Night and the city

When the sun dips below the horizon, this varied place really comes alive Discuss this article

2017_dohanight_1
© ITP Images

If you have ever searched for #doha on social media, you will have no doubt seen a lot of sunshine. As massive fans of beach clubs or daytime road trips, you won't hear any complaints from us. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for experiencing Doha after dark.

So, in a bid to break the boring cycle of work, bed, repeat, we've put together an all-encompassing guide to discovering the best things to do in in the city at night.

Enjoy it – you can sleep later.

Go karting in the dark
There's something about karting at night that gives the activity an atmospheric edge. Maybe it's the floodlights reflecting on the helmets or the purr of engines as the karts zoom around in the darkness. Or just that you can happily pretend to be Batman in pursuit of baddies as you zip around the track, breaking speed records and racing mates (just us?).
Daily. 5-10pm. Losail Circuit Sports Club, www.circuitlosail.com (4472 9151).

Family-friendly entertainment
Drop into the Doha Exhibition Centre any night during summer to take advantage of the exciting pop-up, Summer Entertainment City. The Qsports organised event is perfect for all of the family with more than 60 activities and attractions. We’re especially intrigued by the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course. Exercise that's fun? Sign us up.
Until September 5. 2-11pm. Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, West Bay, www.q-tickets.com (4406 9090).

Sleep under the stars
Yes, Time Out likes to enjoy the finer things in Doha, but we’re just as happy stargazing and toasting marshmallows by a campfire. Enjoy a peaceful evening with your besties during a well-organised camping expedition. Load up a convoy with supplies (by that we mean chocolate and crisps) and head out to Fuwairit, the Al Khor mangroves or the sand sculptures of Zekreet.
Head west out of the city past Al Shahaniya and take the signposted turn-off 10km before Dukhan. Set GPS for 25.517088, 50.870984 and explore.

Take a moonlit cruise
Whilst we recommend getting out onto Gulf waters at any time, night time cruises in particularly are romantic. There’s something about the way the moon reflects off in the shimmering water alongside the glittering skyline of Doha that creates excellent memories. Not to mention an abundance of clickworthy Instagram updates. Choose from a dhow cruise with on-board dining or just opt for a 45-minute sightseeing trip.
Daily. Call for cruise timings. Qatar Ventures, Barwa Village, Wakrah Road, www.ventures.qa (4016 4750).

Be a big kid at Megapolis
Regular readers will know by now that we’re big fans of this indoor theme park and entertainment centre. The enormous venue is crammed with virtual reality gaming, arcades and a variety of simulators and analogue games (that's bowling and billiards to you). It also rents out private karaoke suites. Time to get your Elvis on!
Sun-Sat 10-2am. Megapolis. The Pearl-Qatar, www.megapolisqatar.com, (3303 0555).

Late night screenings at a luxury cinema

Go VIP and hit a premium cinema to combine your home comforts with the latest films. Especially great when you’re attending an epic-length movie (anything over two hours deserves an upgrade, we reckon). During a late-night showing you can make the most of the comfy, full-recline seats, blankets and waiter service. Big summer blockbusters will still be showing in August – see new releases on page 62 – so check schedules.
Daily. Various timings. Flik Cinemas, Lagoona Mall, www.flikcinemas.com (4443 2757). Daily. Various timings. Novo Cinema, Mall of Qatar, www.mallofqatar.com.qa (4418 5736).

Go for a Drive and get karak

Karak, a sweet tea drink made with condensed milk and cardamom, is the unofficial national beverage that powers Qatar. It is not uncommon to see a line of cars forming in front of this humble snack 'n' slurp stop in Katara. It is open 24-hours so any time you fancy a purse-friendly yet delicious boost you can pull up and have it hand delivered direct to your car door.
Daily. 24hours. Chapati & Karak, Hikma Street, Katara Cultural Village, Katara, www.karakandchapati.com (4408 1408).

Jump around
More anticipated than an ABBA reunion (but just as bouncy), we’ve been looking forward to this highly-anticipated opening of Bounce Qatar for months. According to the latest reports, the doors will open in August. We’ll be at the very front of the queue, eager to add this fun new evening activity to our repertoire.
Timings TBA. Bounce Qatar, Tawar Mall, Al Dubail, www.bounce.qa (4321 1400).

