Chill Rooftop Lounge

Bur Dubai is one of the last places we’d expect to find a rooftop bar. Oh, the newer parts of the city are awash with them, sure, but the Bur has always struck us as more of a grungy hotel bar kind of place. So imagine our surprise when we were invited to a ‘chic rooftop oasis’ from the architect who designed Chi@ the Lodge and Keva. First impressions were grand: clearly going for an off-kilter design aesthetic, the expansive rooftop is clad in teak, slate, pink paint and, er, fake grass. Towards the edges of the venue, the tables and chairs give way to four-poster beds and love seats, allowing for everything from raucous group parties to romantic tête-à-têtes. The amenities on offer are similarly varied. If you just need to sit in the sun and check your emails, there’s free wi-fi access. If you need to relax, there’s reflexology from three trained experts (Dhs55 for feet; Dhs70 for arms and shoulders). And if you just want to sprawl on the beds and explore the fairly large drinks menu or try the food (the bruschetta with beef tomatoes is extraordinary) then you’re welcome to do that as well. And on the weekends it turns from a chilled bar into an al fresco club, something that the venue — with its size and powerful speakers — can certainly support. But the longer we stayed there, the more the disparity between what Chill wants to be and what it is became obvious. The ‘chic’ furniture looks oddly like it came from Ikea; the fake grass is just weird, and the view of Bur Dubai’s squat buildings is a far cry from the Sheikh Zayed bars it imitates. It’s like watching a good, straight-to-DVD horror flick: it’s got the shape and form of its wealthier brothers, but is obviously constrained by its budget. But it’s not without its charms, there is little like it in the areas and we certainly look forward to watching it grow over the coming years.

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