The end of the year is nigh and here in Bahrain we’re ready to celebrate. Lazing by a swimming pool, topping up your tan might not be the Christmas card ideal of how to spend the winter months, but it is time to update your traditions. Who wants wet, cold and blustery at this time of year, anyway? While we’re happy to swap the prospect of an icy Christmas with bobble hats, scarves and gloves for summer shorts and suntan cream there are a few traditions we’re not ready to lose just yet.
Thankfully, there are traditional meals, tree lighting ceremonies and even carol singing events around the city to enjoy. Time Out Bahrain has picked out some of the best brunches, lunches and seven-course dinners to make the holidays extra-special this year. Plus, we’ve got the skinny on the top hotels that are offering takeaway turkey services for Christmas Day and, last but not at all least, we've rounded up the finest New Year’s Eve parties, so you can end the month and entire year in style.
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year indeed!
Sing, eat, decorate and gasp your way through a series of festive events, markets and activities in Bahrain this month.
Afternoon sky-high tea
Head up to Domain Privé, on the 36th floor of The Domain Hotel & Spa, for stunning views and a festive afternoon tea with seasonal pastries and freshly baked scones.
BD12++ (food only), BD17++ (with two glasses of bubbly). Noon-8pm. Dec 1-28. The Domain Hotel & Spa, Diplomatic Area (16 000 000).
Carol singing at The Crowne Plaza
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through Bahrain the quiet hum of carols could be heard. Don’t hold back on the festive singing – four days of carol concerts in The Crowne Plaza’s lobby comes with Christmas beverages, cookies and puddings.
Free. Dec 19-22, from 7.30pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Christmas afternoon tea at Furn Bakery
Enjoy the warmth of the festive season by catching up with good friends over a traditional, festive-themed afternoon tea with pastries and scones at the new bakery.
BD20++ (for two). Dec 1-25, 2pm-6pm. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Christmas karaoke at Txoko
Iiiiiiiiit’s Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas! Get your best Noddy Holder impression at the ready, as Christmas karaoke comes back to the 36th floor sky lounge, Txoko. There are big prizes, fun to be had and, we’re guessing, sympathy for performers in novelty hats and elaborate sweaters.
Free. Dec 1-23, 4pm-8pm. The Domain Hotel & Spa, Diplomatic Area (16 000 000).
Cooking master class at La Vinoteca Barcelona
Pastry chef Ajith Suranga and executive chef Joan Gomez will guide you through creating an array of unforgettable Christmas desserts in this masterclass at the upscale Spanish restaurant.
BD20 (including a takeaway package of sweets). Tue Dec 13, 6pm-8pm. La Vinoteca Barcelona, Adliya (17 007 808).
Festive brunch in Bushido
Head to this Samurai-inspired Japanese restaurant for a special festive-themed brunch, where a selection of traditional foods are on the buffet and at the carvery. This is a family-friendly occasion in a stunning setting.
BD18.5++ (soft drinks), BD24.5++ (house beverages). Fri Dec 23, noon-3.30pm. Bushido Restaurant, Seef (17 583 555).
Festive classics at La Fontaine
The contemporary art centre is hosting Bahrain-born brother and sister duo Danae Eleni and Kimon Pallikarapoulos, who are performing songs from opera and jazz, from Handel and Bach to Broadway and Berstein. Enjoy a festive dinner and welcome drink as they perform in the stunning courtyard.
BD20 (dinner, performance and one drink). Wed Dec 21, 7pm-10pm. La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art & Spa, Hoora (17 230 123).
Festive lunch with The Palm Association
Do your bit for charity and get a spot of Christmas shopping done at the same time, as the ladies from The Palm Association are hosting a festive lunch. There will be plenty of stalls to peruse, lots of food to eat and a shedload of seasonal spirit to enjoy. All proceeds will go to the Bahrain-based charity’s Feed A Family programme.
BD22. Wed Dec 7, from 11am. The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Diplomatic Area, www.thepalmassociation.com.
Garden tree lighting at La Vinoteca Barcelona and Café Amsterdam
We’re huge fans of the outdoor terrace shared by these top-notch European-style venues. It is where we held the Time Out Live! Bahrain Jams party and we’re polishing our stars and plumping up the tinsel in preparation for the tree lighting. There will be mince pies and mulled grape to enjoy with the seasonal atmosphere and gorgeous weather.
Free. Tue Dec 6, 6pm-8pm. La Vinoteca Barcelona and Café Amsterdam garden, Adliya (17 007 808).
