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At the time I wrote this the Gulf Hotel’s newest spot Typhoon is literally still not even open, so if you’re looking for something new definitely check it out! Some like to linger on at the Gulf Hotel’s many restaurants, but most come here early and move on to the many eateries in Adliya, a 10-15 minute walk away.
Back in Adliya, BJ’s nightclub at the Al Bustan Hotel is the leader of the pack and now in its 11th year in business. It’s consistently been one of the most popular spots in town and always the busiest. If it’s quiet in BJ’s, it’s dead everywhere else. Originally an English pub meets discothèque meets live rock venue meets American pool hall, BJ’s has been transformed over the last four years into the enduring icon of clubbing it is today. With the best bar in town, mind blowing sound and lights, and décor courtesy of Bahrain’s top interior designers, BJ’s is an institution and one that we just can’t get enough of. Still! Plus it’s the home of Halloween, NYE and the infamous Formula One, FTV - After Race Party, now in its 4th year.
Pop over the highway to Juffair and you’re spoiled for choice down there too. Though not all the spots are Western type venues, if you’re up for exploring you never know what you’ll find. There’s Z-Club at the Pars International Hotel led by the very able Fernando and his team of Latinistas, Pulse, a wildly decorated Arabic nightspot and Rock Bottom, home to Bahrain’s top imported Rock cover bands and some of them are exceptional.
On the more alternative side of things, a little past Bab Al Bahrain, on the second floor of the City Centre Hotel you’ll find a flurry of activity most notably at Likwid, Bahrain’s only dedicated underground music venue and one of its best kept secrets. This cosy 150 capacity spot dares to stand out from its peers by shunning the typical top 40 hits the rest of the bunch live by and opts instead for acoustic guitar jam sessions on Sundays, full-on Latin music with an eight-piece band, dance instructor and DJ on Mondays and its infamous Thursday nights featuring the world’s top underground House and Techno talent alongside super talented local jocks, plus their new Friday Rock slot. This club boasts the best sound system in town and is the clubber’s club, well worth the minimal door charge.
On the live side of things, head to Club 1 at the Metropolitan Hotel just off Exhibition Avenue with the best guest bands in Bahrain. Club 1 is a big hit with musos and Americans, and offers dining in a separate, glassed-off area as well as two bars to speed things up.
On the slightly rougher side of things, but certainly no less credible is Rock ’n’ Z at the Al Bustan Hotel featuring top Filipino Rock talent. If you close your eyes, you’d swear guitar legends Joe Satriani or Steve Vai were in the room. Yes, they’re usually that good!