Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Tourist Club Area, open daily 3pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 818 4888, tsogosun.com
The best outdoor and sundowner spots in Abu Dhabi
Make the most of the great outdoors…
If you’re in the mood for some lazy weekday sundowners, starlit rooftop banquets, seafront shmoozing or on-terrace brunching — this is our ‘outside-of-the-box’ pick for the best Abu Dhabi alfresco experiences.
This sophisticated terrace venue is a chic pick for after-dark fun. Enjoy marina views, a roaring fire pit, and some Annex-t level theme nights. Wednesday is a she-centric night with three hours of limitless sips for the ladies for Dhs128. Thursdays are all about that Motown and soul tip, with smooth grooves and two hours of unlimited mixology for Dhs195. And on Fridays, it’s an evening brunch ‘shook’ by the rhythms of Cape Town’s buzzing soundscape — the Amapiano brunch, from Dhs288.
Annex, The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen Marina, Wed and Thurs 6pm to 12am, Fri 6pm to 4am, Saturday 6pm to 2am. Tel: (0)2 208 0000. @annexabudhabi
Perched on the brim of a Marina, Belgian Café squares up as a cool Côte d’Azur character, despite its landlocked namesake. And those traits transfer seamlessly into its ‘Santé to the Weekend’ brunch (from Dhs225) which delivers a well-executed feast filled with Euro-flavours, seafood towers, the venue’s signature mussels and live cooking stations. Taking place on the venue’s roomy terrace, the whole thing feels appropriately inter-continental.
This poolside courtyard positively vibrates with zen-level chill. Hemmed by cabanas, and floating lanterns it’s a bar with more than a few reasons to choose as your gang get-together spot of choice. There’s the shisha, the fine-dining tapas plates and the daily 6pm to 9pm free flow beverage package that costs just Dhs115.
We do so love an evening brunch with a breeze and the rooftop soiree at Aloft Abu Dhabi’s Brick on Thursdays provides just that. It’s set to the sounds of live acoustic music and takes place every Thursday, with dishes coming straight from the venue’s signature brick ovens. The brunch line-up includes such culinary delights as slow-cooked rib eye, four-cheese pizza, cedar plank-cooked salmon and, for the final flourish — campfire s’mores… all from Dhs235.
Brick, Aloft Abu Dhabi, National Exhibition Centre, open daily 5pm to midnight. Tel: (052) 837 0047, @brick.abudhabi
Buddha Bar Beach
This outpost of the global vibe emporium has a privileged Saadiyat seaside appointment and it’s all bout the beach chic. It features the brand’s signature on-trend soundtrack, luxurious shore view lounge area, and a menu that dances playfully between east and west. Buddha Bar Beach has two seatings for its Friday Nikkei Brunch (from Dhs325), an afternoon session and an evening one, both are accompanied by Latin beats and fuego Japanese-Peruvian eats.
Buddha Bar Beach, The St Regis Sadiyaat Island, open Mon to Thurs 5pm to midnight, Fri to Sat 1pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 498 8888, @buddhabarbeachabudhabi
Cafe Del Mar
Straight from the Baleric beat factory of Ibiza, Cafe Del Mar has landed on the waterfront next to Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. There’s an infinity pool, a cheeky little manmade beach, a swim-up pool bar, and appropriately slamming soundtrack. Access is free for the adjacent Hilton guests, for everybody else day passes are available for Dhs250 between Monday to Friday (with Dhs150 back as F&B credit), weekends its Dhs350 (also with Dhs150 back as credit). There’s also now a Barbecue Pool Party, which takes place between 1pm and 5pm every Saturday, the price of Dhs499 includes free-flow select beverages, unlimited plates from the barbecue, pool access, towels and a lounger. And it is all vibe.
Cafe Del Mar, Yas Bay Waterfront, pool party barbecue every Mon to Fri, 10am 11pm, Sat and Sun 10am to 11pm. Tel: (050) 402 2283, @cafedelmarabudhabi
Cove Abu Dhabi
This barefoot wonderland has a packed weekly schedule of beachfront entertainment. Amongst them there’s Rosé All Day, now available on Sunday. The gal-dem can enjoy unlimited select drinks, alongside mixed platters of gastro-nibbles for FIVE HOURS between midday and 5pm, for just Dhs149. Gents can join in on the same fun for Dhs249.
Cove Beach, Makers District, Al Reem Island, Mon to Fri 10am to 1am, Sat and Sun 10am to 3am. Tel: (056) 39 87895, @covebeachabudhabi
This British pub has been a capital favourite for years and although its chiefly known for its prowess as a sports spectating hub, the gloriously shaded ‘Backyard’ outdoor space makes for perfect daytime merry-making. There’s a daily midday to 8pm happy hour with select beverages from Dhs23, a bucket-load of combo deals and the Friday brunch with gastro pub grub classics and DJ Danny on the decks, has packages from Dhs210.