Gingerbread house decorating and tea party at Downtown Rotana
Kids can enjoy tasty treats, yummy snacks and traditional foodie favourites at this festive-themed tea party, all while they decorate gingerbread houses in City Lobby Lounge.
BD10++ (per child). Dec 8-31. Fri-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun-Thu 4pm-8pm. Downtown Rotana, Manama (33 605 070).
Gingerbread house making at Furn Bakery
German Santa, Sven, will guide children through the gingerbread house making process and give kids a sweet lesson in how to decorate the increasingly popular edible ornament. Alternatively, you can take the kit away and make it at home.
BD10++ (per takeaway kit), BD14 (per child for the class, inclusive of the house). Saturdays, 4pm-8pm. Until Dec 24. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Gingerbread house making at Mövenpick
Decorate cookie houses with sweets and frosting while soaking up some essential pre-Christmas atmosphere in Muharraq. Chefs present a perfectly made house so all your little ones need to do is decorate it. It’s good fun for all the family.
BD10. Sat Dec 10, 4pm-6pm. Mövenpick Bahrain, Muharraq (17 460 017).
Santa Claus afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton
Schools have broken up for the Christmas holidays by this time, so an easy way to spend an afternoon is in the presence of Father Christmas. Oh, and there will be a chocolate buffet, as well as traditional scones and pastries, if you need more convincing. We’ll see you there with bells on.
BD18++ (adults), BD10++ (kids). December 17-23, 3pm-6pm. Lobby Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
Teddy bear afternoon tea and gingerbread making at The Ritz-Carlton
There is nothing obviously festive about a traditional afternoon tea, so children will be presented with their own gingerbread house to decorate at La Med. With some fundraising for environmental causes, too, it is a chance to be cosy, creative and well-fed. Also, if they can part with it, then the children can donate their old teddy bear to the charity as part of the hotel’s Community Footprints campaign.
BD22++ per child. Dec 10 and 17, 4.30pm-6.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
Tree lighting and carolling at Sofitel bahrain
Mark the holiday season at this beautiful Zallaq-based resort, as they light up the stunning Christmas tree and the hotel choir entertains us with beautiful renditions of traditional Christmas carols.
Free. Tue Dec 13, from 6pm. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, Zallaq (17 636 363).
Tree lighting at Downtown Rotana
In the heart of Manama, you can find a festive refuge with a giant tree and a lifesize gingerbread house in the Rotana’s lobby. The lights switch on at 5.30pm with an appearance from Santa dishing out toys and, also, a carol concert. On top of all that, there will be gingerbread decorating sessions from that date until the end of the month for just BD10, too.
Free. Thu Dec 8, from 5.30pm. Downtown Rotana, Manama (33 605 070).
Tree lighting at The Crowne Plaza
The Christmas tree lighting here is an annual highlight. Take your festive excitement to another level by joining the elves for cookies, carols and the switch-on of the lobby decorations in front of the giant gingerbread house.
Free. Thu Dec 8, from 7.30pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Christmas Eve meals
Do your celebrating the day before Christmas to leave the day itself free for presents, family and sitting around watching festive movies and eating sweets.
Load up on turkey and trimmings across the buffet pre-Christmas at Al Waha, where international selections are also available.
BD16++ (adults), BD8++ (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 7pm-10.30pm. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
The 28th floor sky lounge is hosting a grape and cheese night with artisanal dairy from Switzerland, France and Italy, all paired with grape and live music.
BD20. 8pm-11pm. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (66 310 000).
A big buffet the night before could be a tradition families hold on to for years and
Le Méridien is a good place to start. BD16++ (soft drinks), BD26++ (house beverages), BD13++ (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 6.30pm-11pm. Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Bahrain Bay Kitchen
A night of music and food so complete that we’re hoping it doesn’t distract Santa from the job in hand. Pan-seared scallops with celeriac fondue and slow-cooked wagyu short ribs are traditional, right? Don’t worry, there are sprouts and stollen being served here, too.
BD32++ (soft drinks), BD42++ (house beverages). 7pm-midnight. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (4494 8888).
CUT by Wolfgang Puck
Give somebody you really love an early gift and take them out for a holiday-inspired four-course dinner of soup, homemade pasta, roasted meats, fish and seasonal desserts at the celebrity chef’s steakhouse.
BD40++ (food only), BD50++ (beverage pairing). 7pm-11.30pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
There will be a lively atmosphere and plenty of noise when Canadian band Pop It and DJ Jonny de Karner perform at this party spot. Get a three-course meal or just a drink – it’s entirely up to you how you want to celebrate.
