Out of Hours: WiFi hotspots
Relax and surf… and eat
With the help of www.timeoutdubai.com we have rounded up the strongest browsing spots in Dubai, all in, around or a short hop from Dubai World Trade Centre. You can catch up on email, browse and enjoy some great food.
We’ve rated each venue on the vibe, the people and the food served, as well as its unique selling points. So we suggest you give yourself a stretch after that GITEX day and set out for a view of Dubai Fountain, a lush green garden, or a host of other free Wi-Fi zones.
The vibe: This bright, light-filled venue is lined with handsome pale-wood furniture, and tempts the taste buds with beautifully displayed salads, cakes and preserves.
The people: It’s populated by the tanned, toned, annoyingly healthy Marina set.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Where to start? We’re big fans of the breakfasts, so would recommend the blueberry pancake and fantastic shakshouka.
Why go? If you live in or around the Marina, this is as good a spot as any to come for breakfast and/or a light lunch.
Behind Marina Promenade building, Dubai Marina (04 362 4686).
The vibe: A faux-bohemian venue with a faux-psychedelic hippy atmosphere. Even the password for the free Wi-Fi fits in with the theme, though you’ll have to pay a visit to find out what it is.
The people: A multicultural melting pot.
What to order with your: Wi-Fi Grab a sandwich – the grilled salmon or steak options are real treats – or go for a full meal.
Why go? It’s a great place to relax, have a bite to eat and browse the web, and the downstairs area is surprisingly quiet if you have serious work to do.
The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, www.bohousecafe.com (04 429 8655).
The vibe: There’s an old-school feel to this popular golf clubhouse, bar and restaurant.
The people: Expect to see sun-kissed, well-fed golfers and Emirates Hills residents.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: Stick to the club sandwiches and burger options. The venue also holds themed food nights – look out for the Sri Lankan night on Wednesdays.
Why go? It’s the perfect opportunity to tap away at your computer against a backdrop of rolling, manicured green lawns and the imposing Marina skyline.
The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills (04 390 5600).
Caribou Coffee, JBR
The vibe: A cosy, family-friendly café chain.
The people: Pram-wielding mums, local residents of all ages, and occasional business types talking shop.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: There are a range of pastries and sweet treats, though the draw is the decent coffee.
Why go? The JBR branch is surprisingly cosy, featuring comfortable pleather chairs, and there are a few nooks and crannies where you can retreat for some privacy.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 427 0543).
The vibe: Lush, leafy and slightly surreal, the garden centre is a surprisingly popular destination for Dubaians. It might have something to do with the occasional live music and free wireless internet.
The people: Expats in the know.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: The garden centre’s main café serves a selection of nostalgic, simple dishes such as jacket potatoes and beans on toast.
Why go? As you’d expect, Dubai Garden Centre is thick with foliage, making it a nice lush, leafy retreat in which to lose yourself in your work or catch up with your relatives online.
Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz, www.desertgroup.ae (04 340 0006).
The vibe: Tucked away in Wafi’s mall, Elements is a sports bar/restaurant/shisha lounge rolled into one.
The people: You’ll find plenty of locals whiling away the time reading, browsing the web or smoking shisha with friends.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: We’d recommend the saj starters.
Why go? Well, if you’re a shisha-smoking internet user, why wouldn’t you go?
Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4252).
The vibe: A convivial, sometimes rowdy Irish-themed pub.
The people: The bar draws a broad range, from young professionals to weathered expats.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: McGettigan’s serves great pub grub, dishing up hearty servings of homely food such as fish and chips or bangers and mash.
Why go? This isn’t the place to finish that all-important presentation – it can get rather boisterous. However, there are few better places to chat to your friends online with a drink in hand.
Bonnington Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.mcgettigansdubai.com (04 356 0560).
The vibe: Sleek and professional, with many a MacBook in sight.
The people: Think skinny jeans and thick-rimmed glasses.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Try the all-day breakfast (chicken sausages, scrambled eggs and baked beans), confit duck flatbread or Angus beef flatbread. The coffee is particularly good.
