The best places to go if you want a night out in Dubai with your friends on a bit of a budget
I have been lucky enough to be hired as a food writer whilst living in Dubai, which means that I have been to more than my fair share of bars and restaurants around the city.
There have been a number that stand out in my mind as being perfect for those of us on a budget. So here are my top ten budget friendly bars.
Jekyll & Hyde in the DIFC
A brand new DIFC haunt, Jekyll & Hyde is the perfect British pub getaway. You can kick back and relax with your favourite plate of English grub and watch a bit of football on the big screen TV.
They also have numerous drink deals, including an all day happy hour with 2 4 1 drinks on offer. Every Tuesday they have their Totties on the Town ladies night, starting at 5pm and offering unlimited drinks! A welcome addition to the DIFC bar scene.
Bidi Bondi on the Palm
I will always have a bit of a soft spot for Bidi Bondi; it has such a chilled out and welcoming atmosphere! Grab a table outdoors and spend the afternoon in the sun eating, drinking and chatting with friends. It is a lovely place to get away from the busy city.
Their drinks deals are also pretty fantastic, every Friday and Saturday for 140AED you can get 4 drinks and a meal. The food is tasty, especially the Thai Green curry! They have a happy hour everyday from 6-9pm where drinks are priced at 30AED.
Toro Toro at the Marina
Toro Toro on a Monday evening is the perfect place to go for a ladies night. They offer 3 free drinks, and the options are tasty, I would recommend their take on a dark & stormy! The atmosphere is vibrant, with lively salsa music and dance performances. It is difficult to leave once you get in the dancing mood!
They also offer a few small samples to try from their menu, and they are a delicious mid drink snacks. This is a must go restaurant for you and your girlfriends for a free drink during the week.
Caramel in the DIFC
One of the more famous restaurants in the DIFC Caramel is always top when it comes to best restaurant lists. However, it is also a little on the pricey side. I heartily recommend heading over for their happy hour from 4-9pm, Sunday to Thursday. The drinks are priced at only 19AED each and you can get 2 4 1 deals on main courses in the Entertainer app.
This is the perfect way to enjoy a fabulous meal in a stunning setting at a reasonable price. You should also think about ordering a plate of the dynamite shrimp, absolutely delicious!
Nola in JLT
This is one of my favourite bars in Dubai, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and their after work drinks are always bustling. They have a great happy hour on every evening, with great value drinks. Make sure you get there early for a place at the bar. Later in the evening the band starts up and the bar becomes more lively and similar to a New Orleans hole in the wall.
Their ladies night should not to be missed, while the drinks may be a little uninspired the 50% discount on the menu is something to take advantage of; Nola does have an excellent menu, especially the meatballs!
Oeno at the Westin
Oeno tends to be an overlooked bar, tucked away in the Westin Hotel, it has a fantastic Tuesday ladies night, with free flowing wine. The reason this bar is a must try is its attention to detail. Rather then giving you cheap sweet headache inducing wine, they have spent time carefully curating a wine selection that actually tastes good. Oeno (as the name suggests) cares what it serves you for free with the intention that you will come back in the future and spend money.
I would also recommend heading over for their cheese and wine evening on a Wednesday, with unlimited wine, cheese and cold cuts for 195AED per person. A very relaxing and fine way to start the week.
Lock, Stock & Barrel at the Grand Millennium
This is one of my favourite bars in Dubai, a well designed bar, with seriously high ceilings and a wall of boom boxes. The staff are incredibly friendly and are always happy to help and give you a recommendation. The food is pretty decent, especially the posh pizzas, and the band is awesome, one of the few proper rock bands in Dubai the 13Daze boys have made a name for themselves.
I regularly head over for Lock, Stock and Barrel’s daily happy hour, with 2 4 1 drinks from 5 until 8pm.
Trader Vic’s at The Madinat
The Madinat is a stunning getaway right in the centre of the city. You can completely forget about the stress of the day and enjoy a more Arabic experience, watching the Abras lazily making their way through the canals and the sights of the building and Burj Al Arab. There are a number of restaurants, however, I recommend trying Trader Vic’s happy hour. You can buy glasses of wine a beer for half price, plus they have a 50% discount on the menu.
If you are feeling brave you should also look at their cocktail menu, I rather like the Fog Cutter…although one should just about do you for the whole evening!
Maine oyster bar & Grill on JBR
This bar is constantly busy and has a reputation of providing good food and drink at reasonable prices. Perched on the end of JBR it is perfect if you are looking for a place to land after a lovely stroll along the beach. They have a number of deals on throughout the week, including their famous Wednesday ladies night with unlimited wine! Maine Oyster Bar & Grill is a lovely place to go whether with friends or on a romantic date, you should also take advantage of their ‘Shuck Fest’ from Sunday until Thursday where it only costs 10AED per shuck! Who can say no to freshly shucked oysters!
Cocktail Kitchen in JLT
I love a cocktail as much as the next person, but not having an overly sweet tooth I find that most menus are packed with super syrupy cocktails that set my teeth on edge. Which is why Cocktail Kitchen is one of the best bars in Dubai, their menu is inventive and if you are not sure you like anything on there, the well trained waiters will happily whip you up something a little more to your taste.
They have a weekly happy hour every Tuesday evening with 3 glasses of wine and a delicious lunchtime menu, for the very reasonable price of 99AED, with 3 courses and a glass of wine. So if you ever find yourself in JLT with nothing to do you should pop in for a visit.