BD20 (unlimited beverages), BD10 (three-course meal and one drink). 9pm-2am. Ramee Palace Hotel, Juffair (33 544 291).
Flavours on 2
Rotana brunches tend to be plentiful and informal – what more could you want for a Christmas Eve tea? Eat your heart out, enjoy the live entertainment and also get involved with a raffle draw and potentially win an early Christmas present.
BD24++ (soft drinks), BD29++ (house beverages), BD12++ (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 6pm-11pm. Downtown Rotana, Government Avenue, Manama (33 605 070).
The festive buffet in this attractive restaurant includes seasonal drinks with red grape and mulled spices. The traditional food will get you feeling all Christmassy we’re sure.
BD35++ (adults), BD18++ (kids). 7pm-11pm.The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
Celebrate the Italian tradition of La Vigilia di Natale with home-style dishes made with love at the newly refurbished restaurant.
BD20++ (one glass of sparkling). 7pm-11pm. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
Sit down inside or on the lovely terrace for a whopping seven-course meal of delicious Italian dishes at this award-winning spot.
BD35++. 7pm-11pm. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
re / Asian Cuisine | Wolfgang Puck
Get an early night by doing your Christmas Eve celebrations early. The renowned Asian restaurant has a good-value deal at less than BD20 for a dim sum brunch.
BD19++ (six dishes). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
The Ritz-Carlton Gourmet Lounge
It is easy to over-indulge at a buffet, but with a feast to come on Christmas Day you may wish to have a smaller meal tonight. There are lighter dishes along with the decadent choices available at the quaint tea lounge.
BD25++. 7pm-11.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
The high ceilings and scarlet drapes make for a romantic atmosphere at this Chinese joint. Enjoy an intimate set menu for dinner with a loved one on Christmas Eve.
BD14.900++ (food only), BD19.900 (house beverages). 7pm-11.30pm. Sheraton Bahrain, Manama (17 533 533).
The set menu includes potato taleggio tortelli with black truffle, smoked salmon and panettone. Sounds better than staying in to us!
BD36++. 7pm-11pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
The seafood market brunch has masses of food (not just fish!) and the restaurant boasts a casual, Christmassy vibe.
BD38 (house beverages), BD18 (kids five to ten), free (kids under five). From 7pm. The Crowne Plaza, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Christmas Day meals
No washing up and no cooking, just great quality festive food and, if you’re lucky, an appearance from Father Christmas himself.
Get two shots at a slap-up Christmas meal as the Sheraton is hosting a festive lunch and a dinner. There is a party planned for kids, as well as more cakes, turkey, steak and festivity than Santa could stuff in his sack. You can’t possibly come back and do it all again in the evening for just BD12.900, can you?
Lunch: BD19.900++ (adults), BD9.950++ (kids four to 12), free (kids under four). Noon-4pm. Dinner: BD12.900++ (adults), BD6.450++ (kids four to 12), free (kids under four). 7.30pm-11.30pm. Sheraton Bahrain, Palace Avenue (17 533 533).
Both the award-winning, family-friendly Italian hotspot Rosso and Art Rotana’s international restaurant Choices are throwing a Christmas soirée with a difference. Live music, a visit from Father Christmas, kids’ games and a Santa’s sack full of seasonal surprises are on offer, alongside great food and plenty of festive flair.
Choices: BD25++ (soft drinks), BD35++ (house beverages). Rosso: BD15++ (soft drinks), BD20++ (house beverages). 12.30pm-5pm. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (16 000 111).
Live cooking stations and an easy-going festive charm make this a smart choice for Christmas brunch. Especially if you’re anticipating sneaking into the mall to top up somebody’s present list.
BD22 (soft drinks), BD36 (house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Baharat, Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Bahrain’s official Best Brunch will surely keep up the quality with a festive twist on Amwaj Islands. Santa is making an appearance and there will be a kids’ corner with games, plus live music and festive sparkle.
BD25++ (soft drinks), BD35++ (house beverages). 12.30pm-5pm. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (16 000 111).
The Crowne Plaza Bahrain
We love it when a few hotel restaurants circle their wagons and combine to make a mega-brunch and that is exactly what is happening at The Crowne Plaza. La Mosaique, Harvester’s, The Patio and Cappucino Café welcome Father Christmas for the afternoon and are offering prizes for best-dressed guests. Time to show off festive woollies?
