Amarillo

There aren’t a huge number of choices for a night out in JLT, which could explain why the announcement of the Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers’ new ‘tapastry’ bar was met with an inordinate amount of anticipation. Having heard Amarillo described, by one acquaintance, as ‘like an empty, abandoned spaceship that has never been used’, to say we were intrigued would be an understatement. Sadly, the alien life forms on board the basement-level vessel proved hostile, and our initial attempt at a review did not go to plan. Our open shoes and smart shorts (good enough for Al Qasr’s brunch the weekend before) were met with a steely glare and an education in the bar’s alarmingly lengthy list of dress code rules, helpfully pinned to the wall behind the hostess. We begged, pleaded, promised to hide in the corner and have only one drink, to no avail. We requested to ask the manager if he would make an exception, just this once, as the bar was utterly empty and we’d travelled so far, only to be advised we could wait back upstairs in the lobby for him to finish his meeting, whenever that may be. Eventually, our earnest exhausted, we admitted defeat and made tracks for the more welcoming lights of McGettigan’s. Nevertheless, on another visit we managed to secure not only access, but a seat and a beverage too. Once again, we were the only patrons, and once again, the staff treated us oddly, as if there was some sort of inside joke — though possibly they were just unused to the novelty of customers. For a Spanish bar the drinks selection was a little limited — there were no Spanish hops that you will find in others in Dubai. Not all of the drinks that were on the menu were actually available either, which seemed a little strange for somewhere that has only recently opened. We ended up with some draught Italian hops that were disappointing, lifeless and tasteless — we didn’t finish them. There is a mixed drinks menu that takes in recipes from all over the world, and there you will find some Spanish influence if you look hard enough. All considered, however, the Pullman’s basement bar feels like a terribly sad missed opportunity. Tens of thousands live and work in JLT, and another friendly, welcoming and relaxing place to unwind throughout the week would have been very welcome indeed. Depressingly, Amarillo is anything but.

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