Doha Bars and Clubs
Doha Bar Guide
Qatar doesn't exactly have the best bar scene in the world - it is still, after all, a Wahabbi country - but it is getting better. Most of the bars in Qatar, however, tend to either belong to a hotel or be part of a club. One stand alone night club - the Qube - does now exist, although it is still in the grounds of the Ramada.
Licensed hours now starts at seven o'clock, and can officially go on until three o'clock - although in practice most bars shut earlier. The main night for going out here is Thursday, as the weekend starts on Friday. Friday is distinctly quieter as many people work on Saturday. During the week some people go out earlier than they would in European countries, due to the earlier starting hours.
Rules regarding drinking are getting stricter, and you must have your ID card when entering a bar. A passport should do if you are visiting. You may be required to join as a member, and depending on your visa you may be refused entry if you are not resident in the hotel.
If you are driving, remember that there is a zero alcohol policy for drivers. Breaking this rule will mean a stiff fine, expulsion from the country and possibly a night in jail too.
In this guide we list a selection of bars in Doha. We haven't included all the bars - yet - but we do promise to add one each time we stagger home from a new bar. For a complete list see our Qatar Bar listing.
Share your opinion - rate the bars with our rating system, or Submit Your Own Review.
Location: Intercontintental Hotel,
Qatar's newest and funkiest bar, and probably the only stand alone bar in Qatar! The bar is pretty cool, but what makes it for us is the view. Stand on the balcony to cool off and you have a superb view of Doha's skyline lit up against the desert night - stand inside at the long long bar and you have a view of the hotel's gorgeous swimming pools, gardens and beach. We also had a very friendly greeting on our first trip! Well worth checking out.
Location: Rydges Hotel: Abu Firas Street in Al Bidda, close to the Corniche.
The place to watch sports, Rydges can easily get very loud and crowded. ThereÄôs a rooftop pool outside the bar, though, so you can always escape the crowd for a while and sit outside in the cooler months. YouÄôll also find that the alcohol is more expensive than the other bars, too. The Ramada hotel is due to close in December 2008.
Location: Sheraton Hotel, Corniche Road, Al Dafna
Take the lift down from the lobby in the Sheraton, and you'll get to one of the newer bars in Doha. The Irish Harp has a great athmosphere, actually looks and smells like an Irish pub, and, unlike Irish pubs nowadays, you can also smoke there. (Hotels are not actually allowed to call it a pub, so the management have written public house on it instead!) The drinks are not cheap, but this has not deterred its customers - when we visited on a Monday night we had trouble finding a place to sit, and we have heard that it is packed on the weekend.[5a2b8fe2]
Since the new section of the Ramada hotel opened, the Ramada Plaza hotel now seems to be home to half the bars in the country. There is a total of eight bars - though a couple are very small. The plusher bars are in the new section, with the slightly careworn (but cheaper bars) in the old Ramada building.
The Ramada is located on the Ramada Junction (of course) on the intersection between C ring road and Salwa Road. Every taxi driver who has been in the country for longer than five minutes will know its location. When leaving the Ramada try to grab a Karwa taxi, as the hotel taxi are about four times the price.
QatarÄôs only stand alone night-club, the Qube has proved to be a bit of disappointment, although to be fair it is a while since we visited, hopefully they have fired the last DJ since then. A rubbish mix of music and men hassling the women in our group spoiled our one and only visit, which to be fair was some time ago. On the positive side, there is a separate section for women and couples to escape to, though.[7e54aa83]
This large bar (it could be called a club) can feel a bit rough and ready - sometimes it feels like it ought to have sawdust on the floor. It can also get very smoky. However, there is a balcony you can sit on and admire the green telephone box, fake well and grimy windows of the old Ramada. (When it was built the designer forgot to put gantries in.) The beer is very reasonably priced (for Doha) and you can also have food on the spot. It is also the home of the excellent Laughter Factory, which visits Doha once a month.[e564b654]
The Library Bar
Again this bar can be a little rough - on our last visit a drunk Westerner tried to start a fight with us before he was forcibly ejected by the bar staff. The RamadaÄôs website suggests you admire the panoramic views from the windows, but doesnÄôt mention that the windows have never been cleaned. You could perhaps admire the colourful but rather bizarre murals on the walls instead. Again, the alcohol is reasonably priced - but this bar can also get very smoky, and unlike Shehrazad there is no balcony to escape to.[2650bdb5]]
Located on the tenth floor of the Ramada, in our opinion the Orion is rated a cut or ten above the bars in the old Ramada. This long lounge-like establishment has professional staff who will whip you up the cocktail of your choice. They also have a reasonably good band (when we frst visited the Ramada in 2005 we thought it was karaoke night) - although they do take a while to warm up sometimes.[0f4f7786]
WeÄôd like to give you an opinion on RamadaÄôs champagne and caviar bar, but it just looks too expensive. Judging by the crowds that donÄôt flock there - we have only ever seen three or four customers inside -we are not the only people to think so.[f29b38f7]
Location: The Sharq Village and Spa, Ras Abu Aboud, sandwiched between Doha club and the Oasis.
