Dubai to open UAE's first licensed cinema

Reel Cinemas set to team up with celebrity chef Guy Fieri at Jebel Ali Recreation Club

Reel Cinemas and celebrity chef Guy Fieri have teamed up for a cinema in Jebel Ali Recreation Club. Ethan Miller / Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment / AFP
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Dubai is set to host the Middle East's first licensed cinema thanks to a partnership between Reel Cinemas, celebrity chef and Diners, Drive‑Ins and Dives star Guy Fieri and the Jebel Ali Recreation Club.

Reel Cinemas teased the news on Instagram last night, along with the caption "Holy Moli Stamboli! Any idea what celebrity chef & restaurateur will be joining the #ReelCinemas family at our brand new location at @jebelaliclub ?! #ComingSoon" before revealing Fieri's identity on the Reel Cinemas website today.

Reel stated on the site “Reel Cinemas has teamed up with international superstar chef Guy Fieri to launch the first stand-alone Guy Fieri Kitchen & Bar and Dine-in Cinema in the Middle East at the recently renovated Jebel Ali Recreation Club. Synonymous with American-style cuisine, food will reflect his signature style, taking inspiration from his most renowned dishes.”

Fieri already operates more than 50 restaurants in the US, though this will be the first time he has brought his take on burgers, brisket and BBQ to a cinema setting.

What is perhaps most intriguing is what the non-family setting could do for the programming policy of the cinema. Could the lack of pressure to screen constant blockbuster fare mean that less mainstream cinema will finally find a permanent home in the UAE, and that cinephiles in the region finally get the permanent indie and arthouse cinema they crave?

An opening date has yet to be announced.