Why go? The whole point of Make is to give freelancers and entrepreneurs a place to meet, brainstorm and, ultimately, work. There are also plenty of power points, so your laptop won’t be in danger of running
out of juice.
Al Fattan House, Dubai Marina, www.makebusinesshub.com (04 392 9216).
Little More Café
The vibe: In spite of the ‘Little’ prefix, this place has quite a spacious, relaxed vibe.
The people: The folks that frequent this new venue are a mixed bunch, from the coffee-morning crew to dishevelled shoppers and those wanting a pre-cinema snack.
What to eat with your Wi-Fi: The menu is extensive considering the purported smallness of the venue. We enjoyed the Thai mango salad, teriyaki salmon and poffertjes (mini pancakes) on our last visit.
Why go? The food is very good and, considering More’s proximity to the shops and cinema, it’s a perfect place to catch up on your emails before embarking on some fun extra-curricular activities.
Dubai Marina Mall (04 432 4608).
The vibe: A spacious, eclectic café setup.
The people: Its location in Media City ensures this venue is populated by media types – from journalists to sales execs.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The bakery does a great coffee-and-croissant deal for Dhs16, which can be consumed as you browse the newswires. We’d also recommend the ‘power smoothie’: banana, strawberry, peaches, blueberry, fresh mint and honey.
Why go? Admittedly, it’s taken us a while to warm to Pascal Tepper, which suffered a few teething problems when it first opened in 2011. However, the service has found its feet and the food is much better than it used to be. The pièce de résistance is the speedy Wi-Fi connectivity.
Dubai Media City, near Radisson Blu Hotel, www.pascaltepperfrenchbakery.com (04 454 2408).
The vibe: Rustic, upmarket and sophisticated.
The people: It’s full of trendy JBR types who are looking for superior café fare than that served elsewhere on The Walk.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The list of breakfasts, sandwiches and drinks is impressive. Order a sandwich and it comes on freshly baked bread with a choice of sides: the home-made coleslaw is delicious.
Why go? The energetic atmosphere and plentiful seating options upstairs and down make this a great place to spend the day working without feeling like you’re actually working… if you catch our drift.
The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, www.saladicious.com (04 423 0855).
The vibe: Arty and hip, but restfully hushed.
The people: It’s populated by creative thinkers and young-ish media types, most of whom seem to be armed with MacBooks.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: The café serves healthy-sounding sandwiches, wraps and cakes. If you arrive early, the breakfasts are worth a try (we like the eggs Benedict).
Why go? Feeling short on inspiration? The artworks hanging in the Pavilion’s galleries should get the creative juices flowing, or you can browse the arty books on the sizeable shelves. At worst, just sit back and people-watch as you browse the web.
Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, www.pavilion.ae (04 447 7025).
The vibe: A reliable, relatively healthy fast-food restaurant serving Asian eats.
The people: Tourists and families looking for a quick feed.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: You can’tgo wrong with Wagamama’s ramen options – we’d recommend the ramen noodles in chicken soup topped with marinated chicken, or the chilli beef ramen. The venue is also licensed, meaning you can order a drink to accompany your web session.
Why go? If you want to sit down for a quick, decent meal and catch up with your emails, this is as good a place as any. Note: customers are given free hour-long Wi-Fi access, which the friendly staff will happily renew on request.
Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 305 6060).
The vibe: A health-conscious, sustainable fast-food joint.
The people: Creative, stylish and hungry.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Wild Peeta serves contemporary, cosmopolitan variations on traditional shawarmas.
Why go? The high stools and benches are a great place to do some serious work, and there’s even a wipe-clean ‘thought wall’ for brainstorming.
World Trade Centre Convention Center, next to World Trade Centre metro station (055 895 7672).
The vibe: A modern Lebanese restaurant and café that offers great views of the nearby Dubai Fountain.
The people: Tourists, shoppers, regulars – a rich, diverse mix of people.
What to order with your Wi-Fi: Nothing on the menu is fried, which makes this Lebanese fare some of the healthiest around. The kebabs deserve a special mention for their succulence and tenderness.
Why go? The fountain views and friendly service make this a nice place to hang out – the free Wi-Fi is an added bonus.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 448 6060).