Since super-trendy Buddha-Bar Beach opened on Saadiyat Island last year, it’s perhaps been easy to forget about the other (and equally cool) arm to the Buddha-Bar brand that can be found right here in the capital.
In fact, for those of us living ‘off island’ in areas such as Khalifa City and Al Maqta, Barfly by Buddha-Bar is a far more convienent spot to get to for some post-work drinks.
Yet the geographical position of this Asian-inspired bar and restaurant isn’t even in the top 10 reasons of why it’s such a brilliant place for a night out.
And there’s a sense of excitement in the air as we enter the slick bar nestled by the Grand Canal in the Venetian Village.
The rest of the area (next to the The Ritz-Calton) is distinctly family friendly, yet Barfly seems that bit more edgy, and also as though it’s aimed at a young crowd who have a bit of a thing for partying.
But there’s nothing raucous about the mood here tonight. The background music is atmospheric, chilled and expertly mixed by the resident DJ.
It’s not loud enough to make conversations difficult (yes, sometimes even we are capable of making such old-person comments), but it helps build the infectious energy of this late-night hotspot.
We decide to sit outside with all the other guests. Although the bar area is certainly striking, complete with subtle decorations like a huge headless statue and psychedelic paintings, it doesn’t quite top the sensation of feeling the cool evening breeze coming in from over the water.
The menu is full of creative mixed drinks and a great range of premium beverages. For such an iconic brand, the prices aren’t too extortionate, while the exceptional nibbles include plates of colourful, fresh sushi.
We conclude that Barfly has managed to find just the right balance between posey and genuinely great vibes. It’s a welcome reminder that not all the most fashionable spots are over on Saadiyat Island.
WHAT IS IT...
An Asian-inspired bar serving fancy mixed drinks and high-end bar bites
To watch the sun set over the Grand Canal from the awesome outdoor area, while listening to funky house tunes