The best places for shisha in Dubai
Secret gardens, Moroccan bars and beach-side cabanas – these are the emirate’s best hookah spots.Neil Churchill March 30, 2015
Smoking shisha is more than just a social pastime in Dubai, it's a cultural norm; an activity used to bond, forge and cement friendships over.
Many a business deal and romantic proposal have been struck up over a shisha pipe, and for some there is no better way to kick back than in a cloud of flavoured tobacco.
Most bars and restaurants in Dubai have shisha on the menu, with the variety of flavours ranging from the apple and mint classics to bubblegum, cappuccino and even cherry cola.
Below is our list of the best places for shisha in Dubai, and shisha alone. Food and drink does not affect this selection of hookah tobacco haunts, although location and views do play a part.
Smoky Beach, JBR
The newest shisha joint on the list has arguably the best location of them all. Part of The Beach at JBR development, with beanbags on the sand Smoky Beach is one of the few places in Dubai to offer shisha while you sunbathe. But it is in the evenings when this place really comes alive with the dimly lit venue bursting with people trying to get a seat, with opening hours lasting until 4am.
Modern looking shisha pipes made of glass and a tripod of metal add a funky touch along with the wicker furniture and colourful lamps. If you haven't been yet and consider yourself a shisha addict, get down there soon before the summer heat arrives.
The Palace Courtyard, One&Only Royal Mirage One&Only Royal Mirage is known for its two brilliant bars, Jetty Lounge and the Rooftop Terrace. While both of those serve shisha and are undeniably fantastic locations to enjoy a smoke, there is also the lesser known Palace Courtyard that is slightly more Arabic in look and feel than the other two.
Carpeted stone floors, big cushions to perch on, lit-up trees, plenty of foliage and outdoor heaters make this a real gem for enjoying a relaxing evening of shisha.
Moroc Lounge & Bar, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate
North African themed with touches of the Levant, Moroc is a somewhat unknown shisha bar that will win you over almost instantly. Nestled beneath the Battuta Gate, the small but brightly lit outdoor terrace offers a huge choice of flavoured shisha from its 'premium menu'.
The Moroccan touches and comfortable seating, along with heaters for the cooler months, provide a cosy environment that takes you away from nearby hustle and bustle, even though the main road is only 50 metres away.
Millennium Lounge, Meydan Hotel Its busiest weekend of the year may have just passed but there's reasons to visit Meydan Hotel all year round, one of them being shisha on the terrace at Millennium Lounge, located just off the main lobby.
Even without races on the course below, the view out across the huge grounds and colossal grandstand is spectacular and well worth admiring while you enjoy a shisha or two from one of the comfy armchairs. While on a race weekend it can be a busy, lively and energetic venue, go on a quiet day for a calm and serene atmosphere.
Shades, The Address Marina Shades is a textbook example of a high-end shisha bar. Set on the roof of the luxurious The Address Marina hotel, the stunning views out over the marina's skyscrapers and boats docked below offer a unique view to kick back and enjoy a smoke.
Comfortable seating for small parties and big groups are nestled along the the gorgeous infinity pool, while a DJ plays chilled out tunes, allowing you to enjoy your shisha until the early hours of the morning.
Shakespeare and Co, Downtown
There's few more popular places of an evening - any evening - in Dubai than Downtown's Souk al Bahar. With the musical fountains, Burj Khalifa and the surrounding hotels, Dubai Mall and sparkling palm trees, the area is a snapshot of modern Dubai. Shakespeare and Co is certainly not the only place to offer shisha in the vicinity - there's at least three others that we know of - but with its views of the musical fountains and the world's tallest building, we can't imagine going anywhere else for a smoke.
Shimmers, Madinat Jumeirah There's few better places to watch the sun go down than at Madinat Jumeirah - you are near enough guaranteed a jaw-dropping sunset every day. For some, that can only be improved by enjoying a tasty shisha at the same time, which is why Shimmers exists.
Found just off the beach - though you can have a specially arranged area made for you on the sand - Shimmers is a must-try shisha bar for those who love the Arabian touches and faux souks of the Madinat. It also comes with a cracking view of the Burj Al Arab to boot.
QD's, Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Something of an institution for weathered Dubai residents, QD's had a revamp last year, making it a more enjoyable place to smoke a shisha than ever before. Although with its spectacular views of the creek and attached golf course, you don't really go for the decor. A bit of a trek for those living in the opposite end of town, but well worth a visit if you're nearby.
The brains behind QD's also ensure it stays open during the hot summer months with an air conditioned tent.
Sunken Garden, The Ritz-Carlton DIFC A landmark of Dubai's financial district, The Ritz-Carlton has a number of fantastic bars and restaurants but its secret garden is where we recommend you go for shisha. Located out the back of Cafe Belge, with stone marble steps leading in from the above terrace, the Sunken Garden is a seriously cool alfresco space to take a load off after a long day in the office.
There are more than 30 different flavours of shisha on the menu, from traditional choices such as lemon mint and double apple, to exotic offerings like mango tango and raspberry cream. The really cool thing - literally - about this place is that it doesn't need air con or fans in summer. Such is the positioning of the tall buildings surrounding it, the heat and humidity are kept at bay.