Downtown – East Side
Best night: Tuesday
For ‘just a couple’: Cho Gao at the Crowne Plaza runs a daily happy hour, with house beverages and mixed drinks slashed to half price from 6pm-7pm. Take a seat at the dimly lit bar, choose your poison and prepare to forget about the office politics. Until tomorrow, at least.
If one drinks leads to another: Not only does Trader Vic’s at Beach Rotana do a mean line in exotic drinks, it also hosts a weekly salsa night, with a live band providing plenty to get you and your colleagues shaking your stuff to. The half-price mint-infused beverages should certainly help, too.
Going the distance: For after-hours team-building, nothing’s quite as effective as a good old sing-song. Sax’s karaoke night might not get going until 11pm, but with a phonebook-sized song list to choose from, nobody’s got an excuse to skip their turn with the mic.
Downtown – West Side
Best night: Sunday
For ‘just a couple’: Belgian Café at the InterContinental serves up an unbeatable selection of European brews – free to the fairer sex from 5pm-11pm. Head down straight from the office, pull up a chair and enjoy a massive foamy grin as you realise there’s more to life than spreadsheets.
If one drinks leads to another: The weekly pub quiz at Hemingway’s at the Hilton Abu Dhabi has built itself a reputation as something of an institution in the city. You’ll need to book a table in advance, but get a team together, sharpen your collective wits and you might even bag yourselves some free drinks.
Going the distance: Really feel like irking the boss? Push on through and round the night off at Étoiles – Emirates Palace’s decadent party spot. Being early week, don’t expect a capacity crowd, just some chilled
out beats to nod along to while you think of an excuse for tomorrow’s bleary eyes.
Best night: Wednesday
For ‘just a couple’: With its big tables and cosy banquette seating, Cooper’s at Park Rotana is the ideal therapy for weary office workers. It’s also home to the longest happy hour in the city, with selected drinks available at half price from noon all the way until midnight.
If one drink leads to another: Check out DJ Valery’s pre-weekend slot at Relax@12 (located on the top floor of Aloft Hotel), where the feisty decksmith spins a mixture of Ibiza-influenced house hits and saucy R&B grooves. The doorman’s a stickler for presentation, though, so try not to turn up with your tie wrapped round your head like a thirsty Rambo.
Going the distance: Hell-bent on destruction? Down at Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Left Bank’s popular Carnival night is responsible for more sick-days than a flu epidemic. Hip hop beats come thick and fast all night, while ladies can fill up on selected mixed beverages for free until 11pm.
Best night: Thursday
For ‘just a couple’: Though it’s generally a bit of a ghost town this time of year, come the weekend there’s plenty happening on Yas. Head to the Crowne Plaza and start at Stills, where the city’s only Thursday night ladies’ night draws a good-sized crowd from 8pm. Gents, bring a long straw to siphon off the freebies.
If one drink leads to another: Skylite at Yas Hotel may save the big name DJs for Friday’s MustHaveSoul parties, but there’s still a lively atmosphere on a Thursday, with some of the best mixed beverages in the capital to boot.
Going the distance: Nip across to Allure at Yas Marina & Yacht Club, where their weekly Paparazzi night draws the city’s most stylish party people. Festivities kick off at 10pm, with stragglers spotted limping out as late as 6am. Just as well you’ve not got work in the morning, then.