Watch live football

Footy fans needn't wait until midnight to catch a match from the top European leagues on TV. The country's top football division, Qatar Stars League, is on a summer break but will be back for a new season when temperatures drop to a more manageable evening level. There's a handful of recognisable names from top leagues, most notably former Barcelona captain Xavi, who will be showing off their ball skills as well-paid imports and the cream of Qatari's own players.
Visit www.qsl.com.qa for more league information and fixtures.

Born slippy
Whether you're a child or just an adult disguised as a child (otherwise known as a big kid) there is nothing quite as exhilarating as sliding about on water tubes and flumes. The trouble is that al fresco summer fun can all too easily bring on the kind of sunburn a lobster would laugh at. Post-sunset visits to the Aqua Park are an easy way to avoid chance of cooking whilst whizzing down a slide. If you pop along at 7pm you can enjoy three hours of watery excitement minus the need for a thick layer of factor 50.
Sun-Thu, 1-10pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-10pm. Aqua Park Qatar, Salwa Road, www.aquaparkqatar.com (4490 5672).

Take a stroll in Aspire Park

Not everything to do at night requires a raised heart rate. Sometimes doing very little is more than enough and, actually, very rewarding. The very beautiful Aspire Park is an ideal place to take a leisurely stroll after dark. Doha's largest park is spread over 88 hectares. As well as a café to purchase drinks and boats to rent, there are playgrounds for kids, expansive lawns and a massive lake with resident ducks to keep you company if you do decide to go for a walk at night. Quack quack.
Aspire Park, Al Waab Street, www.aspirezone.qa (4413 8188).

Full moon yoga
Feeling a little stressed? Enrolling in a yoga class is a quickfire way to bring some much-needed chill into your life. Outdoor sessions add an extra element of tranquility and freedom, something that will help you when performing and perfecting your stretches by moonlight. Doha yogi Vishnu Swasthi teaches classes at the Sheraton Grand and offers monthly moonlit yoga courses.
Call for timings. Sheraton Grand Doha, Al Corniche Street, www.vishnuswasthiyoga.com (7053 8971).

Go for dinema
People have been combining dinner and cinema visits for generations but have they come up with a word? We have – dinema. We think the best way to experience this delightful combination in Doha is at a celebrity chef’s in-cinema restaurant. Theatre (by top Brit chef) Gary Rhodes' exclusive Vox restaurant is the place to go. The private lounge has dishes such as Rhodes' lobster, chicken Caesar tacos and a foie gras panini. It's a long way from your standard popcorn and hot dog blockbuster fodder.
Daily. Call for timings. Vox Cinema, Doha Festival City, www.voxcinemas.com (4481 1682).

Shop the night away
It seems unfathomable to us that other countries close their shops, malls and precincts at around 6pm. Seriously, what are people doing in the evening? It’s not that we’re addicted to shopping (that’s not quite true) but a mall visit in the late evening is an excellent way to while away a few twilight hours. In exciting news for shoppaholics, Al Hazm is now open until midnight every night, and Tawar Mall is coming soon. Shopping can totally be counted as a sport, right?
Daily. 11am-midnight. Al Hazm, 176 Main Airport Road, www.alhazm.com (4411 1444). Doha Festival City. Sun-Wed, 9am-10pm; Thu, 9am-11pm; Fri, 9-11.30am, 12.30-11pm; Sat, 9am-11pm. Doha Festival City, Umm Salal Muhammed, www.festivalcitydoha.com
(4477 6591). Mall of Qatar. Sat-Wed, 10am-11pm; Thu-Fri, 10am-midnight. Mall of Qatar, Ar-Rayyan, www.mallofqatar.qa (4034 6000).

Explore a different Souq and Corniche

Doha's best known souq is still Souq Waqif, but for an alternative traditional shopping experience we think you could do a lot worse than take a trip to the Al Wakrah Souq. Think of it as a mini Souq Waqif and take a stroll along its mini corniche to discover cafés and retail spots. The 3km stretch is great for a dusk walk and, with restaurants such as Brazilian eatery Copacabana, Arabian restaurant Al Koufa and dozens more, there is much to discover.

See the desert at night

The dunes might be beautiful by day but the searing summer sunshine is enough to keep even the most acclimatised dune fans indoors. Try visiting at night for an ethereal by night experience. See Qatar's natural landscape in a different light with a sunset dunebashing session down towards the Inland Sea. This gorgeous spot is geographically diverse with the dunes coming right down to the water’s edge. You can also spot migratory birds and the occasional turtle coming for a feed. It’s like a scene from Jurassic Park but without the man-eating dinosaurs.
Drive south towards Khor Al Adaid after taking the Mesaieed Road. Set GPS for 24.652441, 51.425384.

