In Abu Dhabi, we are lucky to be surrounded by stunning landscapes almost wherever we go. Flowing streams, beautiful beaches, and magnificent cityscapes are just a few of the sights to behold all around us. Many of the city’s bars, clubs, and pubs take advantage of the views; here are five of our favourites. The following list has been compiled to help you take a dip at some of Abu Dhabi’s most beautiful and unusual beachside bars.
1. Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi
At this outpost of the global vibe emporium, which has a prime Saadiyat beachside location, it’s all about the beach cool. It has the brand’s signature on-trend soundtrack, a stunning shore view lounge space, and a menu that deftly moves between east and west. The Friday Nikkei Brunch (from Dhs325) at Buddha-Bar Beach features two seatings, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening, both with Latin music and Fuego Japanese-Peruvian cuisine.
Buddha-Bar Beach, The St Regis Saadiyat Island, open Mon to Wed 5 pm to midnight, Thu to Sat midday to midnight. Tel: (02) 498 8888,
2. Shala Beach Lounge
The word’shala,’ which means ‘home,’ originates from Sanskrit, and this location at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi offers precisely that to the city’s free-spirited visitors. Sea views are complemented by plush sofas with macrame cotton tassels, magnificent feathers, a fire pit, soft linen banquets, and natural wood finishes. This Abu Dhabi beach bar is designed in the same beach-shack style as bohemian hotspots like Tulum and Playa d’en Bossa on the island of Ibiza. With only a strip of rugged Dunescape separating you from the rhythmic gulf wave, it also makes an excellent claim for a top sundowner cocktail destination.
Shala Beach Lounge, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island, 5 pm to 1 am Thursday to Saturday. Tel: (0)2 407 1234
3. Smokin’ Pineapple
The ultra-luxurious Zaya Nurai Island’s Smokin’ Pineapple transports you to the far-flung shores of Bali, Tulum, or Thailand. Its centrepiece is a thatched-roof beach bar with wooden swings that spreads out to an infinity pool, hammocks, and teepees where guests can relax and unwind while sipping delicious cocktails and watching the sunset while listening to live music. To get there, you’ll need to take a speedboat from the resort’s welcome centre on Saadiyat Island.
Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily. Tel: (0)2 506 6222
4. Cafe Del Mar
Cafe Del Mar, fresh from the Balearic rhythm factory of Ibiza, has arrived on the seashore near the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. There’s an infinity pool, a mock beach, a swim-up pool bar, and a pulsing soundtrack to match. Access is free for adjacent Hilton guests; for everyone else, day passes are Dhs250 Monday through Friday (with Dhs150 returned as F&B credit), and weekends are Dhs350 (also with Dhs150 back as credit). According to our sources, brunch and ladies night are on the way.
Yas Bay, Yas Island, 9 am to 12 am weekdays, 9 am to 1 am weekends. Tel: 050 402 2283
Despite the fact that it isn’t really a beach bar in Abu Dhabi, the newly opened Raclette deserves a mention for its beachy bohemia décor and beautiful setting on Mamsha Saadiyat. Raclette is a licenced restaurant with a trendy central bar, perfect for sundowners after a day at the beach. It’s a come-as-you-are beach-to-bar brasserie with French toast for breakfast, sizzling pots of mussels, and tiered seafood towers on the menu.
Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, 9am to 12am daily. Tel: (0)2 546 2277, @racletteuae