The weekend before New Years can feel a little redundant, but you don’t have to have a weak-end to 2020, we’re here to show you how to close out the decade on a high.
Thursday, 26th December
Pleasure and Payne
Five international artists have now been confirmed as part of the DSF shows which will take place at Burj Park Downtown on the 26th and 27th December. Day one of the shows features regional talent in the shape of Cheb Khaled, Sherine Abdel Wahab and Hussain Al Jassmi. On day two, they’re bringing ‘the Payne’ – ex-One Direction mega star, Liam Payne will sing on a bill backed by sensational singer-songwriter Jorja Smith.
Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or nominated ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is an aggressive heart string-tugger that’s a perfect pairing for post-Chrimbo ennui. Ricky is a man struggling to keep his family together as they face a bleak financial future, the acquisition of a new van and career as a self-employed delivery driver provides a faint glimmer of hope. It’s a movie that will resonate with many, a touching, expertly crafted tale that you can catch now at Dubai’s beautifully bohemian Cinema Akil.
AED 56.50. 7pm and 9pm. Cinema Akil, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. Tickets and timings at www.cinemaakil.com
Veganuary: the prequel
Get in some early plant-based practise for Veganuary at The Flipside Restobar – an ethical grill house serving up veg and ‘alternative meat’ in a variety of ingenious ways. Enjoy 100 per cent vegan ‘I can’t believe it’s not meat’ dishes like burgers, chimichangas, tacos, shakshuka, butter ‘chicken,’ Manchurian fried rice and a fierce collection of sweets.
Mains from around AED 25. 8am-3am. Century Village, Garhoud. 04 5260373
Clubbing can be an expensive night out – waking up in the morning to the horrifying cascade of text messages from the bank. In an incredible wallet-friendly move, Zero Gravity is switching it up with an all-inclusive night on Thursdays. For AED 199 you get unlimited food and beverages between 8pm and 2am, with access to the fairground and circus sideshows in the grounds. Who said you can’t be saving whilst you’re raving?
AED 199. 8pm-2am. Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai, adjacent to Dubai Marina. 4 399 0009.
Feast of Stephen
You don’t have to be a Scrooge to appreciate good value. We’re all about frugal festivities. Legit Brit gastro pub The Rose & Crown is offering a selection of seasonal savoury treats from as little as AED 55. With a range to suit all appetites, you can help yours-elf to items including gourmet sandwiches, butterball turkey and beef wellington.
Until 26th December. The Rose & Crown, The Atrium – Habtoor City. 04 437 0022.
Friday, 27th December
On Friday night, if you go down to Al Barsha Pond Park, you should be able to score yourself some tidy flea market bargains. From 1pm-6pm, trawl through the stalls looking for ‘nothing in particular, but you’ll know when you see it.’ If you don’t remark to yourself ‘guh, the things people throw away’ at least once then you haven’t flea marketed properly.
Free for buyers. Registration closed for sellers. 1pm-6pm. Al Barsha Pond Park. www.dubai-fleamarket.com
Soul man Solomun
Deep-house oligarch, Solomun is holding a grand court of techno at Soho Beach on Friday. Big in the game since ’02 and a pioneer of the Berlin scene – this DJ’s DJ will be in town for just one night. Pick your spot on the dance floor, reach for the lasers and find your own little nugget of electro-sonic bliss.
AED 255. From 10pm. SOHO Beach DXB, Meydan. www.platinumlist.net
Times Square Centre
We’re not sure how Santa gets round all those houses on the night before Christmas, but it’s definitely something to do with ‘Time2.’ Which is why we’re unsurprised to see him at Times Square Centre. Shoppers spending more than AED 250 in the mall can get hold of a voucher (upon showing a receipt for the same day) to visit Christmas Town, a little bit of the North Pole in the desert. Santa’s franchised workshop has shut up shop for the season as the man in red has retired for a well-deserved North Pole nap, but the festive cinema and snow park are still going strong. Those spending AED 250 on their seasonal shopping also get entered into a prize draw to win exciting giveaways like mall vouchers or a trip to the Maldives.
Snow zone until 4th January. Santa 2pm-6pm. Workshop, snow park, playzone and cinema 12pm-8am. Times Square Centre, Al Quoz.
Have you seen the muffin man?
Disclaimer: Santa is not here, but we included it because – gingerbread. That seasonal sweet and spicy snack that instantly puts your taste buds in a foot of fresh snow. Gingerbread Land invites kids to come and build gingerbread houses, and in a city so famed for its sweeeeeet construction, it feels right. Kiddos can top their biscuit villas with all sorts of candied goodness, gummies and sprinkles. The holiday fun also includes face-painting, karaoke, a prize wheel, and a Gingerbread Parade (on Thursdays and Fridays).
Parade 5pm, 7pm, 9pm. Gingerbread Land until 31st December, 5pm-10pm.
Skate don’t hate
Yeah normal Santa is cool, but have you ever seen a breakdancing Santa? He’s just one of the line-up of holiday-themed characters that will be parading around Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) as part of the #WOWJBR festive street theatrics. You’ll also be able to catch The Grinch, nutcrackers and calamitous Home Alone crooks, The Sticky Bandits.
The star on top of the JBR Christmas tree has to be the synthetic ice rink. Because at this time of year, it’s about the skaters not the haters. It does have competition from the giant Rubik’s Cube and human claw machine – where participants are strapped in, raised up and then lowered over a pit of prizes from JBR’s lovely retailers.
Until 27th December. JBR. Ice Rink 4pm-9pm on weekdays and 5pm-10pm on weekends. Characters – every Thursday and Friday from 5th to 27th December, 6:30pm-10pm. Human Claw, Telephone Booth and Rubik’s Cube – every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5th to 27th December, 6pm-10pm.
Saturday, 28th December
We shouldn’t really be surprised to see Santa in Bollywood Parks. He’s a snappy dresser, prone to episodal theatrics, he satisfies the hero dimension that any good Bollywood movie is driven by, and of course – there’s his famous catchphrase Jai ho ho ho. Over the festive period, you’ll be able to visit the jolly soul in his Grotto, there’ll also be a parade, seasonal decorations, choir singing, competitions and a special buffet.
AED 99. Annual park pass holders get access to Santa Comes to Bollywood activation (including buffet) for AED 49. 1pm-10pm until 28th December. Bollywood Parks, Dubai Parks and Resorts. 04 820 0000.
Written in the stars
Santa isn’t the only Skywalker this Christmas – The Rise of Skywalker, the concluding chapter of the nine-movie Star Wars odyssey, is out now on general release. It’s an emotional end of the road for a story about a galaxy far, far away – that’s been spelled out across the last four decades. And we cannot wait to see it. May the force be with us all.
At cinemas across Dubai now.