Gothic glamour nights
Melia Doha's atmospheric lounge is based on the dark, brooding Hollywood noir style. It's dimly lit, darkly decorated and positively crackles with an after-hours buzz. That doesn't mean it's moody and miserable. Frequent hip-hop, techno, gents' and ladies' nights help to draw an energetic and friendly crowd.
Daily. 5pm-2am. Noir Lounge, Melia Doha, Diplomatic Area, West Bay, www.noir-doha.com (5596 1414).

Dance until late at Crystal Lounge
We'll admit that the nightclub scene in Doha isn't huge but W Doha's signature lounge is more than enough to make a party animal happy. Regular nights include Y.O.L.O (a Sunday evening packed with old-school tunes), Arabesque (dance tunes with an Arabian twist on Saturdays) Deja Vu house on Wednesdays and hip-hop on Tuesdays. It is one of the best spots for late-night parties and will make you see West Bay in a new light.
Daily. 8pm-2am. Crystal Lounge, W Doha Hotel, West Bay, www.crystaldoha.com (4453 5135).

Experience an evening at Nozomi
It's the best restaurant in Doha so you really should take the time to visit. It's especially cool at night when the trendy people of Doha emerge from wherever it is they dwell during the day. Upmarket, chic and, let's not forget, tasty, Japanese morsels like Kobe tacos and Nippon short ribs will blow your mind as will the wicked ambience. Whilst there, take in the view from the Marsa Malaz Kempinski out to sea and congratulate yourself on an excellent night of dining. Well done, you.
Daily. 6.30pm-2am. Nozomi, Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Qatar, www.nozomi-doha.com (4035 5089).

Try arty eats by Alain Ducasse

Sometimes we worry we’re going to run out of superlatives to describe this restaurant. Celebrity chef and culinary pioneer Alain Ducasse’s triumphant eatery is one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the Middle East. The restaurant, which is located in Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, is picture-perfect at night and one of the few eateries we could just stand and gawp at. The food is just as arty, each dish a treat for the eyes (and the belly). It's haute cuisine and silver service at its finest right here in Qatar.
Wed-Sun, 7-10pm. IDAM by Alain Ducasse, MIA, Corniche, www.alain-ducasse.com (4422 4488).

Indulge in late night dessert
Because you never know when you’re going to have a major craving for Turkish ice cream, right? A 24-hour dessert restaurant is something every neighbourhood should have. It should be, like, law or something. Which is why Al Sadd residents will be over-the-moon to hear they can pick up delicious frozen desserts any time of day or night. We're sure we read somewhere that calories mean less when consumed in the twilight hours... (This is not true).
Daily. Open 24 hours. Edem 46, opposite La Cigale Hotel, Al Sadd (4444 0194).

Live music at Irish Garden
Casual is the order of the day at the Sheraton’s Friday night music sessions. Live musicians provide acoustic jams with fairy lights and candles at one of the most laid-back events in the city.
Free (ladies before 8.30), QR65 (ladies), QR100 (gents). Fridays. 6pm-late. The Irish Garden, Sheraton Doha, Al Corniche Street, www.facebook.com/TheBackYardDoha (3300 3839).

All Night long Happy hour
When musical legend Lional Richie created his All Night Long hit, we'd like to think he had an epic happy hour promotion at The Den in Shangri-La Doha in mind. It is, after all, the longest happy hour in Doha. Drinks are priced QR30 all the way through to 1am, making it well worth swinging by.
Free. Daily. 5pm-1am. The Den, Shangri-La Doha, West Bay, www.shangri-la.com (4429 5000).

Take in the sights
As much as we adore the gorgeous sunshine, there is something inescapably special about seeing our city at night. In our humble opinion, there is nowhere better to do that than on the 56th floor of the InterContinental Doha. Take in the beautiful landscape from way up high then spend an hour trying to spot your house.
Strata Lounge, InterContinental Doha - The City, West Bay, www.ihg.com (4015 8888).

