Although it quite literally happens every day, there’s something mesmerising about watching the sun set.
Yep, we’ll never get bored of seeing that warm orange glow as the sun disappears.
Plus, despite the fact that you can witness the sun setting from anywhere in the world, there are certain places where this natural occurrence is especially amazing.
Obviously we’re a bit biased, but we think that the sunsets in Abu Dhabi are extra special. With ample beautiful coastline, pristine beaches and incredible architecture, so many scenes in this city seem to be just made for a dramatic sunset photo.
Luckily many of the capital’s bars and restaurants are ideally situated for getting these shots. This means we’re not short of options when it comes to looking for a picturesque outdoor terrace to end our day in.
There were so many contenders, but here are our favourite spots for a sundowner in Abu Dhabi...
99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant
This high-end sushi joint is immaculate in every way. Simply decorated in black and gold and with super friendly staff, you can easily spend a whole Friday afternoon working through the 11-course brunch. Inside you can dine on the freshest possible seafood, (you have to try the Japanese-style tuna pizza, it’s incredible), but outside on the terrace you can absorb the perfect view of the waters surrounding Al Maryah Island. With palm trees waving in the breeze and speed boats zooming past, the sight of the sun disappearing behind the skyscrapers and reflecting on the water is just breath taking.
Open daily noon-3.30pm, Sun-Wed 7pm-11.30pm, Thu-Fri 7pm-12.30pm, Thu-Fri noon-2am. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 672 3333).
If you haven’t been to the sensational Louvre Abu Dhabi yet, well, firstly you need to sort that out ASAP, and secondly you should try and schedule your visit for some time in the afternoon. That way you’ll be finished just in time to end your very grown up and arty day with a beverage at the rooftop bar Art Lounge. From here you’ll be treated to a picture-perfect view over the skyline of our magnificent city. It’s a suitably sophisticated end to your culture-filled session in one of the classiest areas of the capital. The tapas-style menu is also full of tempting sounding bites like wagyu beef sliders, vegetarian gyozas and camel burgers.
Open Sun-Thu noon-11pm, Fri-Sat noon-midnight. Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island (600 565 566).
Azura Panoramic Lounge
With a much sought-after spot right on the Corniche, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi was lucky enough to bag one of the best locations in the capital. Azura Panoramic Lounge has an elevated position in Nation Towers and is spread over three floors. As the name suggests, the unobstructed views over the Gulf and Abu Dhabi landmarks such as the Emirates Palace are stupendous. The daily happy hour (from 5pm to 8pm) is conveniently timed to coincide with the sun setting. So really it’s almost like we are being forced to head here straight after work to enjoy a cool drink or two. It’s not our fault, honest.
Open daily noon-1am. The St.Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche Road (02 694 4553).
This cool restaurant serves up a creative take on European dining. Inspired by French cuisine and other dishes from around the world, the light bites include Cajun salmon sliders, chicken bao buns and lobster tacos. These plates are ideal for sharing with friends out on the terrace, where you can also enjoy a discounted happy-hour drink from 4.30pm to 7pm. As with the neighbouring restaurants of 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant and Cafe Milano, the outdoor area provides the perfect position for Al Maryah Island sunset viewing. Which out of all the sensational sunset scenes in Abu Dhabi, has to be one of our favourites.
Open daily noon-1.30am. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 626 2131).
With it cool DJs, pretty mixed drinks and elegant hostesses, Buddha-Bar Beach has always been an exciting place to spend an evening. But now that it’s cool enough to go outside and make the most of the huge alfresco area, it’s become even more amazing. The only difficult bit is choosing whether you want to collapse into one of the squishy bean bags on the sand, or relax on one of the white sofas on the wooden decking. Either way you’ll be in a prime location for watching the sun vanish over the white sands and clear waters of Saadiyat Beach.
Open Sat-Wed 5pm-1am, Thu-Fri 5pm-2am. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 498 8888).
Cabana Beach Bar & Grill
If you’ve got visitors coming, or just fancy treating yourself to a pool and beach session (you deserve it, go on), you can’t get much better than a day at Nation Riviera Beach Club. Here you can soak up the sun’s rays mere metres from the turquoise waters of the Corniche. Just keep your eyes peeled for the return of the very rare (and harmless) whale shark that paid a visit to these waters only last month. The pool is also very fancy, while the swim-up bar just makes everything more fun. When the peak tanning period of the day is over, simply walk a couple of steps to Cabana Beach Bar & Grill for a tasty bar bite and a mixed drink as dusk approaches.
Open daily 10am-11pm (drinks), 11am-10pm (food). Nation Riviera Beach Club, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island, Corniche West (02 694 4553).
It seems these Al Maryah restaurants are all blessed with stunning views. With a wide terrace and weekly bottomless-pizza nights, there’s plenty to persuade you to pay this Italian restaurant a visit. Every weekday (except for Wednesday) it is also offering free aperitivo to all its guests from 5pm to 7pm. If you’ve never experienced the joy of aperitivo before, this is an ideal introduction. Nibbling on mini Italian bites such as pizza, lasagne, breads, olives and salads is always a fantastic way of ending the working day. However when you get to enjoy it outside in front of an incredible sunset, it somehow tastes even better. Make sure you have your phone ready and fully charged. You won’t even need to filter this scene before getting it straight on Instagram. Us? Show-offs? Never.
