Top Ten Places To Meet Mates For A Non-Boozy Catch Up
Sometimes you just want a bit of a natter without losing your senses!
It's the middle of the day and you're meeting a BFF or two for a long overdue catch up, but you really don't want to drink, or be surrounded by the loud and intoxicated brunch crowd. Where to go?
10. Baker & Spice – Dubai Marina or Souk Al Bahar
There's a few branches around town – so, it's easy to find one near you, but these two are our favourite:
With an amazing setting on the Marina Promenade, choose a seat indoors in the cool and deliciously-smelling restaurant-cum-bakery, or opt for the shady outdoor area that looks out onto the Marina. Baker & Spice is so tranquil (on the quieter side of the Marina) and serves such good food, that you and your mates could spend hours sipping on coffee, smoothies or fruit juices. Same goes for the Souk Al Bahar setting, looking out at the Burj Khalifa while you munch on (probably) the best avo on toast. Be sure to try the variety of Danishes available or the Blueberry Pancakes!
9. Common Grounds – Mall of The Emirates
Not only one of our fave Instagram accounts to stalk when we're hungry, it's also a great place to just 'hang out'. Meet mates between a bit of shopping at the mall, or just before you head into the cinema (Common Grounds do a special cinema deal that includes a ticket to a VOX screening). This is a cool place to chat and people watch at the same time, as it's clean modern decor and superfood options attract the hip crowd of Dubai. Relax and be sure to try the eclairs, lamingtons or cronuts...all washed down with one of their special brews...as in they do a mean variety of cuppas.
8. The Surf Cafe – Jumeriah Beach Road
Amazing breakfasts, specialist coffees, desserts to die for and a SUSHI BAR!! What more could you ask for? To be a few steps away from the beach maybe? Yep, The Surf Cafe has got that covered too. This is an idyllic (and oozes cool at the same time) place to hang out with your mates. Don't fancy sushi or something healthy? Give the tasty burgers or fish and chips a whirl.
7. Sahn Eddar – Burj Al Arab
Want somewhere a little posher for a special catch up? Head to Sahn Eddar in the atrium at the Burj Al Arab. it's not booze-free, so you can even grab a little cocktail or glass of bubbles but there's no noisy drinkers in here to disturb your chat. Opt for pastries, breakfast, the afternoon tea, the high tea or just go a la carte...then sit back and enjoy the atmosphere...accompanied by the melodic sounds of the arabic band, harpist or classical quartet that play daily.
6. The Cheesecake Factory – JBR (Plus Various Locations)
If you want a fun rather than posh setting, and don't mind a bit of background chatter to drown out the very personal conversations you and your mates are likely to be having, then one of the cute little booths at The Cheesecake Factory is for you. You can't argue that the food is DELICIOUS! We're hooked on the fish tacos (opt for the crispy tempura version), the freshly baked pizzettas and the huge, tasty Shepherd's Pie (there's always enough to take a doggy bag with you). And this is before we even get to the CHEESECAKE. Every single one is OUT OF THIS WORLD...but a special shout out to the 'Fresh Banana Cream' and the 'Orea Dream Extreme'. There's four locations dotted around Dubai but head to the one in JBR for a little less noise, less chance of having to queue (like the MOE one) and the option to walk off your indulgences along the beach.
5. Tom & Serge – Al Quoz
Ok, this one might be a bit obvious...but we still love it, so, Tom & Serge takes our number 5 slot. The industrial-yet-comfy interior, the chilled vibe, the tasty coffee and the delicious food...need we go on? Get yourself down there for breakfast (opt for the Goji Berry Bircher followed by the Banana Bread), lunch or dinner...it's the perfect back drop for a catch up.
4. Fraiche – JLT
A familiar name on the lists we compile here at Lovin Dubai and for good reason too. The first reason being their rather excellent all-you-can-eat breakfast option (in particular the inclusion of french toast), you could spend hours there, followed by the rather lovely, comfy and inviting decor. Fraiche is a haven from anything bad the outside world might have to throw at you...take a seat, order the steak and eggs and have a proper chinwag.
3. The Scene – Dubai Marina
Ok, Ok...so they do serve booze...and they're very good at it. But try a lunch or breakfast catch up at The Scene for a more peaceful and chilled experience, with a view to match. If the weather allows, opt for one of the outside tables, if not, the indoor booths are a good shout. The decor is a higgledy piggledy mix of non-matching lampshades, sofas and chairs with cool-as-you-like artwork from Dubai's very own Drawdeck. Not boozing? No worries, the non-alcoholic cocktails are some of the best in the Emirate.
2. Friends' Avenue Cafe – JLT
If you're you into Tom & Serge and all those other hipster-style places that do great food...you're going to love Friends Avenue. It's the cool-as-a-cucumber place to hang out...without having to drive to an industrial site with nothing around you for miles. Set in JLT, looking down over one of the lakes, this booze-free eatery will have you whiling away the hours. While you're there...be sure to grab one of their delicious burgers or wraps and wash down with a top-notch milkshake.
1. Leopold's of London – JBR
Quite possibly the most underrated non-booze establishment in Dubai, Leopold's is a total and utter favourite with the tea and coffee lovers in our office. The food is delicious...whether you go for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the view is one of the best: grab a sofa seat on the terrace and look out over JBR beach and the staff are as friendly and accommodating as they come. The cherry on the cake (by the way the cakes here are also amazing) is the tea library...where the tea doctor (yep, that's an actual job) will talk you through over 70 teas and let you have a little try until you find the one for you. They have their own coffee roastery and coffee lab too...order the 'siphon' for an experience straight out of a science lab. The interior is cool and relaxing...perfect for a catch-up that will last hours!