BD35 (adults), BD18 (kids five to ten), free (kids under five). 12.30pm onwards. Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Cut by Wolfgang Puck
The wonderchef’s Bahrain steak empire is giving two bites of the cherry on Christmas Day. While we don’t know if that does include cherries, we are confident both lunch and dinner sittings are going to have premium roasted meats, handmade pasta, seasonal desserts and plenty of gourmet flourish. But do you want a BD29 brunch or the BD40 set menu for dinner? That is the question.
Brunch: BD29++ (food only), BD39++ (house beverages), BD49++ (premium beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dinner: BD40++ (four courses), BD50++ (house beverages). 7pm-11.30pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
The Diplomat Radisson Blu
The Christmas buffet is the culmination of a festive calendar which includes gingerbread house decorating and a tree lighting. Father Christmas is scheduled to make an appearance on the day.
BD34 (adults), BD17 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). Noon-4.30pm. Diplomat Radisson Blu, Diplomatic area (17 531 666).
Flavours on 2
The Downtown Rotana is hosting a festive buffet from noon until 4pm. There will be live entertainment and a shot at winning raffle prizes to make that Christmas gift pile under the tree all the larger.
BD25++ (soft drinks), BD29++ (house beverages), BD12.5 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). Noon-4pm. Flavours on 2, Downtown Rotana, Government Avenue, Manama (33 605 070).
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay
A massive spread awaits in the Al Bahrain Ballroom where we happen to know chefs have been ordering extra turkeys, rock oysters, lobsters, chestnut stuffing and entire sacks full of sprouts. What’s more, a quick peruse of the menu shows stollen, panettone, minced pies, yule log and a live band, too. Actually, the band is not on a menu. You get the point.
BD32++ (soft drinks), BD42++ (house beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 000).
Kaiseki is best described as the Japanese version of haute cuisine and that is exactly what is being offered in this five-course set dinner menu at The Domain Hotel and Spa’s trendy lounge and restaurant. Chef Riichiro’s Christmas menu is likely to be modern and inspired by festive classics, yet with a gourmet, Japanese touch.
BD25++ (house beverages). Dec 22-25, 7pm-10pm. The Domain Hotel & Spa, Diplomatic Area (16 000 000).
La Vinoteca Barcelona
A live band, kids’ entertainment, roast turkey and an à la carte Christmas brunch sounds like a decent present list to us.
BD26-30 (adults), BD13 (kids), free (under eights). 1pm-5pm. Block 338, Adliya (1700 7808).
On Christmas Eve at this upscale steakhouse, they’re serving five courses of gourmet cuisine with grape pairing. Meanwhile, on Christmas Day, a three-course set menu is on offer with bubbly and Christmas mignardise. That’s posh handmade choccies to you and us.
Christmas Eve: BD32++ (with grape pairing). 6pm-11pm. Christmas Day: BD26++ (with welcome bubbly). noon-3.30pm. InterContinental Regency Bahrain, Manama (17 227 777).
High up over Manama, on the 34th floor of The Domain Hotel & Spa, this classy steakhouse has established itself as a fine-dining favourite in Bahrain. Something a distinguished seven-course Christmas dinner with beverage pairing and superb evening views is unlikely to prevent. It’s a stylish option after a day of presents and festivity.
BD19++ (soft drinks), BD20++ (house beverages). 7pm-10pm. The Domain Hotel & Spa, Diplomatic Area (16 000 000).
Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain
The promise of mulled grape and festive egg-based drinks makes us think the Mövenpick will score high on the tradition-ometer. You can try the roasted turkey, all the trimmings and a dollop of chestnut stuffing here, too.
BD45 (house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, Muharraq (17 460 017).
Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
Saraya, Wok and Fiamma restaurants are joining forces to offer Christmas Day diners unique takes on international, Vietnamese and Italian cuisine. Enjoy the atmosphere, which is pumped up by the resident Cuban band, while the little ones get busy making friends in the kids’ corner.
BD42 (house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, Zallaq (17 636 363).
The Swiss setting at this Seef hotel always puts us in a wintery mood and that’s ideal for Christmas. There will be an appearance from Father Christmas and live music along with the festive buffet. If you have already made plans, then an evening dinner is on as well.
Christmas lunch: BD16 (soft drinks), BD25 (house beverages), BD8 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Christmas dinner: BD12 (soft drinks), BD20 (house beverages), BD6 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 7pm-11pm. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (6631 0000).
