22 October 2015

Three places to drink in Dubai

It's been a while, hasn't it? Always the same old excuses (busy at work, busy out of work) but this time, I've got a better one. A Dubai shaped one. Last Wednesday I jumped on a plane to visit a pal out in Dubai and get some much needed 38 degree sun. Arriving back in grey, drizzly London on Monday was quite the bump back to reality. So I'm throwing it back a week with three must-visit bars for when you find yourself in the glittering city.

Part of the huge Jumeirah Beach complex, 360 is thrust out on a promontory and reached on foot (or golf buggy if you're lazy) which gives you ample time to choose which of the superyachts in the marina you'd quite like to steal. It's perfect for sundowners with an unbeatable view of 7* wonderhotel the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai skyline, and the sun setting behind the behemoth Atlantis Hotel out on the Palm. There's a short list of ten or so cocktails that lean towards the fruity, far too easy to drink end of the spectrum - the mango/chilli one and the passionfruit one, in particular. With the bar in the middle, seating all the way round the outside and a DJ playing some serious funk, it's worth coming for the sunset and sticking around for the evening. Better in the cooler months though (October to February) when the temperature's in the high 30s - come summer, it reaches the mid 50s and noone can pull off a sweaty red face on a rooftop. Noone.

Cielo Sky Lounge
Another day, another rooftop bar. Situated on Dubai Creek, Cielo has a laidback Ibiza vibe that ramps up the later you stay. Chilled, low lighting and curvy furniture lend a pretty sexy feel to the place, whisking you away from its golf course setting. Forget your spikes, they do things differently out in Dubai. Again, cocktails are fresh and fruity and all finished with prosecco but they'll make you a classic if you ask. It opens at 5pm and offers another perfect panoramic view of the Dubai skyline, with the creek lit up by the sunset. We went late and danced well into the morning, thanks to the DJ; making it also a pretty solid late night option. The tapas restaurant downstairs is pretty good too.

The second highest bar in the world (Hong Kong claims first place) At.mosphere, in the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa, is one for the memories. Enter through the Armani Hotel (having counted all the supercars outside), whisk your way to the 122nd floor (at 20 metres a second) and step out to a view that takes your breath away. It's impossibly dramatic and a must do while you're there, even if you do feel terribly touristy. Book a table at the window for the best views, naturally, and settle down into some seriously good cocktails. It's not cheap here - minimum spend starts at 200 Dirhams each (about £40) - but you'll easily reach this with a couple of drinks. The Melting Pot (fresh mango, oolong tea, red chili, honey, Drambuie and Gentleman Jack) is smooth, fruity with a brilliant kick of heat, while the Sombrero with its jalapeno, yuzu, egg white, cacacha and tequila is sour and . I didn't get a chance to try their version of the espresso martini so if you go, promise me you'll take one for the team.

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