There’s more to the Abu Dhabi Corniche than just parks and promenades. Whether you want to wow visitors with high-end views from top-notch bars, or catch up with old friends at casual coastal lounges, it’s home to some of the city’s best nightspots.
Azura Panoramic Lounge
Delivering on its promise, Azura’s views are truly panoramic, stretching along the entire corniche. Over the three sprawling levels you’ll find lamp-lit tables surrounded by sofas and private, pod-like day beds to recline on. An unusual soundtrack of nu- and acid-jazz sets the mood, plus you can snack on platters of fresh sushi.
Open daily noon-1am. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche Road (02 694 4553).
Bravo Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Though it doesn’t have the Instagrammable setting of other spots along the Corniche, what Bravo lacks in location it makes up for in authentic tapas, fruity Spanish mixed beverages and an affordable grape selection. A relaxed spot for a drink where you don’t feel pressured to get too dressed up. Check out the regular all-you-can-eat deals, too.
Open daily 6.30pm-midnight. Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road (02 677 3333).
Though you’ll find this lounge in one of the city’s most palatial hotels, refreshingly, the décor isn’t overly opulent (the shimmering sea view at sunset provides all the atmosphere you need). It has a good menu of light tapas-style snacks, too – including fresh oysters and hot mezze – making it one of our top picks for easy, breezy beachside afternoons with your toes in the sand.
Open Mon-Sun 5pm-1am. Emirates Palace, West Corniche (02 690 7999).
This bright and airy bar and restaurant doesn’t take its nautical theme too seriously, letting its naturally knockout seafront setting take centre stage. A popular dinner spot thanks to its superb seafood, its mixed drinks are just as good and its rooftop lounge offers an entirely different vibe to the sleek restaurant below, with resident DJs spinning mixes of house and techno into the early hours.
Open daily noon-1am. Rofotop open Sat-Wed noon-2am; Thu-Fri noon-4am. Nation Riviera, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Corniche West (02 611 0909).
Fadó Irish Pub
It’s not slap bang on the Corniche, so it doesn’t come with ocean views, but this little tavern in Khalidiya is still worth ducking into for a casual glass of the black stuff if you’re wandering along the waterfront. With its stereotypically Irish interiors, friendly staff and traditional plates of bar food such as chips and sausages, it’s got all the components of
a perfect pub, and then some.
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am, Thu-Fri noon-3am. Oryx Hotel, Khalidiya (02 692 2218).
Given that Hakkasan is one of the city’s most perennially impressive restaurants, it’s little surprise that the relatively new terrace lounge is an equally sharp and stylish addition to the nightlife scene. Tables are separated by billowing white curtains and softly lit by glowing lamps – made for admiring picturesque views while sipping elaborate, Cantonese-inspired mixed drinks.
Open Sat-Wed 6pm-1am, Thu-Fri 6pm-1.30am. Emirates Palace, Corniche West (02 690 7999).
Jazz & Fizz
This upscale jazz bar combines sparkling city views with creative mixed drinks and entertainment that swings between an excellent live band and upbeat DJ sets. As the name suggests, there’s also a wide range of bubbles and grape on the menu. Not one of the most celebrated places in town but certainly worth checking out.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, Corniche Road East (02 813 7777).
Jazz Bar & Dining
Highly Commended in the Best Live Music Venue category of our last Music & Nightlife Awards, the soundtrack here leans towards pop, funk and soul. The moodily lit, windowless space has a speakeasy sort of vibe with a stage illuminated by electric-blue lighting. Drinks are affordable, the food is good and the music is even better, so it’s easy to see why it remains so enduringly popular.
Open Sat-Wed 7pm-2am, Thu-Fri 7pm-3am. Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road (02 692 4247).
Presiding over the corniche from the 62nd floor, Ray’s is all about inventive mixed drinks and awe-inspiring city views. The playful drinks menu incorporates flavours such as coconut and Coca-Cola ice cream and Arabic espresso.And the snacks are just as fun, with an
ice-cream bar featuring many combinations including cherry and almond or bubblegum and popping candy,
Open daily 5pm-2am. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).
Even without its daily two-for-one deals and energetic live band belting out classics and chart-toppers, we’d still recommend this British pub. Despite not being the most polished place in town, it has classicly cosy décor, hearty pub grub and a buzzing atmosphere amost all day every day that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-2am, Fri-Sat 2pm-2am. Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road (02 677 3333).