For salsa aficionados, Abu Dhabi offers plenty of choices including live music and free classes. If you'd like to try something new and get an idea of the multicultural side of Abu Dhabi, I also recommend these nights as they're popular among all nationalities and age groups.
The most popular dancing styles are salsa L.A On1 but a good number of dancers are also comfortable On2. These nights also feature some bachata, zouk and kizomba tunes.
Cinnabar (Hilton Hotel) :
Every Saturday and Monday
Free classes: 8-9PM Intermediate Level, 9-10PM Beginners and Absolute Beginners. Go for the 9 PM class if you've never set foot in a dancing club before.
Party starts at 10.
Zenith (Sheraton Hotel on the corniche) :
Every Wednesday: two classes: 8-9PM and 9-10PM Beginners and Absolute Beginners. Classes vary between salsa, bachata and kizomba so check the Abu Dhabi Salsa group on Facebook for updated schedule. Entrance is AED 35 before 10, no matter if you attend one or both classes.
It's "Ladies Night" so there are a number of free cocktails for the Ladies all night long.
Party starts at 10.
Trader Vic's (Rotana Beach Hotel) - Live Music :
This venue is not dedicate to real salsa nights but it features a live Latin band that performs every night (except Saturday) starting 9PM. Usually the salsa community goes there on Thursday. 5-6 couples can dance at a time.
Don't miss out on their signature cocktail: Tikka Pukka Pukka.
Always have your passport or ID with you. All venues are 21+. In case you don't have your ID, access will be denied.
Dress Code: Casual
Nightlife in Abu Dhabi is by far less sizzling that it it's noisier sister emirate, Dubai, but there are a handful of go-to places which offer the excuse of dressing-up and enjoying a good mix and a glass of wine, sometimes coupled with a beautiful night view.
It is the case of Yacht Club in the InterContinental Hotel. Featuring commercial music, this club gains extra points for ceiling-to-floor windows overlooking the impressive yacht marina, an outdoor terrace, high ceiling and a lively Ladies Night on Wednesdays.
Have your passport/Emirati ID on hand as otherwise you might be denied access. Minimum age is 21.
Dress Code: No sneakers
Karaoke, live music, and Filipino food (and beer). A trio plays live music for about 30 minutes than takes off for 30 minutes to rest and allow patrons to sing karaoke. Mostly pop music. Food is not the best and watch out that they don't screw you with the prices. I ate here one night and ordered an item that was 35 AED but when the bill came they charged me 50 AED. They showed me another menu with the "new" prices. Wow!
Dress Code: Smart casual
Comfortable place to watch an exciting football or rugby game. You can choose to either drink at the bar or dine and watch your favorite game. Hemingways is located adjacent to the Jazz Place and Cinnabar nightclub in the back of Hilton Abu Dhabi Hotel.
Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Level is a chilled out lounge that's located at the rooftop of the Crown Plaze hotel in Abu Dhabi. It's right on their pool, and there's a huge tent where you can sit on couches and bean bags. A live DJ plays incredible music - very loungy house music. It's a great place if you want to just hang out and have a drink. But one thing - it's only open on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays.
Dress Code: Jeans and sneakers are acceptable, however no short or flip flops
Cinabar is a new location that opened early this year (2008) at the Hilton Hotel. It's great! Chilled out house music, amazing interior - just the right spot to either go for a drink or two, or even staying there the and dancing the night away. Entrance is 100Dhs (approx.$30) as they are trying to keep a certain upper scale level. However don;t get me wrong! It's not stuck up or expensive in any way. Great music and a fanastic atmosphere all around!
Dress Code: Casual - you can go with sneakers and jeans. However, men can't wear shorts or flip flops. Women can get away with almost anythign :0)
Escape is a chilled out spot at the Hiltonia beach club. Great music (the DJ from Buddah Bar Lebanon is playing) and you sit right by the pool and beach on bean bags. Unfortunately you won't be able to enjoy it in the summer months, but in winter and spring it's fantastic!
Dress Code: casual - you can go there dressed comfortably in sneakers and jeans, however not in shorts and flip flops
During the duration of our stay in Abu Dhabi, we visited many of the top spots in the city, none more disappointing than Oceans, which is suprising as the bar next door (Sax jazz bar) was amazing and we throughly enjoyed it. We found the service and food in Oceans to be worth nothing more than a 2 or 3 star rating. The hostess was very unpleasant and the waiters... rude! The management seemed very uninterested and distracted with their own affairs. The drinks were the same story, very bland. It also seems people are served according to wealth and not arrival. If i were to recommend a night spot filled with entertainment and flair i would direct ya'll to Rockwell's or Pj's.
Dress Code: The dress code is very smart, which is necessery for the star rating, however the bouncers at the door will find a reason to hassel you.
I've found in Abu Dhabi that certain places are bouncing on certain days and rubbish on others.
Upto now i'd reccomend:-
Tuesday Nights at Hemmingways and then The Jazz bar, both of which are in the Hilton Hotel.
Thursday Nights at Oceans and the Sax which are both at the Royal Meridian(Although the 2 bouncers on the door can be a right pain in the backside here at first)
Friday afternoons from about 4:30ish in PJ's Irish bar is a good laugh too.
Dress Code: Hemmingways and the Jazz Bar are Casual - no shorts etc
Oceans and Sax are Smart Casual, depends on the bouncers mood!
PJ's - anything goes.
Even if by it's name is not a night club ( SAX-Jazz Bar), it is actually one of the best places to go out on a weekend. It has a live band and a DJ. House cocktails are great(ask for the sax martini) and the staff is very friendly. If you get hungry, you can have a good meal at it's elegant dinning.
Dress Code: Smart casual. No torn jeans, sleavless (for males), hats or head scarfs.
The LAB bar was in the Beach Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi for the past few years. Well, it closed! Lots of people here recommended it, so wanted to let others know that it is no longer open in case they go looking.
The closest place to the old LAB now is probably ZAX bar in the Royal Meridian, 2nd floor.
Good place to chill with friends, and to meet new people as well. I think it was either Wednesday or Thursday nights that had live music, you can check with Capital Hotel in which Rockbottom is located.
A few dodgy people are there, more often than not, so it would be a good idea to go in a group.
I.D required usually to enter- +21
Dress Code: Casual but smart attire required
Abu Dhabi has a number of nightclubs, some as way too seedy for you to take the wife! some feel downright uncomfortable with ladies from poorer countries leering at you often they want your money, But there are some really fun spots, my favourie is probably the Jazz Bar at the Hilton, a classy yet laid back ( it is real jazz after all) place with a restaurant section and a pretty good menu. For the none Jazz buffs there is usually live music in Hemmingways, the bar next door, A great luch spot by the way first and only place I ever ate strawbery soup! Great margaritas,
Dress Code: Better not to wear jeans in the evening they are too hot anyway and unless you are under30 and thin look a little old, open toed sandles are refused in some bars in town
Oh yes this is a muslim country, the locals are great people and deserve your respect, so dont behave badly with too much drink, they do afterall allow you to drink (residents require a permit) so don't abuse thier hospitality, and take a taxi if you drink.
Fantastic South African jazz band with beautiful male and female vocals.
Dress Code: "Smart Casual"- No open toes, shorts.