesting too (girls get 3 free drinks).

Stars and Bars in Yas Marina
American-style sports bars, originally from Monaco. Popular with Western expats. The outdoor area has a nice view of the Viceroy Hotel. Recommended for watching sports in Abu Dhabi.

Generous ladies night on Wednesday (4 free drinks). Popular Latin night on Thursdays (Reggaeton).

In Yas Marina, there are more nightlife venues that you can visit:
Casa de Cuba (live Cuban music, Latin cocktails)
Mr. Miyagi (Asian food, daily cabaret shows, karaoke at 8PM)
- Iris (reviewed above)

Porter's in Grand Millenium Hotel
Classic English pub with reasonable prices (27AED for half a pint of beer, 45AED for a cocktail). Karaoke on Sundays, Ladies night (3 free drinks) on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Brunch on Fridays. Daily live band.

There are two similar pubs in Abu Dhabi: Victor's in Hilton Grand Capital and Cooper's in Park Rotana Hotel. Both are perfect for meeting other expats living in the city. In particular, you can check the karaoke ladies night in Victor's on Wednesday (5 free drinks).

Al Diar Capital Hotel is home to a few famous bars with affordable prices: On the first floor, Mardi Gras (free entrance, live band),  and on the second floor, Pomodoro (for Arabs) and Rock Bottom (club atmosphere, live band at 9PM, AED110 entrance with 2 drinks). They can be crowded at the end of the week. Many prostitutes from various nationalities.

Update 2019: A new bar called Groovz has opened its doors in the hotel

Histeria in Hilton Capital Grand
Histeria is an elite, medium-sized lounge with a modern design. It's mostly geared towards Arab clients, with Arabic music nights several times a week. I talked to a group of Moroccan girls there but they turned out to be high-end escorts. Free bar for ladies from 11PM to 2AM on Monday.

Onyx in Novotel Al Bustan
This brand new lounge has just opened in July 2019. They have a Lebanese night every Monday, and 2 very generous ladies nights on Thursday and Saturday (everything free for girls). It's a bit far from the Tourist Club Area. Sexy girls will dance on podiums several times during the night.

The Exchange and New Bar Arkadia in Le Méridien
Le Méridien has two bars which are somewhat similar. The Exchange is more upmarket, with an English live band, and targets Arabs/Western expats. New Bar Arkadia is more focused on Indians, Pakistanis, Southeast Asians. It has a Filipino live band.

Both have many working girls.

Good to know: Ladies night in Arkadia every Wednesday (2 free drinks from 11AM to 1AM).

Illusion in Le Royal Méridien Hotel
This small nightclub is one of the most famous prostitution spots in Abu Dhabi. 200AED entrance charge with 1 free drink for non-hotel guests (free on weekdays). Many working girls from various nationalities, particularly from Eastern-European or Russian-speaking countries.

Le Royal Méridien Hotel (which is girl-friendly) also has two other bars: PJ O'Reilly (Irish Pub) and Stratos (panoramic revolving bar).

49'ers and Trap Bar in Al Diar Dana Hotel
On the penthouse level of this hotel, 49ers is another bar with live music (Filipino band) and plenty of prostitution (with girls that are mostly from Asia, in particular Chinese). Entrance fee is 80AED (110 AED on weekends). Better to visit after 11PM. Before that, the place is actually a decent steak restaurant.

In the same building, there is a smaller bar, Trap, with no entry fee.

Emirates Plaza Hotel
This unique 2-star hotel in the Tourist Club area has several "ethnic" nightclubs inside its walls: Manila Bay Club for Filipinos (probably the best venue there) + several other ones for Iranians, Arabs, Pakistanis, Africans, Indians, etc. They are rather cheap places, targeting expats with lower salaries. Crowded on weekends.

Viewz in Cristal Hotel
Sports bar, popular with Western expats. Live music and DJ every day. Owned by a British guy. Average food. Closes at 4AM.

2 comments to '' Abu Dhabi Nightlife: Best Bars and Clubs "

  1. There's one more famous place in Abu Dhabi that's not mentioned here - which is unjust. The bar is called "Trap" and located in Al Diar Dana hotel in Tourist club area. The entrance fee is 70 aed and 2 drinks included. It's a pretty small place packed with working girls, mostly Africans and some Russians. Incredibly cute Filipinas sing there :-) decent place

  2. Where to find Moroccan and other midle east ladies in Abu Dhabi