Always found in the hotel lobbies, attached to shopping malls or in the main residential areas, cafes play an important part of the Dubai social and business scene.
Cafes are present in many shapes and forms, some offering internet access and all offering a wide selection of local newspapers in both English and Arabic, and generally all satisfying the time old instinct of people watching.
Bars on the other hand are always housed in hotels or in recreational clubs, this is down to the strict local licensing laws.
Alcohol is expensive and in many cases carries up to 100% mark up on wholesale price, however on a positive note every drink imaginable is available in bars ranging from beach bars to sports bars to karaoke bars, all tastes are accommodated.
Many cafes and bars have outdoor seating areas to be enjoyed during the cooler months.
Tipping is discretionary, but is greatly appreciated if good service is delivered.
Smoking is prohibited in almost all establishments, however a few still permit. Many coffee shops have increased their outdoor seating area in response to the smoking ban introduced in 2008.
Shisha, an Arabic form of tobacco smoking remains popular in outdoor cafes and bars, an evening time ritual among the Middle Eastern folk. The shisha, or Arabic water-pipe in which fruit-scented tobacco is burnt using coal, passes through an ornate water vessel and inhaled through a hose.