It might be the best-value buffet in Bahrain on Christmas Day. At just BD5 for a buffet, and with a happy hour from 5pm to 9pm, it is definitely a budget option but with a party atmosphere.
BD5 (food and one house beverage). 8pm-2am. Monroe Hotel, Hoora (17 296 699).
The Gulf Hotel Bahrain
All the elements that make for a brilliant brunch on Christmas Day are present at this super-sized family affair, taking place in the Gulf Convention Centre. That means you can book now and start looking forward to a jolly visit from Father Christmas, live music, kids’ activities and a good spread of food.
BD21++ (soft drinks), BD28++ (house beverages), BD10.5 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). Noon-4pm. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain
The stunning hotel stalwart is hosting two epic Christmas Day affairs in the grand foyer and international spot La Med. Firstly, indulge in an array of dishes from the carvery, seafood station and prime rib corner – to name a few – while you enjoy the live entertainment and the kids get involved with fun activities. Meanwhile, in La Med, you can rejoice in the fact that you’re having a sunny island Christmas with a buffet spread overlooking landscaped gardens and a pretty pool.
Grand foyer: BD41++ (adults), BD21++ (children). 12.30pm-4.30pm. La Med: BD35++ (adults), BD18++ (children). 12.30pm-4.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 586 499).
The Royal Golf Club
Santa is a golfer. Who knew? Find him on the Big Day handing out presents to all the kids at The Royal Golf Club. Meanwhile, the club’s restaurants – Links, Prego and Repartee – are joining forces to create a sumptuous, traditional festive brunch.
BD32 (house beverages), BD16 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). Noon-4pm. The Royal Golf Club, Riffa (17 750 777).
New Year's Eve parties
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5... HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Sorry, we couldn’t wait. It has been a brilliant year. Celebrate it at these party spots in Bahrain and we’ll see you next year for more fun.
We’ve checked in at enough chocaholic brunches at the Sheraton this year to trust the team with a cocoa-filled New Year’s Eve bash. If your diet starts on January 1, sign off in decadent style with live entertainment and international fodder.
BD22++ (adults), BD11++ (kids four to 12), free (kids under four). 7.30pm-1am. Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, Manama (17 533 533).
Start next year as you have spent much of this year – at a buffet table in an international restaurant (brunch, anyone?). A massive selection of food is offered here and it is likely to get busy, so book in advance.
BD35 (house beverages), BD17.5 (kids six to 12), free (kids under six). 7pm-10.30pm. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
There are loads of foodie events on at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay on New Year’s Eve, but the biggest party is by the poolside at Azure. There will be a fire show, an international DJ performance, dancing and drumming, as well as table-service cabanas and, we imagine, a lot of full and content people coming in from the restaurants. There will be sparkling to drink and nibbles as well.
BD50 (outside guests, two drinks included), BD25 (restaurant and hotel guests, two drinks included). BD400 (per table, six people, includes one bottle), BD700 (per private cabana, includes one bottle). 9pm-2am. Four Season Bahrain Bay (1711 5044).
Ring in the New Year in the sky from one of Bahrain’s best vantage points without paying a thing. On a night usually associated with ramped-up ticket prices, you can enjoy 28th floor vistas, a top Latino band and midnight snacks for a grand total of zero dinars.
Free. 9pm-2am. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (66 310 000).
A “Night at the Oscars” theme sets the tone for a glam night when dressing up in your red-carpet finery is encouraged. Keep it comfortable, though, as Le Méridien is also boasting a Studio 54 party vibe. And you’re bound to eat loads from the lavish buffet.
BD35++ (soft drinks), BD50++ (house beverages). 7pm-1am. Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, Seef (1717 1441).
Bahrain Bay Kitchen
A live band will have to compete with the Omani lobster, chocolate soufflé station, freshly shucked oysters and a seriously generous spread coming out of the kitchens of this international restaurant.
BD32++ (soft drinks), BD42++ (house beverages). 8pm-1am. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (44 948 888).
Bizarre’s New Year’s Eve brings progressive dance beats and some funky tunes direct from the DJ’s decks to your feet. A snack buffet and beverages will also vie for your attention tonight.
BD15++ (soft drinks and snacks), BD40++ (house beverages and snacks). 7pm-2am. Le Méridien Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Colombian passion meets Parisian panache at this stylish lounge. A South American duo will be providing the soundtrack to usher in 2017 in this chic corner of Seef, while an à la carte menu for food is on offer, too.
