Dubai’s quirky cafes
While there are those restaurants you simply must visit for the food, these are the cafes in Dubai that you should go to for the experience. From feline-friendly coffee houses to cafes that double as art galleries and showrooms, Dubai has them all.
Of all the cafe concepts in Dubai, those that revolve around reading have proven most popular, with this unique cafe following in the footsteps of The Archive and The Magazine Shop (see below). This bright and airy family cafe is stacked with books for both kids and adults and customers are invited to read or buy as they tuck into boiled eggs and soldiers or carrot cake with walnuts. There's also a cosy, tented reading space at the back for children, and book signings are often hosted here.
Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road, opposite Al Reef Lebanese Bakery, Jumeirah
+971 4 388 4006
The Magazine Shop
Located in slick DIFC, this contemporary cafe allows the city’s suits and creatives to sip coffee as they browse a selection of underground culture and art magazines from all over the world. They’re heavily involved in the local art and design scene, often hosting events to support emerging artists and photographers and they also screen films and documentaries.
DIFC Gate Village 8, Podium Level
+971 56 432 9761
A few years ago this former toilet block inside Safa Park was transformed into a cafe, library and community space, breathing new life into the park with its contemporary design and stock of interesting photography and art books. During the cooler months The Archive often hosts local musicians, markets, calligraphy courses, poetry readings and yoga classes. The cafe is small, but it serves up all the necessities including coffee and muffins.
Safa Park, enter through Gate 1
+971 4 349 4033
The Middle East’s first cat cafe is based on cat-therapy concepts in Japan and Taiwan, where the theory is that customers are immediately calmed as they enjoy a cup of coffee in the presence of furry felines. Some of the 17 resident cats have been rescued, all different breeds and with names such as Mocha, Cappuccino, Mylo, Yoda and ET the hairless Sphynx. A minimum spend of AED50 per adult is required and bookings are strongly advised.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 3
+971 4 321 6661
With its quality roads and almost year-round sun, Dubai is prime for motorcycle clubs. This cafe combines two of life’s greatest kicks - coffee and custom-made bikes. At this leather jacket-friendly spot, customers can sip Raw organic coffee while browsing the warehouse’s collection of American-made motorcycles. All the bikes on show are for sale and include Choppers and old-school vintage creations.
Warehouse 7, 14 C, Umm Suqeim Road, Al Quoz 3
+971 4 321 4411