Our current Bar of the Year has a great setting overlooking the Gulf on the Corniche with views of Al Marina and the beautiful blue waters surrounding it. The dining room inside is serene, while outside a deck stretches 50 yards to the sand with an island bar in the middle. There’s always a party atmosphere here, with Latin music, mixed beverages and amazing fusion dishes on offer. There’s really no reason not to love it. The outside area reopens on October 1 and we can’t wait.
Open daily noon-2am. Nation Riviera Beach Club, The St. Regis Corniche, Al Khalidiya (02 699 3333).
2. Byblos Sur Mer
Set over two floors, this contemporary Lebanese restaurant overlooks InterContinental Abu Dhabi’s spectacular marina. The lounge bar on the second floor offers a stunning seaside views.
Open noon-2am Sun-Thu, noon-3am Fri-Sat. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen (02 666 6888).
Set on the same stretch as Asia de Cuba, Catch is an innovative restaurant with a roof terrace bar that boasts awesome views across the Corniche and the sea. There are deals including ladies’ nights, regular DJ slots and Urban Saturdays on, er, Saturdays.
Open daily Sun-Wed noon-2am. Thu-Sat noon-3.30am. Nation Riviera Beach Club, The St. Regis Corniche, Al Khalidiya (02 611 0909).
4. Iris Yas Island
Iris has one of the city’s most stylish outdoor bar spaces, which reopens at the end of September. Sit out by Yas Marina and gaze out at the glowing, colour-changing Yas Viceroy. In the early evening, Iris is the perfect spot for a quiet drink, but as the hours drift by, it becomes a livelier venue. There are ladies’ nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, and the food is pretty good, too.
Open daily 6pm-3am. Yas Marina, Yas Island (055 160 5636).
The view from the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa’s bar is something else. The foliage of the Mangrove National Park rises from the water beside the hotel and floor-to-ceiling windows offer the perfect place to take in the sights. There are plush sofas, modern décor and the lighting changes depending on thevibes. It’s pretty romantic.
Sat-Wed 5pm-1am, Thu-Fri 4pm-2am. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Al Markaziya (02 656 1000).
Due to reopen next month after a summer break, Glo’s main attraction is its terrace overlooking the Downtown Abu Dhabi skyline. The bar is strewn with huge lights that look like giant, metallic water lilies set around a pool. With comfy sofas and a light breeze, it’s a great place to meet friends before a meal at one of the Galleria’s plethora of popular restaurants.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 813 5550).
7. Ray’s Bar
As the winner of Best Bar with a View at our Music and Nightlife awards in May this year, we obviously think this place has some pretty great scenery. Found on the 62nd floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, from here you can look out across the Corniche and back towards the sprawling city. It’s a sleek bar, with huge windows flooding it with light during the day, and moody corners for intimate get-togethers during the night. There is a happy hour every day from 5pm-8pm, a Saturday ladies’ night and music from DJ Stew Magoo Tuesday to Saturday.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (02 811 5666).
8. Sho Cho
Nestled deep within the sinuous Souk Qaryat Al Beri sits Sho Cho, and this venue’s gorgeous terrace looks out upon snapable views of Maqtaa Creek and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The white and blue minimalist decor is a little cold and dated, we think, but the staff are friendly and the Japanese food on offer is decent. There is a wide range of mixed drinks and it’s a great place to catch up with friends with a beautiful backdrop.
Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm, 6pm-2.45pm, Fri-Sat noon-245am. Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Bain Al Jessrain (02 558 1117).
9. Skylite Rooftop Lounge
Skylite doesn’t have a good view in the traditional sense, what it has instead is a unique setting right below the vast, criss-cross, colour changing roof of Yas Viceroy. The iconic structure is lit up and so too is the entire bar making this a spectacular and otherworldly place for a drink. The whole venue glows in varying shades of neon, and it is flanked on either side by cabanas draped in floaty white fabric. At the back, there’s a small row of palm trees that are silhouetted against the ceiling. It’s perhaps not much of a party spot, but for a pre- or post-dinner drink or for somewhere to meet friends before heading to new Viceroy nightclub Empire it works perfectly.
Open daily 8pm-2am. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 0700)
Stratos on Le Royal Méridien’s 31st floor is a revolving restaurant and lounge bar. It takes an hour to rotate, which gives guests plenty of time to take in the 360-degree views of downtown Abu Dhabi, the Corniche, Lulu Island and beyond. If you’ve always got your head in the clouds or want to escape reality for a few hours, then this is the bar to come to.
Open Sun-Fri 5pm-1am. Le Royal Méridien, Khalifa Street (02 674 2020).
The funky Aloft hotel has one of the swishest rooftop bars in the capital. With views from all sides looking over the entire city, Asian food, and regular drinks deals, it’s a pretty impressive spot. Especially if you have visitors in town.
Open Sat-Tue 5pm-2am; Wed-Fri 5pm-3am. Aloft Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (02 654 5138).