Abu Dhabi F1 2020: Seven hot spots to soak up the Grand Prix atmosphere

From daytime brunches to celebrations that go on into the early hours

The 2020 Formula 1 season draws to a close this weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Returning to Yas Island from Thursday, December 10, with the race taking place on Sunday, December 13, proceedings this year are set to be a little different.

The coronavirus pandemic means that this year’s race will be held behind closed doors, with no paying spectators allowed.

The virus has also put paid to the planned entertainment schedule that usually accompanies the race, which in years gone by has seen the likes of The Killers, Guns N' Roses and The Weeknd play to thousands of fans at du Arena.

While none of that will be going ahead this year, a number of Abu Dhabi’s bars and restaurants will be celebrating the weekend with race-themed events.

Here are some ways to get into the F1 spirit in the capital …

Coya Abu Dhabi’s Peruvian pit lane

One of the capital's top restaurants will be transformed into a Peruvian pit lane for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On Sunday, December 13, Coya Abu Dhabi will be showing the action live – each table will be equipped with individual iPads and there will also be big-screen televisions – while the kitchen will be serving a race-themed menu.

A sharing-style platter will feature steamed buns filled with beef cheeks, passion fruit, hollandaise and pickled cucumbers; grilled prawn maki rolls; wagyu carpaccio maki rolls and yuca frita with Chilean sea bass, shrimp and manchego. There will also be a choice of main courses, with options including Coya favourites such as beef ribs and chargrilled sea bream. The menu is priced at Dh450, inclusive of premium beverages.

The menu will also be available on Saturday, although without the main race action.

Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13; 4.30pm-7.30pm; Dh450; Coya, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island; 02 306 7000; coyarestaurant.com

Stars 'n' Bars launches race weekend brunches 

Between Friday and Sunday, December 11 and December 13, popular Yas Island spot Stars 'n' Bars will be celebrating race weekend with three themed brunches. Close enough to hear the roar of the cars as they fly around the nearby Yas Marina Circuit, the brunches will take place between 1pm and 5pm, and will feature a mix of sharing starter platters and an a la carte main course. There will also be an after-party from 5pm to 8pm, with a number of deals available. Reservations are mandatory.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 1pm-8pm; from Dh395; Stars 'n' Bars, Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 565 0101, starsnbars.ae

Cipriani serves up Italian classics and circuit views

The chic Yas Island favourite will be welcoming race fans across the F1 weekend, serving up the Italian dishes they’re famous for, alongside views of the Yas Marina Circuit.

From Friday to Sunday, December 11 to December 13, guests will be treated to the restaurant's signature a la carte menu for lunch and dinner, which features an array of traditional family dishes and classic Italian treats built on Cipriani's concept of "simple Italian food made to perfection".

Menu highlights include carpaccio, steak tartare, baked tagliolini with veal ham, and homemade ricotta gnocchi al gorgonzola. Reservations are mandatory (limited to three hours), with access to Yas Marina only for guests with reservations.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 12pm-12am; a la carte; Cipriani, Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 657 5400, ciprianiyasisland.com 

Iris Yas Island's lounge-style brunch

Cool and chic, with an unapologetically fun-loving air, head to Iris Yas Island for a race-day weekend that will have you lingering long after the last car has crossed the finish line. Brunch is served from 1pm to 5pm, with an array of dishes brought to your table, including dumplings and gyoza, sushi, fish tacos and delicious pastas.

Dine against a backdrop of chilled party music as the vibe carries on long after the sun goes down.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 1pm-5pm, ladies' package Dh350, men’s package Dh500; Iris Yas Island, Yas Marina, Building 1, ground floor, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; 055 160 5636, irisabudhabi.com

Mr Miyagi’s Race-Y weekend brunch

Anything goes (well, almost) at this fun and vibrant venue that's a firm favourite with the post-work Yas Island crowd. Extending their usual opening hours until 4am over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, pre-book your package and tuck into five courses of delicious Japanese dishes, while enjoying three hours of free-flowing beverages between December 11 and 13.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 1pm-4pm and 4pm-7pm, Dh249 (pre-pay only), 7pm-4am (a la carte menu with minimum spend); Mr Miyagi's Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina, Yas Island; 02 565 1150, mr-miyagis.com

Aquarium's brunch 'til dawn packages

Right in the heart of Yas Marina, enjoy gorgeous views while you tuck into fresh seafood and soak up the race-day atmosphere at Aquarium Seafood Restaurant. This year, the award-winning restaurant will be transformed into a lounge over Formula One weekend, making the terrace the centre of all the action. Get into the F1 spirit against a soundtrack of revving engines and live entertainment, and enjoy daily race promotions and packages across several sessions which run from 1pm to 3am.

There are four packages to choose from: the brunch session from 1pm to 4pm, sunset session from 4pm to 7pm, evening session from 7pm to 10pm and the night session from 10pm to 4am. All are available across the three days of the race weekend from Friday to Sunday, December 11 to December 13.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 1pm-4pm (Dh350, unlimited brunch and house beverages), 4pm-7pm (Dhs350, unlimited canapes and house beverages), 7pm-10pm (Dh350, dinner and welcome bubbles), 10pm-4am (Dh250 minimum spend, credited to the bill); Aquarium Seafood Restaurant, Yas Marina, Yas Island; 02 565 0007, aquariumyasmarina.com

Casa De Cuba’s Race to Cu-bar brunch

The energetic Abu Dhabi hotspot is throwing its doors open again, just in time for the F1 weekend. Reopening on Friday, December 11, this Cuban favourite will be hosting guests across the three-day Grand Prix weekend, offering three different timings and two packages.

Package timings are from 1pm to 4pm or 4pm to 7pm, and after 7pm, diners can choose from the a la carte menu, with a minimum spend required. For Dh249, enjoy free-flowing beverages and a tapas bites sharing platter, while resident DJ Thomas Gavin plays the best Latino, salsa and reggae tunes all weekend.

Friday to Sunday, December 11 to 13; 1pm-4pm, 4pm-7pm Dh249 (pre-pay only), and from 7pm-4am (a la carte menu with minimum spend); Casa De Cuba, Yas Marina, Yas Island; 056 7247 435, micasadecuba.com