A vast bar and restaurant with an equally large alfresco area

Some things are impressive due to their sheer size. Think of the Atlantis hotel on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, blue whales or Peter Crouch. But bigger doesn’t always mean better. In fact cosy restaurants and bars often have a better atmosphere, especially if there aren’t a lot of people inside.

BU! is one place that certainly takes you aback with the amount of space it has, but more often than not  it’s a struggle to fill it.

There are three distinct areas here: a dining room, a bar and an outdoor terrace. The food coming out of the kitchen is always superb, so we often wonder why the restaurant section of this venue is quiet. The inside bar area, except for on ladies’ night, is another spot that could do with more people. In the winter months, however, there’s one place we’d always make a bee-line to – the brilliant terrace.

Like the indoor space, the alfresco section of BU! is brilliantly decked out. The attention to detail when it comes to the Latin touches and general décor must be applauded. But, wow, it’s vast.

While it sits in the middle of a Downtown area, the views are still impressive. Granted, they’re not of the Corniche or the Grand Canal, but we can still appreciate a city skyline when we see one. Service is also good, with the well-turned out staff knowing their way around the menu and being able to come up with a mean mixed drink. The tunes are also to our liking, with DJs providing some South American, and more general, funky beats.

Prices aren’t the keenest around, but we’re talking about a prime piece of real estate here. However, we can’t help but feel Back Yard Bistro, over the way on the same level of The Hub, is perhaps nabbing some of the custom with its rock-bottom prices and more casual feel.

We can see the appeal of both, but for a more classy evening, or a date night, we think BU! wins. Sitting on the terrace in this weather, with the music playing in the background and one of the superb concoctions in our hands, there are few places in the city we’d rather be. We just wish more people would join us. Maybe it’s time to overlook the big space and get cosy with your friends.

A vast bar and restaurant with an equally large alfresco area

For the fabulous décor, superb service and inventive mixed drinks


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