Cave

We head to the Conrad Hotel’s new bar to see how it measures up compared to the city’s other offerings. With more than 500 bottles of grape, this Parisian-inspired nightspot has successfully captured a sense of chic, Gallic style. Through a clever use of lighting it even feels a little like a cave, albeit an extremely nicely kitted out one, with lots of dark wood, backlit latticing, exposed brick work and funky furniture and features. When we dropped by, there were cool young professionals milling about — think young trendy French business types and couples. If you’re the sort of connoisseur who prefers to sip your grape without a fug of smoke, there’s an area to the front of the venue, with the smoking area to the rear for any wannabe Serge Gainsbourgs. The tone of the nightspot is one of sophisticated relaxation — so much so in fact that there are bed sofas to chill leisurely with a glass of something special. And we’re impressed with the grape on offer. The drinks aren’t cheap — we opted for a drink at the lower end of the price range and it still came in at Dhs60 but it was memorably good. We were also impressed by the staff — they were attentive, accommodating and also a little cool, without being intimidating. As well as the varied selection of grapes from across the world there’s also a decent mixed drinks menu, and everything we tried was prepared impeccably. Alongside the drinks, there’s a food menu of Parisian delicacies including escargots (snails), lobster and cheese (so it’s pretty French). Although, as with most bars in the city, The Cave is located in a hotel, but with its little alcoves and booths, it doesn’t feel as such, which is no mean feat. If we were going to knock the place, there’s an ever-so-small sense of over-designed perfection and this can feel ever-so-slightly impersonal. Yet this really is being harsh. If you’re Downtown, you have the cash, and you fancy a glass of grape, we are struggling to think of anywhere that beats this outstanding venue.

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