Park Rotana, Park Rotana Complex Road, near Khalifa Park, Sun to Wed 12pm to 2am, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 3am. Tel: (02) 657 3317, @parkrotana
Up on the roof of Abu Dhabi’s ultra-luxe hotel, Emirates Palace — sits Hakkasan, an elite Cantonese restaurant with big ‘night out’ energy. Their terrace space offers dreamy Corniche skyline views, big soulful sounds and mood lighting that is quite frankly an absolute mood of its own. To pair with the electric ambiance, there are night brunches, and deals on craft mixology and dim sum.
Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Corniche Rd W, Sun to Fri 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Sat 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 690 7739, @hakkasanabudhabi
Known for its exquisite Yas Marina views and full-throttle F1 parties, this popular little spot has sophistication sewn into its genes. And with the outdoor terrace open once more, now is the time to experience the venue in its purest, most elegant form. The modern, international Friday brunch is pretty good value too, with packages starting at Dhs190. Out out? The after brunch package includes three hours of free flowing house sips for Dhs150
Yas Marina, Yas Island, Mon to Sat 6.00pm to 3.30pm. Tel: (055) 160 5636. yasmarina.ae
For relaxed drinks and grazing as the sun sets, Nasma is one of the best beach bars in Abu Dhabi. Located on the shorefront of the Saadiyat Rotana, it brings gorgeous sea views and laid-back vibes to a picturesque setting. Pull up on a bean bag, or snag one of the private cabanas, and nibble on Latin bar bites, sip fruity cocktails or order shisha, all served up to the sounds of chilled Caribbean beats.
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, 12pm to 12am daily. Tel: (0)2 697 0000, rotana.com
Forged in the fires of London’s fine dining foundry, Mazi which means ‘together’ in Greek, found wide and passionate appeal amongst the discerning diners of the UK’s culinary capital. And so begins a new odyssey, a new location for this article of Greek legend, at The, appropriately august, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi. The menu at Mazi Abu Dhabi is inspired by the nostalgia of co-founder Christina Mouratoglou’s childhood memories, and features a mix of established Greek classics, and thoroughly modern reimaginings. Fondly pondered items such as tzatziki, kavourosalata and grilled calamari, feta tempura, shredded lamb shoulder tacos, sea bass tartare, chicken thigh souvlaki skewers and artichoke risotto à la polita. Crafted with an eye for detail that would please even Aphrodite herself, Mazi looks every bit the postcard pantheon. Gorgeous thalasso-inspired interiors, botanical abundance on the olive garden terrace, and serving rituals worthy of an Athenian epic.
Mazi Abu Dhabi, St. Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm daily. Tel: (02) 498 8888, @maziabudhabi
Although it’s not technically a toes-in-the-sand beach bar in Abu Dhabi, newly opened Raclette deserves a mention for its beachy bohemia decor and stunning setting on Mamsha Saadiyat. Raclette is a licensed venue, with a chic central bar, a perfect spot for those post-beach, shore-view sundowners. A come-as-you-are, beach-to-bar brasserie, the menu includes French toast for breakfast, steaming pots of mussels and tiered seafood towers.
Raclette, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Mon to Fri 9am to 1am, Sun 9am to 12am. Tel: (0)2 546 2277, @racletteuae
Shala Beach Lounge
‘Shala’ is derived from the Sanskrit – meaning ‘home,’ and this venue at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi offers exactly that to the capital’s free-spirited wanderers. Here, sea views are paired with plush cushions bearing macrame cotton tassels, ornamental feathers, a fire pit, soft linen banquets and natural wood finishes. The design of this Abu Dhabi beach bar taps into that same beach-shack soul that you’d expect to find in bohemian haunts like Tulum, or the Ibizan town of Playa d’en Bossa. And with just a thin slip of rugged dunescape between you and the rhythmic gulf surf, it makes an excellent claim for top sundowner cocktail spot.
Shala Beach Lounge, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Sun to Thurs 5pm to 12am, Fri and Sat 5pm to 1am. Tel: (0)2 407 1234, @shalaabudhabi
At the ultra-luxurious Nurai Island, everything about Smokin’ Pineapple transports you to the far-flung shores of Bali, Tulum or Thailand. At its centre is a thatched roof beach bar lined with wooden swings, which spills out to an infinity pool, hammocks and teepees where guests can relax and recline listening to the sounds of a live DJ, while sipping fruity cocktails and watching the sunset. To reach it, you’ll need to take a speedboat from the resort’s welcome centre on Saadiyat Island.
Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, 11am to 11pm daily. Tel: (0)2 506 6222. @nurai_island
Stars ‘N’ Bars
We’re unofficially obliged to start this entry with a rowdy ‘Yee-haw’ and a slap of the thigh, because this bar is a super-sized slice of apple pie Americana. This President of the United States of Sports Bars comes with a dizzying collection of 76 HDTVs, a retro arcade wall, pool table and of particular interest to this round up — a rootin’, tootin’, late night breeze-shootin’ shaded terrace with views of Yas Marina’s boating swag. They also have great deals on weekend roasts (Dhs99), Tuesday 2-for-1 deals, a lads’ night on Saturdays, a quiz night on Mondays, and their Friday ‘Marina Brunch’ begins at Dhs199.
Stars ‘N’ Bars, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, Mon to Fri 12pm to 2am, Sat and Sun 12pm to 3am. Tel: (02) 565 0101, @starsnbarsad
The Loop Beach Bar
The Loop Beach Bar is an alfresco restaurant on the shoreline of Bab Al Qasr. It offers premium grilled surf ‘n’ turf alongside some pretty big date night Corniche vistas.
Loop Beach Restaurant & Bar, Bab Al Qasr, West Corniche Road, 12pm to 12am daily. Tel: (02) 205 3000, @loop.beach
Ting Irie Pon Di Beach
Located at the blossoming beachfront hang out of Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Ting Irie Pon Di Beach has finally opened its doors and is now painting a vibrant coat of black, gold and green on the cultural district. And fortunate for those disposed towards authentic Carribean cuisine, their Saturday Island Daze brunch has already launched and offers red hot picks from the tropics. It’s being held from 1pm to 5pm every Saturday, the soft package is Dhs200, house is Dhs300 and sounds come courtesy of DJ LPN.
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Mon to Thurs 11am to 11.30pm, Fri to Sun 11am to 12am. Tel: (02) 886 7786 @tingirieauh
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill
Voted your favourite seafood restaurant at the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2022, this is the restaurant you were told not to worry about. Timeless good looks, outstanding fine dining dishes and it’s located right on the edge of Saadiyat’s spectacular coastline. We’re huge fans of both the surf and the turf element of their menu, and are confident it will remain one of the city’s top picks for a special occasion date night.
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill, Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas, Abu Dhabi, 12pm to 11am daily. Tel: (0)2 697 0000 @saadiyatrotana
Waves Bar and Outdoor Lounge
Waves Bar and Outdoor Lounge occupies a neat terrace space on the first floor of Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan. It’s a venue that has somehow cultivated a reputation as being a casual after-work hangout, a weekend alfresco soiree spot and even a bit of a sports pub. The menu is as delightfully eclectic as the venue that offers it. And amongst the international plates and gastronomic relics from themes past, you’ll find some genuinely enjoyable bites.
Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, 11am to 1am daily. Tel: (02) 501 6444, @waves_abudhabi
West Bay Lounge
Head to West Bay and enjoy the gastronomic revelry of a waterfront Saturday brunch (priced from Dhs249); on the complex there’s a health club, and spa; a recently opened wave pool and lazy river combo; and a brand sparkling new adventure playground with elevated rope-line assault course. Access to the West Bay leisure facilities comes free with West Bay day passes (and the day passes come free with the brunch packages). For weekdays, adults get in for Dhs150, but get Dhs100 of that back on food. At weekends it’s Dhs200 but you still get the Dhs100 back as credit.
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West Bay Lounge at West Bay Abu Dhabi, Corniche Rd, Al Bateen, Sat 1pm to 5pm, Dhs249 for soft, Dhs379 house, Dhs479 bubbles. Tel: (02) 692 4375, @westbayabudhabi
West Bay Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Corniche, 12pm to 1am daily. Tel: (02) 692 4375, @westbayabudhabi
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is a whole on-key vibe, so it follows that their pool complex would be the preferred pool-adjacent lounging space for the capital’s discerning dip connisseurs. Their Sunday to Friday deals ‘Daydream at Wet Deck’ deal is just Dhs150 per adult and you get the full amount back to drop on food and drinks. Relax in sublime supine between midday to 8pm, with a Wet Deck welcome pack that includes a bottle of water, ice lollies and access to those luxurious purple cushion loungers. Pulse is their Thursday night session with big beats and submerged seats and comes with a three hour beverage package (ladies Dhs150, gents Dhs200). And ‘Soak it Up Saturdays’ also come with their own daytime drinks deals (ladies Dhs160, gents Dhs220 for three hours).
W Lounge, W Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, 11am to 8pm daily. Tel: (02) 656 0000, @WAbuDhabi