In a city like Dubai, nightlife is sometimes difficult to discover: not having a historical centre like our European cities, or in any case an entertainment area where bars, pubs and discos are concentrated, it can seem as if there is nothing to do after sunset, especially if one considers the fact that it is still an Arab city where the predominant religion is Islam, which is notoriously much milder when it comes to entertainment and nightlife, suffice it to say that Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol.
Dubai has an excellent nightlife with a wide choice of bars and nightclubs to enjoy hours of fun, but bars serving alcohol are located inside hotels, although there are a few exceptions.
Many other emirates in the UAE, such as Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, do not allow the consumption of alcohol, while in Dubai non-Muslims are allowed to drink freely. The minimum age to consume alcohol is 21 and all bars and nightclubs have a very strict procedure to check the age of customers: tourists are required to have their passport with them to show their date of birth at the entrance, while residents are asked for their identity card or driving licence.
Dubai is a zero-tolerance city for driving after consuming alcohol; the local police are very vigilant and you should never drive after even one beer: being stopped means going straight to jail, so those who want to drink will absolutely have to get a taxi back.
Some clubs and discos do not allow people under 25 years of age; the city’s most exclusive clubs have a strict dress code, but with at least one girl for company it should not be a problem to get in.
Most nightclubs in Dubai do not allow men in jeans, flip-flops, shorts or other casual clothes. Women, on the other hand, can wear almost anything: in Jumeirah and the larger hotels, miniskirts and short dresses are the norm.
Bouncers can at their complete discretion decide whether or not to let a person in based on clothing.
The fact that the city’s discos and nightclubs are largely confined within the large hotels, as they are often the only establishments licensed to sell alcohol, means that the patrons of these places are largely westerners. Thursday and Friday nights are the highlights in Dubai as Thursday is the last day of the working week, while Friday and Saturday represent the weekend for most people.
Dubai nevertheless remains a city by the sea. For a unique night out, the ideal destination is Nasimi Beach, an artificial beach built 7 kilometres off the coast. Every weekend it transforms into a huge high-end discotheque.
For those who want to have a good time and stay up late at night without having to get dressed up, the Barasti Beach Club, on Mina Seyahi beach, is ideal. Established in the early 2000s, this interesting place has something for everyone, from a resident band playing old classics to a dance floor where the latest hits are blasted through the speakers.
The food and cocktails are great and being able to dance barefoot on the beach really adds an extra touch.
If discos are not your thing, there are several other forms of evening entertainment in Dubai. There are plenty of restaurants in the city, some of the best in the world, especially in Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina. Some restaurants are located on the top floor of skyscrapers or hotels, and eating with a magnificent view of Dubai from above is a truly unforgettable experience.
After dinner, a movie at one of Dubai’s many cinemas might be the ideal choice: multiplexes, 3D movies, IMAX and open-air cinemas, there is bound to be something to do. The alternative is to head to one of the many top-notch bars located inside Dubai’s hotels, while for a glimpse of real everyday life, the best choice is to head to Deira, to see how the inhabitants of the city’s diverse communities spend their evenings.
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