Hipster. The word has crept into our everyday lexicons over the last few years but what does it actually mean? Originally, hipster is just a way to describe someone who doesn’t conform to the mainstream.
Whether you consider it a compliment or an insult, hipsters are thought to be the first to know about the music worth listening to, the clothes worth wearing and the places worth hanging out at. So to keep you up-to-date with this increasingly cool city, we’ve rounded up ten of Dubai’s most hipster places to grab a bite, a coffee or both.
1. Il Donaccino
There’s not much that’s as hip as vegan food right now so throw Instagram-worthy donuts into the mix and we’re really in hipster-ville. Tucked away in JLT, this vegan donut shop proves that after years of living in Dubai Marina’s shadow, JLT really is becoming one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Dubai. Damac Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D, Jumeirah Lake Towers.
2. Arrows and Sparrows
This spacious and modern cafe, complete with an outdoor terrace for the cooler months, is one of the city’s newest hotspots. From the people that brought you JLT’s much-loved Friends Avenue Cafe, this new establishment is located in The Greens, providing this small green community with great food and great coffee in a contemporary and stylish environment. Open daily, 8am to 10pm. Unit #G03, Building 4, Emaar Business Park, The Greens.
3. APPETITE IN THE A4 SPACE
Feeding Dubai’s creative community in more than ways than one, the A4 space in Dubai’s culture and art district of Al Quoz has is a multi-purpose events venue with its own cinema room and community library. Its cafe, Appetite, is unsurprisingly popular with freelancers who can take advantage of the spacious setting, industrious atmosphere and health-focused menu. Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz.
4. Wanna Banana
Remember that two-ingredient banana ice-cream trend that blew up on social media last year? It’s not over, not as far as the guys at Wanna Banana are concerned. Their beach shack is adorable all in of itself, then throw in their minimalist and super healthy dairy-free gelato/frozen yoghurt alternative they are offering and you can see why this has become a favourite snack among Dubai’s trendy and health conscious community, especially those who already live in the Umm Suqeim area. You can top your banana ‘nice-cream’ with whatever you want – from decadent chocolate and peanut butter to nutritious chia seeds. Street 2 D, Kite Beach, Jumeirah.
Arguably the most ‘hipster’ eatery in Dubai right now, the owners at Muchacas are also the people behind some of your other favourite homegrown trendy establishments such as Tom & Serg, Brunswick Sports Club, and Common Grounds. Expect to be served your tacos from inside a porcelain chihuahua, your prawns from inside a scooped-out pineapple and everything else from plastic plates dotted with pop-art bananas. Yes, it’s certainly as much of a visual experience as it is a gastronomic one and Muchachas has put Al Safa Park’s previously unremarkable Holiday Inn Express on the map. Holiday Inn Express Dubai, Safa Park.
6. Last Exit
Food trucks are undeniably ‘in’ right now. We’ve seen more than a few food truck festivals take over the city in the past few years but now there’s a full food truck park situated on Exit E11, the last exit on the road from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Open 24/7, you’ll never have to deny yourself your food truck cravings again. This makes a pretty perfect snack pitstop for anyone who lives in Dubai but works in Abu Dhabi or vice versa. Exit E11.
7. Miss Lily’s
From models and actors, no A-List celebrity is flying into Dubai right now without stopping by for a bite at Miss Lily’s. This hot new restaurant and bar is making waves with its super simple approach to Jamaican cuisine. The venue is both incredibly colourful and dimly lit, decorated with displays of vinyl records, Red Label beer bottles, and washing machines. Located at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, this establishment should become a local haunt for anyone who lives and works in Downtown or Business Bay. 5th Floor, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area.
Tom&Serg is quite possibly where Dubai’s hipster cafe scene all began. Reminiscent of an independent eatery you’d find in East London, the big open space with its industrial decor was made for the city’s true lovers of good food and good coffee. The menu is a celebration of fresh ingredients, using only free range eggs and with plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Al Joud Center, 15 A Street, Al Quoz.
Once upon a time in 2012, when independent cafes were only just emerging in Dubai, Roseleaf was there to pioneer the trend. From the back of the Dubai Garden Centre in Al Quoz, this cosy café still reigns supreme, serving breakfast and lunch fare as well as some seriously decadent sweet treats. The cafe has a bright conservatory feel to it, overlooking the plant garden. The interior is rustic with a hint of chic, furnished with high stools and wooden tables. Dubai Garden Centre, Near Commercial Bank of Dubai.