Prices à la carte. 9pm-2am. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
Impossibly cool Japanese lounge Bushido is celebrating 20 years of Buddha Bar in Paris with an homage to the iconic venue. Dress to impress for a night of stylish clubbing and mellow beats.
Free entry for ladies before 9.30pm. BD10 (ladies after 9.30pm), BD15 (gents in advance), BD25 (gents on the door). From 8.30pm. Bushido Lounge, Seef (17 583 555).
There is a New York theme to see the year out in Amwaj so look out for musical performances and dance music from the decks of resident DJ Boudi, as well as other special guest performers. Entertainment starts at 10pm and, if you’ve dined at one of the hotel’s restaurants on the same night, you get free entry to Cellar 59 after 7pm.
Free (for dinner guests), BD10 (ladies), BD20 (men). Doors open 8pm. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (16 000 111).
There aren’t any bells or whistles at this nightclub. Just a commitment to revelry and noisy good times, thanks to three international DJs who play every night. If that sounds like your cup of tea (other beverages are available) then get along to the Ramee Rose.
BD20 (ladies entrance), BD25 (ladies with a table, includes house beverages), BD25 (gents, includes house beverages), BD40 (couples). 6pm-2am. Ramee Rose, Juffair (33 544 276).
Crowne Plaza Ballroom
One of the grandest New Year’s Eve parties in Bahrain has a Roaring ’20s theme and an evening packed with entertainment. There is a gala dinner to kick things off followed by a balloon drop, live DJ, international dance shows, midnight toast, a jazz band and costumed fun. Turn to page 81 to get chance to win two tickets, plus an overnight stay at the hotel, plus breakfast for two.
BD63 (early bird offer, book before December 10), BD70 (general admission). From 8pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Cut by Wolfgang Puck
A five-course dinner menu will be served, including warm Maine lobster bisque and wild tarragon Australian wagyu steak to a backdrop of live music. If you eat here on New Year’s Eve as well, you’ll get 20 percent off the New Year’s Day brunch in the same restaurant. AND, you only need to pay BD25 to get into the bash at Azure Lounge, with two drinks.
BD110++ (house beverages). 7pm-10.30pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
The Diplomat Radisson Blu
The normally business-like diplomatic area of Bahrain will have one corner that is buzzing with Cuban spirit on New Year’s Eve. A Havana Club night is the chance to show off the Latin moves you have been working on all year.
BD65 (house beverages). From 8pm. The Diplomat Radisson Blu, Diplomatic Area (17 531 666).
Grand Wadi Tent at Al Areen
The Arabian Nights theme at this out-of-town hotel will see a live Arabic singer performing familiar ditties, as well as live cooking stations overlooking the beautiful fountains. There are special room packages on offer, too. The Villa Stay & Party Package is BD380 for two adults and two children, including the gala dinner and breakfast. The Desert Villa is BD250 for two adults, including dinner and breakfast.
BD25++ (early bird offer, book before Dec 15), BD28++ (soft drinks). Al Areen Palace, Sakhir (17 845 000).
Harvester’s Pub and Terrace
This English-style pub isn’t somewhere you would immediately associate with a 1920s themed event, but Harvester’s Pub and Terrace knows how to put on a party. Turn up in a period flapper costume or just regular clothes – either way it could be a fun one.
BD12 (entrance fee only). From 9pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Layali Beirut at Choices
Is there any better way to see in the New Year than with belly dancers and live music from Beirut? Perhaps, but there will be a strong party atmosphere at this Arabian-themed party on Choices’ terrace.
BD70++ (house beverages), BD90 (premium beverages). 9pm-2am. Art Rotana, Amwaj Islands (16 000 111).
Chef Rukmal has created a special seven-course dinner at this quality restaurant up on the 34th floor. The award-winning steakhouse is known for its gourmet flourishes, as well as those stunning city views. If any fireworks happen to go off in Bahrain tonight, you’ll have the best seat in the house.
BD29++ (soft drinks), BD49++ (house beverages). From 7pm. The Domain Hotel & Spa, Diplomatic Area (16 000 000).
The Gulf Hotel’s Tex-Mex hangout is informal, festive and fun. Exactly what you would want from a party at the end of a year like 2016. If you want big sombreros, cheesy food and a Latin band (and who doesn’t?), book here.
BD26++. 6pm-midnight. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
The fusion food is usually the highlight at this swish Block 338 Lounge, but a truly unique Trix and Sax party is grabbing our attention this time. Live saxophonist Sarah Chandler and sleight-of-hand magician Ashley Turner will be performing together among the crowds.
