1. Speakeasys have never really worked in Dubai before because, well, not enough people could find them. Poppy (taxi: Renaissance Downtown), from celebrity chef David Myers, seems to have bucked that trend. You’ll have to ask the staff to help you find it, but when you do we promise it’s worth the hunt.
2. If you’ve ever been torn between going out to party or staying in to play games, then Stereo Arcade (taxi: DoubleTree by Hilton, +971 52 618 2424) is your venue. Though its novelty lies in the retro arcade machines, the venue has a lot more going for it, with a real commitment to showcase quality local live music in unpretentious surroundings.
3. It’s hard to describe what Wavehouse (taxi: Atlantis The Palm, +971 4 426 1166) actually is. Indoor and outdoor spaces house a restaurant, arcade machines, bowling lanes, and other family-friendly activities. But yes, it also has an adult-only bar, and it’s decent.
4. For some retro novelty fun, The House Party Dubai (taxi: Fairmont Dubai, + 971 4 332 5555) features a games room with arcade machines, Nintendo and beer pong, a living room with an old school VHS and even a bathroom decorated in the typical 90s style. This is like the ultimate high school house party, 25 years on from the originals.
5. Located on floor 44 of the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City and decked out like an American diner, The 44 (taxi: Habtoor City, +97154 5811 758) has a double-lane bowling alley, pool tables and pinball machine. There’s also a live band to keep the unorthodox party going strong.