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Can I go clubbing in Dubai?

Incredibly, given the emirate’s strict laws regarding alcohol and homosexuality, Dubai actually has a vibrant nightlife. Dubai’s night clubs rival anything in the west and will keep you dancing until the early hours.

Many are attached to some of the most prestigious hotels in Dubai and continue the same theme of extravagant opulence. Most do not charge an entrance fee but you are expected to be well-dressed – in Dubai, a night out is meant to be special. If you turn up in flip-flops and a t-shirt the door staff will politely refuse you entry.

The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21. Carry some form of ID with you unless, like me, you are clearly an old bastard.

Being owned by the major hotels gives these clubs a certain level of “cover”. The normal rules are not as strictly enforced, meaning that public displays of affection are more accepted on the dance floor. Be careful, however, not to get too carried away, this is still a relatively conservative environment.

Drink prices are generally high, and almost every club stocks at least some eye-wateringly expensive beverages. Dubai is an escape for young folks from all over this region, and some of them are astonishingly rich. Spending a thousand dollars on a bottle is a favorite way to let the world know how much better you are.

Never forget that drugs are an absolute no-no in Dubai. The punishment for getting caught with any level of narcotic in your blood are wildly tough, typically 4 years imprisonment followed by deportation. If someone in a club offers you a line of coke or a pill, run a mile. They are either stupid or trying to scam you.

Women should always keep a close eye on their drinks, never leave them unattended. The use of the “date rape” drug Rohypnol, slipped into a target’s drink, is often used by men in this region as a substitute for the ability to chat up women. The effects are to make you feel profoundly intoxicated and experience memory loss, meaning you won’t be able to remember quite how you become pregnant.

Men should be aware that women who seem to be particularly enthusiastic may well be there on a professional basis. In general, regular women from the region may be curious about foreigners, but their behavior is unlikely to be as forward as Western women. No need to be paranoid but, at the same time, use common sense.

A woman from an impoverished country being incredibly forward with you may be a hooker. That is fine, but do think through the risks associated with that and try to avoid getting too drunk to make good decisions.


One of the most renowned clubs is WHITE Dubai, winner of countless awards. Despite the name, blacks are also welcome. This massive open-air superclub, on the roof of the Meydan Racecourse, features top international DJs and light shows that will make you feel as if you are on drugs (even though, as we already discussed, you are absolutely NOT on drugs!).

Soho Garden

If you like variety you will enjoy Soho Garden’s integration of 4 distinct venues, both indoor and outdoor, into one club.

Cirque Le Soir

With a burlesque/fetish theme, Cirque Le Soir pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable in Dubai about as far as they will go. Bear in mind, this probably means a couple of Russian “models” sweating profusely in latex while dancing next to the DJ box, and some hairy Italian guy with a whip, tattoos and a nose ring. Whether that actually translates into a more adventurous night for you is an open question, but probably worth a visit.

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