Open daily noon-4pm, Sat-Wed 7pm-midnight, Thu-Fri 7pm-1am. Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2222).
Ask anyone in the city where to go for the flashiest and most Abu Dhabi-esque rooftop drinks and the likelihood is they’ll tell you to head to Catch. The venue is stunning, with a brilliant ground-floor dining room, complete with bar, and a brilliant decked terrace, and a rather wonderful rooftop bar, too, for when the evening party begins to start. So, when you feel like the sun is starting to dip in the sky, head upstairs and grab a stool under the skies. With delicious snacks and funky tunes from resident and guest DJs, watching the sky around you turn slowly orange is the perfect end to a blissful day spent being treated like royalty at one of Abu Dhabi’s very best venues. There are regular ladies’ nights, which means free drinks for the females among you, too.
Open daily noon-1am (restaurant); noon-3am (roof). Nation Riviera, Corniche Road (02 611 0909).
Cho Gao Marina Walk
A lot of effort has gone into the interior of this trendy Asian restaurant. With moody lighting, atmospheric lanterns and a happening bar area, it’s tempting to tuck yourself away in a comfortable chair and spend an evening enjoying the feel-good vibes of the indoor area. But if you’re here just before darkness falls, you really need to be outside and making the most of the huge terrace. Surrounded by moored boats and skyscrapers, the numerous wooden tables put you in the best possible position for capturing the sun’s last rays. But really, with a setting like this, you’d have to be so incredibly useless ts taking a photo to make it look anything less than stunning. There’s also 50 percent off house drinks from 5pm to 8pm, if for some reason you need any further persuasion.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street (02 418 2477).
Yas Island has so many things going for it. But once you’ve exhausted yourself on the slides at Yas Waterworld, cycled around the Yas Marina Circuit and experienced the fastest rollercoaster on the planet at Ferrari World, you’ll probably be ready to chill out and hydrate yourself with a nice drink. Filini Garden is home to a pretty garden-themed terrace that looks out over Yas Links golf course and to the water beyond. Even if the sight of a manicured green means absolutely nothing to you, you will be amazed by the beauty of your surroundings as the orange glow spreads over the sand dunes and rolling fairways. Head here on a Thursday evening and you can combine your sundowner with feasting on Italian nibbles at the Filini Supper Club brunch.
Open Fri noon-3pm, daily 6pm-11.30pm. Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island (02 656 2000).
Nasma Beachfront Bar
Combine Saadiyat beach, bean bags and mixed drinks and you have a winning combination. This week’s cover star, the newly-opened Nasma Beachfront Bar boasts all these things. Feel the sand between your toes as your browse the menu, and enjoy being as close to the clear waters as feasibly possible. If you want some privacy, you can make yourself at home in your own cabaña, and the Latin-style bar bites are just the right size for a 5pm snack as you wait for the spectacle of the sunset to begin. We suggest arriving with lots of battery on your phone as watching the sun go down here has all the makings of a great time-lapse video. We mean, just think of all the likes you’ll rack up.
Open daily 10am-11pm. Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island (02 697 0000).
Everyone else in the capital must be at the very least a little bit envious of those who get to live in one of the swish apartments in Al Bandar Marina. Arriving at this waterfront spot feels like you are on holiday, and Pacifico TIKI is right at the centre of it. Jutting out into the still water, the wooden decking stretches around all sides of this funky bar and restaurant. As you relax with a tropical mixed drink and look out over the shimmering water, you’ll realise this is a scene you’ll never forget. The structure of the bar takes you so far out in the water you’re almost level with the yachts, so we’re sure you can imagine how brilliant the sunsets look. If you’re here on a Monday you can stay on for the popular ladies’ night when girls can enjoy unlimited drinks and tapas-style nibbles for Dhs65. That’s a bargain in anyone’s books.
Open Sun-Thu 12.30pm-1.30am, Fri-Sat 12.30pm-3am. Al Bandar Marina, Al Raha Beach (02 556 6090).
While the capital is home to so many great sundowner spots that are either on ground level or just a few storeys up, few bars take you as high up in the sky as Ray’s Bar. On the 62nd floor (we know, it’s so ridiculously high) of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, this is another classic spot for taking those who are either new to Abu Dhabi, or just visiting. With a full view of the Corniche and the surrounding islands, the views are hugely impressive. Make sure you take a wander around the bar and photograph the sunset from every angle before the stars start to come out. Wowing friends has rarely been more enjoyable.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Corniche Road West (02 811 5666).
Surrounded by yachts, sparkling water and the eternally impressive structure of the Abu Dhabi F1 Circuit, a trip to Yas Marina is always rife with photo opportunities. But if you want to find the best seat in the house for a sundowner, nowhere tops Skylite. Up on the roof of Yas Hotel, it’s encased by a colourful illuminated canopy. You really can’t miss it. Start your evening here with a cooling drink and afterwards move on to one of the Marina’s many fantastic restaurants. That’s how to live the high life.
Open daily 6pm-1am. Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 0000).