DonÄôt expect a crowd here - when we visited we were the only guests - but the Sharq Village and Spa is a place where you can relax in an old style comfort, admiring the lavish surroundings - and the tropical fish in their tanks set in the walls. The prices are what you would expect in a boutique hotel in Qatar - expensive but still not as bad as the equivalent in the UK - but itÄôs well worth popping down for one and then enjoying a walk round the hotel grounds, admiring the enormous pool, the beach and the gardens.[feb5e1c8]
The Old Manor Steak House and Bar
Location: The Mercure Grand Hotel, close to Souq Waqif, in the old Sofatel area. In fact this area is named after the old hotel that used to be here in place of the Mercure, and if you ask for the Sofatel hotel this is probably where you will be taken.
The Old Manor Bar has improved immensely since the Mercure replaced the former singer with some talented Filipinno singers. This is a place where locals seem to hang out - including Qataris in national dress, who sometimes get a bit loud towards the end of the night. Apart from that, it is decorated something like a country pub in the UK, with big comfortable chairs. As the name suggests, you can also get a very decent bite to eat here.[3eae62b9]
Location: The Merweb, Al Sadd, next to the Pedriatrics hospital
The entrance policies here are very strange. If you are a woman, or with a woman, you will probably get in for free. However, if you are a single man, you may have to pay an entrance, or you may be told that it is a memberÄôs own club and denied entrance altogether. Inside the club is small, although the mirror at the back gives the impression that it is larger than it really is, and dark - although the waiters'trays helpfully light up when they serve you. A bit sleazy, which makes a welcome change in Doha.
Location: Al Azizayah, off Salwa Road. To get here drive along Salwa Road, away from Ramada signals. When you get to the third roundabout after the big flyover take the first exit and almost immediately turn left. Go along a very short road and then turn right. Along and to the left you will find the entrance to the car park for Garvies.
This place is very close to a English city bar, and very popular with its regulars. It can get a little rowdy at times, especially when there is a big match on. The price of beer and lager here is very reasonably, and the food is exactly what you would find in an English pub. ThereÄôs a pool outside which looks nice at night, and a little basic in the day. While you donÄôt need to be a member to use the club, you do need an alcohol permit, and some people have been turned away because they do not have one.[b020aea11]
The Piano Bar
Location: La Cigale Hotel, Suhaim Bin Hamed Street opposite the childrenÄôs emergency hospital
Smart casual here means proper shoes here, so donÄôt make the mistake I did of wearing trainers. You are also advised to have a reservation, although when we went on a Wednesday it was quiet enough. Despite being a little pricey, this place is definitely worth a visit. The service is incredibly attentive, with the waiters keeping their eye on you all the time to spot a diminishing drink or other need. The Piano Bar also provides light dishes, which we thought were excellent. The ambience of the place was just right when we visited, with the pianist accompanied by a Lebanese singer who serenaded the guests with French and English songs.[04bd64a12]
Location: La Cigale Hotel, Suhaim Bin Hamed Street opposite the childrenÄôs emergency hospital
Also at La Cigale, the Sky Bar doesn't do a bad job of living up to its name. Situated near the top of the building, you sit outside and enjoy superb views over much of the city. When we visited there was an eclectic range of music, varying from techno(ish) to jazz with a few things in between. You'll find Doha's young and trendy crowd here, so you might want to dress up for the occasion.[0e2eeb11]