“Sundowner: An alcoholic drink taken at sunset.” Unknown
The weather is a hot topic here in the UAE. While we may not have seasons per say we do have two parts of the year, the it’s way too warm to sit outside because I’m perspiring in places I never knew I could and the more comfortable temperate months with zero humidity and less frizzy hair. As we enter November it’s the latter so the time has come once again to embrace all things outdoorsy for the next glorious few months and alfresco sundowners feature high on my to-do list.
Enjoy the capital’s skyline and Arabian Gulf views with a cocktail in hand in one my top (current) five favourite venues in Abu Dhabi. As the sun disappears over the horizon sip a sundowner or two and watch the glorious nightly sunset from one of these rooftop bars, outdoor terraces or on the beach itself.
Nasma Beachfront Bar
Breaking news, I have a favourite new beach bar. A newcomer to the capital, Nasma Beachfront Bar is located at the sweeping beachfront Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas on Saadiyat Island. The open air outdoor bar has a great location right on the pristine beach with sea views and cool vibes, the perfect spot for a bespoke cocktail and sundowners. This caribbean inspired stunner is just so cute with it’s rope decor, exposed light bulbs and foliage. Who doesn’t like a cocktail served in a coconut with sand between your toes. It has holiday feels all day, every day right and it’s right on our doorstep.
Perch on a swinging chair at the bar, grab a bean bag, swing in a hammock or just chill with a private cabana and watch the sun set over the Arabian Gulf with a backdrop of chilled beats. A menu of Latin inspired bar bites including sushi, antipasti, ceviche and local favourites complement the extensive drinks menu, shisha is also available on request.
Nasma Beachfront Bar, Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 am – 4:30 pm (Pool Bar food menu) Dinner: 5:00 pm – midnight
Just when you think the acclaimed Hakkasan Abu Dhabi can’t up its game any further it does just that with the (re) launch of its stunning outdoor terrace. Initially opened in the first quarter of this year, the terrace that sits in the grounds of the Emirates Palace, is now back in operation as the weather has cooled and the humidity almost disappeared.
Like the stylish indoor bar, the outdoor terrace bar is well-stocked with high-end and premium drinks and a menu of bespoke cocktails and bar bites. The definition of an ideal Abu Dhabi evening, sipping a signature ‘Only at the Palace’ cocktail in a private cabana with the stunning cityscape as a backdrop. Sharing cocktails and and Signature champagne and wine packages paired with peking duck and dim sum are available. The Hakkasan Terrace dining menu includes the popular Hakka steamed and fried dim sum platters as well as a choice of small eats including vegetarian options.
With a calendar of local and international DJ’s setting the vibe, the Hakkasan Terrace is also the perfect place to enjoy sundowners and post-brunch drinks on a Friday afternoon. This is an absolute must-visit on the tourist trail if you want to wow friends and family.
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Thursday – Friday: 6pm to 2am and Saturday – Wednesday: 6pm until 1.30am
Buddha Bar Beach
The celebrated Buddha-Bar brand took up residence on Saadiyat beach at the magnificent St Regis Saadiyat resort earlier this year. Buddha Bar Beach is a day-to-night destination perched right on the shore of the Arabian Gulf, enjoy the sea breeze and lapping waves as you sip on signature sundowners and premium beverages.
Famed mixologists have devised an exquisite cocktail menu to complement the menu of Japanese and pan-Asian flavors with a Mediterranean twist. As the sun sets, take a seat on the terrace or down on the beach and enjoy the relaxed vibe with DJ’s and the resident saxophonist entertaining guests at the daily Sunset Sessions. Another spot that’s perfect for pre and post dinner drinks and a must-do with visitors.
Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Daily from 5:00pm – 1:00am weekdays (2:00am weekends)
The Roof Bar at Turtle Bay
Cocktails and premium beverages are offered on the elegant open-air rooftop terrace atop of the Turtle Bay Bar & Grill, one of the two new outdoor bars at the Saadiyat Resort & Villas (the other being Nasma mentioned above). With its elevated position, The Roof Bar is set above swaying palms with stunning beach, pool and resort views, a perfect spot to catch the breeze and take in the vista.
Chill-out music and a menu of light bites and drinks makes this intimate venue a great place to kick back while enjoying sundowners, relax for after work drinks, catch-up with friends as well as post-dinner drinks.
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill Rooftop Terrace, Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Daily 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
Smokin’ Pineapple may not be your average goto everyday beach bar, but the capital’s ultimate beach hangout located at Zaya Nurai Island, is a little slice of heaven. While I’m not suggesting you hop on a boat, unless you own one of course, and head to the boutique luxury resort just for sundowners I do recommend, if you find yourself visiting the island on a day trip or staying there, to be sure to check out this bohemian beauty at sunset.
Situated on the Southern side of the island Smokin’ Pineapple bar and lounge can be reached by bike, golf cart or on foot. Relax in a hammock slung between swaying palm trees, swing out across the ocean or just relax in a tepee on the beach amidst the dreamcatchers. Sip sundowners while perched on one of the swings at the bar, kick back in the low-slung seating areas or on a deck chairs on the terrace. For those who don’t already know, Zaya Nurai Island is a boutique luxury resort located on a private atoll just a short 12-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi’s mainland.
Smokin’ Pineapple, Zaya Nurai Island, GPS location 24° 36.880′, 54° 28.567’, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am – 10:00pm
Read more about in previous post My Top Five Places for Sunset Drinks | Abu Dhabi
All the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos on this page copyright Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Additional Buddha Bar Beach and The Roof Bar at Turtle Bay photos used with courtesy of the respective venues.