Emerging Scenes: Dubai

Emerging Scenes: Dubai

June 20, 2016
4 minutes read

Clubbing weekenders. Berlin. Ibiza and Croatia in the summer months. Amsterdam. What about Dubai?

Famous mostly for its prices and garish consumer culture, in recent years Dubai has quietly become something of a clubbing hotspot. The clubs and bars based in the hotels of the boom city were originally built as super high-end, table-service, VIP affairs. However a downturn, a growing market of comparatively lower-income ex-pats (sales guys, rather than lawyers) and the entry of electronic music firmly into the mainstream has seen these venues transform from chart, cheese and vodka-sparkler spots to outfits with considered programming and an increasingly music-savvy crowd. “It’s an interesting situation as a lot of the venues are essentially blank canvases, so there’s scope to create really interesting nights here” says local DJ & promoter Stu Todd.

So where’s good to go in Dubai? We spoke to a few contacts on the ground out there and here’s what they came back with:

Plus Minus @ Media 1 Hotel

Plus Minus @ Media 1 Hotel

Dubai’s leading house house and techno night in local press, Plus Minus has regular nights at the venue spaces within the hotel, but what really gets us going is the Plus Minus Arena events that take place in the underground carpark of Media 1 – giving them a true warehouse vibe. The night has been running at various locations since 2007 – championing emergent UAE producers but has recently stepped up its operation – with acts like KiNK (pictured above) in its warehouse arena and – more recently – Soul Clap in Media 1’s 42nd Floor ON42 venue as well:

Analog Room @ Story Rooftop Lounge

Analog Room are a techno purist outfit that work tirelessly to give UAE producers the same headroom as their established Detroit counterparts (with whom they’ve run partner nights in Detroit itself as part of Movement festival). Delano Smith and DVS1 are amongst local names that have graced the night set at Story Rooftop Lounge bar in the past.

The 264 Kru & Karak Beats

Bass outfit The 264 Cru have play as far afield as Croatia’s Dimensions festival but on home turf Dubai they run regular night Karak Beats at Velocity bar in JW Marriot Marquis. Featuring names such as DBridge, Zed Bias, and Barely Legal the outfit have a healthy mix series on their socials and plenty of props in the bass community. Oh, and their parties look loose too…


Representing the high-end side of Dubai’s clubbing community Eden is a beach club set on Dubai’s infamous man-made palm island. In between commercial programming the venue sees appearances from the likes of Solomun, Seth Troxler, Catz’n’Dogz, Krankbrother, Joris Voorn and similar regularly, whilst their love brunch day parties, whilst less forward looking on the music front appear to be something of an ex-pat socialite hangout, if that’s your thing.

Superheroes @ The Dek – Media 1 Hotel

Another fixture at Dubai’s Media 1 hotel and another Bass night. Superheroes has had names including Roska & FooR and retro act Plump DJs taking low-end heavy sounds to this weirdly high-end themed venue. Breakdancing comps and balcony views? It’s probably worth checking out.

Dubai’s new landscape is rental, smaller businesses and as a staple party destination in the Middle East. Ready to swap fifty quid on the door for fifty degrees? We are!

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