wanderlustHipster Dubai: from industrial chic to hand-roasted coffee

Dubai is embracing a new age of urban development, as hip as it is happening

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Dubai has been at the cutting edge of urban development for over a decade. Its Space Age skyscrapers rise serenely from the low desert plains, dwarfing even the time-honoured high-rises of New York or Chicago. Meanwhile, its public spaces are futuristic oases, sporting water jets one-hundred feet tall alongside immaculately manicured green gardens. Now Dubai is embracing the future yet again. The city is channelling its creative talent; infusing new cafés, bars, galleries and even hotels with a fresh industrial chic. The result are spaces as innovative as they are essential, combining the contemporary conveniences one expects of Dubai with a modern style that makes even Brooklyn feel dated.

Dubai man drinking coffee

 

Cafés

Perhaps the most accurate gauge of a city’s trendiness is its collection of cafés. Much more than just a stop-off point for espresso, the café has undergone a global revolution in the 21st century; becoming a social, working and dining environment. Each in Dubai is a precise work of art. One of the founding fathers of Dubai’s café movement was RAW, which has been championing sustainable, responsibly sourced coffee for over a decade. Its warehouse interior is dressed in metallic hues, with distressed wooden surfaces and exposed masonry.

More recent additions include the debonair Mokha 1450 Coffee Lounge, whose interiors are inspired by the Ethiopian and Yemeni origins of coffee cultivation. Or, for a completely different setting, opt for the pristine geometric whites of the villa-based Alchemy Dubai. Then there’s Social Company, whose distressed wooden interior, mismatched furniture and superb coffee make it the perfect meet, sip and work space.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel Bar with people drinking

 

Bars

With stunning desert and coastal vistas, Dubai is perfectly positioned for the most desired of all nightlife destinations: the rooftop bar. The city’s canopy of sleek high rises is alight with animated convivia. Atop Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Uptown Bar serves majestic mixological masterpieces in an al fresco, yacht-deck-like setting. Likewise, above the fashionable Dubai Marina, the French bistro Atelier M is home a conservatory-like palatial rooftop, with a stylish island bar and a 360 degree view over central Dubai.

Private preview of Rachid Koraichi at Elmarsa Gallery Image credit Pia Torelli

 

Galleries

Dubai’s art scene is reflective of its diverse contemporary culture and extraordinary Gulf heritage, with some of today’s most expressive, emotive art coming out of its vibrant galleries. Elmarsa Gallery in Al Quoz focuses on Middle Eastern prodigies, showcasing pieces that explore themes relating to Arab heritage and its place in the modern world. The gallery itself is spacious, dressed in minimalist whites that heighten its extraordinarily colourful artwork.

Oblong Gallery opening evening white room paintings

Other impressive outposts include the 1x1 Art Gallery, also in Al Quoz, which focuses on the unique intersection of Indian and Arabic designs in Dubai, as well as Oblong Art Gallery, which places Dubai’s culture in conversation with that of Pietrasanta in Tuscany to create truly unique master works.

Zabeel House lobby and desk

 

Hotels

Dubai’s hotels are synonymous with luxury, and the city’s hippest hotspots are no exception. Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens is helming the next generation of hotels, combining all the hallmarks of high-end hospitality with an emphasis on local community. Here, restaurants, office space and cafés coalesce, used by hotel guests and neighbours alike. The hotel’s interiors are inspired by New York’s hippest boroughs, bringing the trendy styles of Brooklyn and TriBeCa to Dubai.