Abu Dhabi has a wealth of homegrown musical talent who perform everything from R&B to rock anthems, so if you’re tired of hearing the same generic house music and recycled chart hits, these bars and pubs offer a pitch-perfect alternative.
If you’ve been in town for a while, you’ll probably be familiar with The International Playboys. Their raucous renditions of chart-topping hits are legendary, and helped Heroes scoop our Highly Commended accolade for Best Live Music Venue 2018.
Live music Tue-Sat from 10pm. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street (02 616 6132).
A pizza chain might seem like an odd choice for an evening of superb live jazz, but don’t be deterred. The nightly music spans jazz, R&B, soul and pop, plus there’s a weekly rotation of deals. It’s one of our favourite – and often Nightlife Award shortlisted – musical spots in the city.
Open daily 11.30am-1am. The Hub at The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (02 444 7752).
No matter how many years go by, our appreciation of this quintessentially Irish pub endures, not least because of its excellent Thursday night live music, featuring sets filled with pop hits and Irish folk tunes from talented band Suckin’ Diesel.
Live music Thu from 9pm. Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).
Porters English Pub
Unpretentious and authentic, what we love about this pub – which won our Best Live Music Venue award in 2018 – is hard to cram to into such a small space. It’s cosy, friendly, great value for money and its energetic nightly entertainment never fails to impress.
Live music daily from 9pm. Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 443 9999).
Stars ’N’ Bars
On a Friday night, this is the place to go to catch our Best Bar Band award winners, The ShakeDown, whose sets incorporate classic rock anthems, country, Motown, R&B and everything in between. Thursdays, on the other hand, see funk jam band Carl & The Reda Mafia take to the stage and play their unique genre of music which, they say, combines rock ’n’ roll with blues and funk.
Live music Thu 10pm-1am, Fri 9pm-1am. Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 565 0101).
Already popular as a spot-on sports bar, Velocity launched live music nights last year. It’s still ideal for watching the game in, but if you wouldn’t know your wing backs from your false nines you can head down three nights
a week to hear upbeat sets from pop duo Nicky and Neil. There’s a daily happy hour, too.
Live music Sun, Thu and Fri 8pm-midnight. Marriott Hotel Downtown, Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street (02 304 7777).