Free (ladies rooftop entrance), BD15 (men's rooftop entrance), BD45++ per person (minimum spend for dining on first floor), BD55++ per person (minimum spend for dining on rooftop). From 7pm. Adliya (17 007 770).
Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain
A few restaurants are joining forces for the Sinatra party at this Mövenpick bash. Roam between the restaurants and enjoy an extravagant dinner buffet, the ’60s style and Brat Pack music, as well as tunes by the resident DJ. Room packages are also available, starting from BD189 per couple.
BD70 (Flamingo Lounge, house beverages), BD75 (Silks, house beverages), BD80 (The Gallery, house beverages). From 8pm. Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, Muharraq (17 460 017).
The words lavish, opulent and regal are bandied around too much for our liking and yet we can’t think of a better way to describe the upscale Indian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton. A family-style set menu has been prepared for New Year’s Eve here and it is a classy, quiet and tasty way to spend the night.
BD35++. 7pm-midnight. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 586 499).
A multiple Time Out award winner, you can rely on this Ritz-Carlton steakhouse gem to deliver a quality dining experience that is both romantic and classy. If you’re looking for a fist-pumping, dancefloor-busting night then keep searching. If you’re after incredible steak, four courses of refined elegance and an intimate setting, then you’re in luck.
BD65++.7pm-midnight. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
In the Polo Gastropub, it is music as much as food that sets a night off and the countdown to midnight this year will be accompanied by island funksters BG Harmony.
BD5. From 9.30pm. Palace Boutique Hotel, Adliya (17 725 000).
Indulge in seven courses at a multi-award-winning upscale Italian inspired by the kitchens of double-Michelin star chef Oliver Glowig. Have a lovely evening surrounded by chic interiors or relaxing on the outdoor terrace overlooking the hotel’s lush gardens. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
BD45++. 7pm-midnight. The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
Best known as an Asian fusion restaurant, this Juffair spot is turning up the Bollywood tunes to bid the year farewell. As well as the musical party and dancing, there will be a buffet to contend with, too.
BD35 (couples, includes house beverages), BD20 (singles, includes house beverages). 9pm-1am. Ramee Rose, Juffair (33 544 276).
re/ Asian Cuisine
Seven courses may seem excessive but, when the food spilling out of the kitchen includes Russian beluga caviar and roasted five-spice French duck, we don’t think anybody will be complaining. There will be a DJ and band and you’ll get into the Azure Lounge party for just BD25 (includes two drinks) if you dine here, too. The outlet’s outstanding dim sum brunch is also being held earlier in the day if you fancy celebrating early on.
Brunch: BD19++. 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dinner: BD110++ (house beverages), BD140++ (guaranteed window seat). Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (1711 5044).
A fun setting, cheap price and a loyal and lively crowd could make this end-of-year bash an understated hit, especially with DJ Rob on the decks playing non-stop party anthems.
BD5. 8pm-2am. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
A set menu of authentic Chinese dishes is a classy and romantic way to move on to 2017.
BD16.900++ (soft drinks), BD21.900++ (house beverages). From 7.30pm. Sheraton Bahrain, Manama (17 533 533).
Sign off 2016 with a Bollywood-tinged Yaadon Ki Baarat party. You’re encouraged to dress up like a gangster or silent screen star for an all-inclusive entertainment-packed night.
BD30 (house beverages), BD14 (kids five to ten), free (kids under five). From 7pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
Calypso, bachata, merengue and rumba dance performances will see you into 2017 at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, where a huge set dinner menu is being served to a backdrop of Afro-Cuban dances. There’s also a special room package, starting from BD199 per couple. It includes the show, a night in a sea view room and breakfast.
BD75 (house beverages). From 8pm. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, Zallaq (17 636 363).
Swiss Café Restaurant
Sleepy kids are a recurring fixture for families wanting to reach midnight on New Year’s Eve. An ingenious family-friendly offering here means there are chill-out zones for children as well as a buffet and DJ for more active folk.
BD16 (soft drinks), BD25 (house beverages). 8pm-2am. Swiss-Belhotel, Seef (66 310 000).
We reckon this Downtown Rotana eatery is one of the best new restaurants in Bahrain. Sample the upscale fusion spot yourself for a gala dinner set menu boasting five cuisines.
BD35++ (soft drinks), BD45++ (house beverages), BD17.5 (kids six to 12), free (kids under 6). 6pm-midnight. Downtown Rotana, Government Avenue, Manama (33 605 070).
