New jazz bar aims to bring French Riviera glamour to Abu Dhabi

Venue in Yas Marina is set to open as grand prix begins in the capital

Eddie Ghazal, left, and Hamdan Al Khafaji have brought the project to life at Yas Marina.
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The glamour of the Cote d’Azur will soon arrive in Abu Dhabi – through Penelope’s Brasserie and Jazz Bar Americain, which is scheduled to open on November 17.

The Art Deco-inspired venue promises to transport guests back to the Jazz Age of the French Riviera – think traditional brasserie dining, bespoke cocktails and, of course, live jazz music.

This is a huge pledge, because the French Riviera is synonymous with the genre. The world's first major jazz festival was in the south-eastern French city of Nice in 1948.

Penelope’s is located in Yas Marina, with the opening planned to coincide with the start of Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Yas Marina seamlessly mirrors the yachts, sparkling waters and warm sunny weather of the French Riviera,” Penelope’s said.

A passion project of Hamdan Al Khafaji, the restaurateur behind the Mexican La Carnita, and Layla Kardan, the jazz artist behind the famed Papillon cabaret club in Dubai, Penelope’s has been brought to life by Eddie Ghazal, the creative mind behind Dubai’s Canary Club and Tikis rooftop and lounge.

Restaurateur Hamdan Al Khafaji and Dubai-based Iranian jazz artist Layla Kardan. Supplied

Penelope's menu will feature sharing-style French Mediterranean cuisine. Guests will be treated to live jazz performances, and possibly an occasional show by Kardan herself, who popularised soulful songs such as Goddess, As One and Closer.

The venue adds to the ever-growing space of “eat-ertainment” destinations in the UAE — places that offer dinner with a show.

A host of such restaurants has opened in the past year, including Nova, Dream and The Theatre.

The concept, which has been popular in the West since the 1900s, was launched in the UAE in 2016, when Play Restaurant and Lounge brought live acts to Dubai.

Scroll through the gallery below to see other dinner-show destinations in Dubai

Updated: November 09, 2022, 6:24 AM