One of the many benefits of visiting a city that pushes the limits of modernization is the spectacular views it creates of its towering skyscrapers—and this couldn't be more evident than the vistas from the al fresco bars that come alive during the winter months in Dubai.
When you're visiting Dubai, the trick to finding the most buzzing nightlife in town is to know exactly which hotel to swing by. As it turns out, city licensing law makes it illegal for alcohol to be served outside of a venue that is not a hotel or private club. But don't let this fool you into thinking this global destination doesn't know how to party. A sophisticated, coiffed population of fun-loving ex-pats from around the world are eager to mingle here, and every weekend, they seek out sophisticated rooftop cocktail lounges, where bottle service, low lighting, live DJs, and unforgettable sunset and city views reign supreme.
In a metropolis that's always reinventing itself, it's hard for one particular spot to dominate the entire scene. There are a handful of open-air bars, however, that tend to linger on the lips of residents and in-the-know visitors alike, from the H Hotel's glamorous 40 Kong bar, to the One&Only's Jetty Lounge, a posh beach bar with panoramic views of the dusty pink Atlantis Hotel and a medley of mega yachts serenely parked in the Marina waters. When you're in this dazzling and energetic city, you'd be remiss to skip these special happy hours. Click through the gallery to discover the complete roundup, and start planning your drink order now.
Dylan Essertier, originally from Westport, Connecticut, is a Dubai-based writer and the features editor for @SavoirFlair. Follow her on Instagram at @DylanEssertier.
This upscale Mexican restaurant at the Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa delivers delicious margaritas in a setting that feels grown-up, yet navigates never feeling too pretentious or stuffy. Sit on the patio to enjoy unobstructed views of the uniquely shaped neon skyscrapers that make up the Dubai Marina skyline.
This newly opened lounge is located on the third floor of the Taj Dubai and features an open-air fireplace, spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa, and a DJ flown in from Greece, who keeps guests dancing with his house music and dangerously catchy '80s mixes.
Dubai residents sing Jetty Lounge's praises every chance they get, thanks to its ability to straddle the line between blissfully relaxed beach haven and sleek and sexy drinking destination. A beachside lounge located at the One&Only Royal Mirage, expect ambient music and a view that that looks out to the calm expanse of the Arabian Gulf. However, the raison d'etre for this beachside cocktail lounge is that its one of the best places in the city to watch Dubai's gorgeous sunset melt into the Gulf's horizon.
Beautiful people enjoying beautiful views bests describe 40 Kong at the H Hotel. This rooftop lounge has retained its allure as one of the most desirable ways to spend a Friday night in the city, thanks to its live music sets, mind-blowing views, and creative cocktail menu. Sip on a 'Dubai Bliss' ($19), featuring iichiko yuzu liqueur, apple, lemon, passion fruit syrup, and Scavi & Ray prosecco, while staring out to the glittering ever-changing metropolis below.
Located on the sixth floor of the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach is the futuristic mixology bar, Mercury Lounge. The space is particularly adored for its views of the Burj Khalifa on one side and the Arabian Gulf on the other. Be warned, though, the dress code ("smart casual," but we say err on the side of stylish) is strictly enforced.
Set around a glowing pool on the rooftop of the Grosvenor House Hotel, the futuristic gold-and-white-lacquered decor inside this swanky Asian-inspired bar provides the perfect backdrop for drinking Pink Geishas (Beluga Noble vodka, mango juice, fresh grapefruit, orgeat, hibiscus) and smoking shisha while staring out to impressive coastal views.
Imagine a lush garden in the middle of the city, and you're on your way to understanding the appeal of drinks at La Cantine du Faubourg's terrace. Originally hailing from Paris, this popular new French rendezvous in Emirates Towers is the playground for the city's young, chic crowd. With a deck that looks out to the sleek Dubai International Financial Center and a non-touristy crowd, you'll skip the tightly-dressed ladies wobbling in their Louboutins so often found on the city's nightlife scene, and find yourself in the heart of the cool Parisian kids' cocktail den instead.