The Ritz-Carlton’s Al Noor Ballroom
The Electrifying Night of Resolutions party is all about getting your dance on. Enjoy a dinner show, then DJ Marcela and a crowd of Tron dancers will be performing a light and movement show on an LED dance floor. Neat.
BD65++ (soft drinks), BD99++ (house beverages). 8pm-2am. Al Noor Ballroom, The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).
The partying masses here will enjoy the carnival atmosphere and a five-course menu including food such as tenderloin steak with purple truffle mashed potatoes and chestnut milles feuille with plum compote.
BD39++ (house beverages and midnight bubbly), BD79++ (food, house beverages, bubbly). 7pm-midnight. The Ritz-Carlton, Seef (17 586 555).
The kitsch tropical-style setting of the outdoor garden is a good spot for an al fresco evening set to DJ tunes.
BD5. 8pm-2am. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
A foodie offering in casual poolside trattoria Vento could be the New Year’s Eve option for you. The set menu includes Boston lobster salad and turbot cutlet with morel mushrooms and the whole thing will be over by 11pm.
BD45++. 7pm-11pm. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 044).
There is a seafood market-style cook-off at Waves, where you can eat fish until you can barely stand.
BD38 (house beverages), BD18 (kids five to ten), free (kids under five). From 7pm. The Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Diplomatic Area (17 531 122).
Channel your Lebanese spirit at Zahle with a night of Arabic tunes, belly dancing and, of course, almost a year’s supply of mezze and traditional dishes from the buffet.
BD69++ (house beverages). 7pm-2am. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Adliya (17 713 000).
Fancy all the delicious meat, gravy and vegetables of a restaurant while sitting at home in your new Christmas onesies? Takeaway turkey from top Bahrain restaurants is an insanely good option you really should consider for Christmas dinner this year. All you need to worry about is the washing up. Oh, and buying crackers to pull.
There are a few takeaway packages here, starting with a basic five- to-six kilogram bird with roast potatoes and steamed vegetables. Upgrade to the gastronomy package for a chestnut and pistachio stuffing, bread sauce and a colourful array of winter vegetables.
BD36. Block 338, Adliya (17 005 705).
The Diplomat Radisson Blu
Giant parties are the specialty for this takeaway service. You can order roast turkey for ten to 15 guests with an entire cavalcade of trimmings. Roasted farm animals of various sizes are also on the menu, as is panettone direct from Italy and boxes of sweets of varying sizes. You can even get your gingerbread house kit here.
From BD15++. Diplomat Radisson Blu, Diplomatic Area (39 945 208).
Turkey is a stalwart option, but you can also choose from beef and lamb, as well as Scottish salmon, mince pies, Christmas pudding or Yule log from Downtown Rotana’s menu. Expect all the usual trimmings for a complete festive feast. Stop in at the giant gingerbread house in the hotel’s lobby to discover all the options.
From BD4.2+ per kilogram for 5-8kg. Downtown Rotana, Manama (33 605 070).
Four Seasons Bahrain Bay
It is quite impossible for us to read the words cranberry chutney without getting a little shiver of hungry anticipation. And the same goes for the chestnut stuffing, fruit cake, homemade chocolate truffle, beef and turkey that is being served and shipped to your house by the Four Seasons’ pop-up festive shop.
From BD80++ for turkey dinner. Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (17 115 000).
This festive platter, complete with turkey and trimmings, is sized for eight people and the best thing about it is you don’t have to cook a single thing. Just sit around telling jokes and admiring each other’s new Christmas socks.
BD80++ per turkey (serves eight people). Until December 25. The Westin Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 171 441).
You might fancy yourself as a bit of a kitchen superstar, but are your sage-butter vegetables and glazed carrots really that good? We didn’t think so. Let the Sheraton chefs obliterate your festive cooking woes with a full traditional turkey meal and all the trimmings. You can order it online, but just make sure you give them at least 24 hours’ notice.
BD65 for 7-8kg. Sheraton Bahrain, Palace Avenue, www.sheratonbahrain.com (17 533 533).
The Ritz-Carlton Gourmet Lounge
This is a great option for massive parties at home. As well as a traditionally prepared bird, with all the trimmings, you can order hampers, cakes, cookies and goodies for dinner parties or just edible gifts from The Ritz-Carlton’s Gourmet Shop. Orders need to be placed at least 72 hours in advance for this kind of feast.
BD135 (serves 18-20 people). The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 580 000).