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Party capital of the Middle East
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By Karim Miknas   »   Bahrain has always been a leader when it comes to nightlife in the region.  What makes our little island so special is that we LOVE to party and we’ve done it with the best of them.


Heck, I should know, I’ve been doing it ever since I could remember! Whether you’re looking for a dive or a full-on VIP experience, Bahrain’s got the real thing. Hook up with the right people and the right places and you’re in for a treat.

Most nightspots are in or attached to hotels (by law), which does nothing to stop the fun, but does make it easier to locate them. The Ritz Carlton, for example, is home to Trader Vic’s, a great bar, lounge and restaurant, and also has the ‘olde worlde’ Plantation Terrace in its portfolio as well as the ultra-chic Mai Tai Lounge which is lovely when the weather’s right.

Trader’s is a fantastic spot with stylish Polynesian themed décor, a smart casual dress code and a choice between tid-bits or fine dining. The cocktail list is always the main attraction and the concoctions are potent and go down a breeze. The hardest part is deciding whether to order bites before, during or after drinks, to just have dinner, or the usual, “another round?” Whatever you decide, Trader’s is a mainstay on the circuit.

On the other side of town, less dressy but just as much fun is JJ’s Irish Pub at the Al Bustan Hotel in Adliya, more fun in fact than back in the old country, where it was originally built, taken apart, shipped over and rebuilt to spec right here in Bahrain!

One of the most popular hangouts on the island, JJ’s is a phenomenon that starts at noon and doesn’t stop until 2am with every live sport you’d want to watch on the screens, great DJs, lovely staff and one of the best pub menus I have ever seen. Plenty of theme nights means the entertainment never gets stale and for a mere BD2 cover charge, ladies drink for free six nights a week. Certainly this is a must.

Up for continuing the pub crawl? Hit Fiddler’s Green at the Diplomat Radisson SAS, another Irish pub (don’t all the best ones seem to be!) with a great feel when it’s full and a good location for those in Manama.

Move on to Warbler’s at the Baisan International Hotel, the original British-styled pub and sports bar run by the gracious Amithab, the true father of the Warbler and his incredibly dedicated team. The burgers here are so huge it takes three of us to finish one, every time!

Wrangler’s at the Elite Hotel in Juffair is Warbler’s cross-Atlantic cousin and attracts lots of Americans, not only because of its Wild West décor, but also probably due to its location close to “the base”. You’ll get great discounts on drinks, a solid menu and a good dose of Hip-Hop, Dirty South and R’n’B.

The least pretentious of the batch, overly lit and actually quite cosy is Maguire’s in an annex of the Mansouri Mansions Hotel in Adliya, a little secret spot (not so secret now I suppose). This is the ultimate watering hole when you want a quiet one away from the crowds.

An old one that just got a new lease of life is Sherlock Holmes, one of Bahrain’s oldest watering holes now completely moved downstairs into a slick, modern facility. They still serve up great brews and the bands are second to none.