Dubai is officially home to some of the best bars in the Middle East and Africa.
The World’s 50 Best Bars were announced in a glittering ceremony held in Barcelona on Tuesday, with Zuma Dubai topping the list for the region.
Dubai International Financial Centre spot came in at number 38, making it the highest-placing bar in the Middle East and Africa.
“While Zuma has venues all over the globe, it is the Dubai spot of this modern Japanese izakaya that has become renowned,” World’s 50 Best said in its listing.
Neighbouring spot Galaxy Bar also made the list, coming in at number 45. The bar in Gate Village, which is part of the Tashas Group, was credited for its “warm hospitality” and “Greek roots”.
“Having started out as a storeroom, Galaxy Bar is comparatively small compared to Dubai’s other F&B outlets, but the late-night lounge feels sultry and intimate, with a ceiling of lights designed to look like stars in the night sky," World's 50 Best said.
“Decor here nods to classical Greek architecture, with blue hues and a stunning marble bar surrounded by a cascading twilight blue wall. Stay for a quiet one or stick around for DJs and dancing into the wee hours.”
Both bars were also included in last year's list. And in 2020, Galaxy Bar was described as “one to watch” by the World’s 50 Best organisation.
Bulgari Bar, at the Bulgari Hotel in Dubai, also made its debut on the list, coming in at number 50. Last year, it was included in the extended list at number 58.
“The glamorous space boasts views of the marina, custom-designed chandeliers hung in the shape of the Bulgari logo and black Portoro marble,” the World's 50 Best said. “Bulgari Bar’s menu draws inspiration from flowers and colours, using natural ingredients — of which every part is used — to create striking and unexpected drinks.”
Barcelona’s Paradiso was named the best bar in the world, the first time an establishment outside London or New York has taken the top spot.
The Mediterranean-style speakeasy, which placed third on last year’s list, is entered through the freezer door of a pastrami bar in Barcelona's El Born district.
The Dubai inclusions on the list are yet another accolade for the city’s food and drink scene, which has had an influx of global recognition this year.
In February, the inaugural Mena 50 Best Restaurants took place, with 19 UAE restaurants included and Dubai’s 3 Fils taking the top spot.
It was followed by the arrival of Dubai’s first Michelin Guide in June, in which 11 restaurants in the city were awarded coveted stars.