There’s just something about live music isn’t there? It can move you to tears, make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and perhaps most importantly, get you in the mood to party.
We love that Abu Dhabi is full of loads of great venues offering live music on any night of the week.
Whether you want jazz, indie, rock or pop, you’ll find it all, plus drink deals and tasty plates of grub to enjoy while you soak it all in.
So here’s where to watch some of the best musicians in the capital do their thing. We’ll be the ones screaming our hearts out in front of the stage (we like to get involved, what can we say?).
Belgian Café Abu Dhabi
Here you can expect a good selection of Belgian hops, a decent happy hour and quality European dishes. During the cooler months the huge outdoor area, looking towards the hotel’s marina, is always packed with a lively crowd, and the post-brunch hours are particularly popular. The live music is excellent and it’s supported by a resident DJ.
InterContinental Abu Dhabi, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street (050 723 5441).
If you only go out to Saadiyat Island bars you can be forgiven for thinking that every night spot in the capital is super fancy. But everyone needs a good local, and Heroes is friendly, chilled out and requires no getting dolled-up for. Resident band The International Playboys (our Best Bar Band at the Time Out Abu Dhabi Music & Nightlife Awards 2019) play hit after hit, and it’s a fun place to unwind.
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street (02 616 6132).
Jazz Bar & Dining
This venue is built around a striking blue-lit stage and the fantastic house bands are always the main event. But the set list isn’t limited to jazz tracks (despite what the name suggests) and the excellent pop, funk and soul covers are perfect to sing along to.
Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Corniche West (02 692 4247).
This isn’t like the PizzaExpress you visited for a quiet lunch back at home. It’s more of a slick, lively jazz bar that also provides pizzas and lots of delicious dough balls. So don’t come here expecting a quiet chinwag, the talented musicians will soon have you tapping your feet and singing along anyway.
The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (02 444 7752).
Any good Irish pub has to have brilliant live music, and McGettigans certainly doesn’t disappoint. The live band performs a mix of rock, pop and indie covers, while the ladies’ night and drinks deals also help keep the bar permenantly packed. Whether you’re looking for a comforting plate of fish and chips or a post-brunch party, McGettigan’s will deliver.
Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).
With wooden benches and a cosy vibe, this is one of the best spots in the city for enjoying a pint of the black stuff. It’s hard to know if it’s more popular than fellow Irish bar McGettigan’s, but it must be a pretty close call. Live entertainment is on several nights
a week, and it’s a top choice if you’re looking to let your hair down.
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street (02 674 2020).
Porters English Pub
The large, high-ceilinged main area of Porters English Pub boasts a long bar and a music stage, which is always set up for some live entertainment from local bands, singers, and popular tribute acts. With a well-stocked bar and lively vibe, it’s a tremendous, familiar place for a knees up. The plates of pub grub get a big thumbs up from us, too.
Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 443 9999).
Stars ’N’ Bars
The Friday post-brunch party offers an energy filled set from The International Playboys. Once the raucous Funch Brunch is over, the dancefloor is cleared and everyone jumps up on their feet to rock out to the band’s super covers. Meanwhile, you can also catch the equally brilliant band The Shakedown performing on Thursday and Friday nights. This place is always super popular.
Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 565 0101).
Stock Burger Co.
While you shouldn’t visit this restaurant without trying one of the incredible burgers, it’s also a top spot for a night out. Far more than just a burger joint, live sports are shown up on the big screens and the Wednesday ladies’ night offers nibbles, three free drinks and 50 percent off other beverages. Live music is also a regular occurrence, and once you throw in the unrivalled selection of craft hops you’re laughing.
Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Dhafeer Street (800 78625).
The Sportsman’s Arms
Sitting in the shadows of Zayed Sports City is The Sportsman’s Arms, our chosen place to cool down after having kick-about with pals or to recover from another gruelling fitness class at one of the centre’s many gyms. There are loads of quality snacks and an impressive barbecue brunch, while the live music acts are always very entertaining.
International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City (02 447 1066).