Dine like a VIP

Some restaurants are so ridiculously special they should probably only be experienced with romantic lighting at night. Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan – the Doha branch of the benchmark Chinese dining experience – is such a place. It is fine dining at its most premium. Swoon over Peking duck with Beluga caviar, dim sum platters and the most sumptuous seafood and meat dishes.
Daily. 6-11.30pm and brunch on Fridays. Hakkasan Doha, St. Regis Doha, West Bay, www.hakkasan.com (4446 0170).

Go for shisha
The aromatic whiff of shisha smoke hangs over this al fresco lounge. After the sun sets on the Arabian Gulf, luminous shisha bowls and pipes are lit up as groups chatter and catch up late into the night. At the Al Jarsa Garden Lounge you can try out this traditional pastime with a variety of flavours and blends.
Sat-Wed, noon-2am; Thu-Fri, 3am. Al Jalsa Garden Lounge, InterContinental The City, Dafna, www.ihg.com (4015 8888).

Listen to jazz
Jazz music was invented to be played in dark and, maybe even, smoky clubs. There is an energy about late night jamming that makes jazz one of the great American art forms. The St. Regis has been the unofficial home of old school jazz in the city for years and, although it has lost some of the international credentials, it has as much funk and sass as you would want to shake your groove at. For more live music see the listings on page 56.
Daily. 6pm-late. The Club, St. Regis Doha, West Bay, www.theclubdoha.com (4446 0000).

Work out all night
Confession time. We don’t admit this often, but we’ve become rather partial to those motivational YouTube videos that hype up fitness fanatics to push themselves further and train harder. We’re not going to the gym as often as we should, but are addicted to the pumped-up videos about testing your body, mental and physical strength to the limits. If you’re psyched and ready to crunch your core for a few hours while ordinary folk are fast asleep, this well-stocked gym is open 24 hours a day and even has classes such as MMA training until late evening.
Daily. 24hrs. Anytime Fitness, Al Muftah Plaza, Al Rayyan St, www.anytimefitness.qa (4414 4999).

Visit a luxury gym
Burning calories doesn’t have to mean going spartan. The luxury touches at this VIP fitness club make it perfect for working out in the knowledge that you're getting superior quality service. Apart from the fact that the facility is open 24 hours a day there are convenience options that make an evening training routine extra useful. These range from complimentary car wash and dry-cleaning services as well as state-of-the-art exercise equipment.
Daily. 24hrs. Q Gym, next to Duhail Handball Sports Hall, www.qgymelite.com (3339 9847).

Stretch after dark
Much was made of entrepreneur Jawaher Al Fardan's venture being the first Qatari-owned yoga studio and vegan café when it opened last year. We’re still very fond of the well-being ideals the business is based on and also appreciate the late hours of operation. So often we hear of dawn yoga sessions but think that an after-work session at a studio such as this Qanat Quartier gem is the perfect way to unwind. There are numerous evening classes with the latest not completing the oms and aahs until around about 9.30pm. In yoga circles that is well past the usual bedtime. Rebel yogis unite.
Timings on request. Niya Yoga, Mercato Palazzo, Qanat Quartier, www.niyayoga.qa (4468 2562).

Strike it lucky at Qatar Bowling

It is easy to forget, so let us remind you again. Ten-pin bowling is technically a sport. Don’t laugh, it really is. It might not be the type of sport that attracts the finest athletes or requires long days of dedication and teamwork in the gym, but it is a sport nonetheless. One of the few that are best played at night and the 32 lanes at this massive alley means there is always a good chance to fit a few frames in. Evenings is usually league time and you can see the best-of-the-best in Qatar throwing strikes and boosting averages.
Sat-Wed, 9am-midnight; Thu, 9am-2am; Fri, 8-1am. Qatar Bowling Centre, Al Bidda, www.qatarbowlingcenter.net (4432 9178).

Try out an escape game
One of the biggest lifestyle trends in recent years has been the growth in popularity of escape games. The simple pitch is that you and a group of friends are locked in a room and have to use wit, cunning and puzzle solving skills to escape. Because of the total lack of sunshine involved they’re a good idea for nights – leaving you free to soak up sun in the day. A variety of challenges include zombie escapes, spy-themed challenges and even localised versions that see you escape to avoid a World Cup disaster or art heist.
Daily. 2pm-11pm. Escapology, New Salata Area, www.escapologyqa.com (3132 3007). Daily. Call for timings. Escape Hunt Qatar, Dar Alsalam Mall, Abu Hamour, www.escapehunt.com (3306 1971). Daily. 8.30am-11.30pm. Adventure Rooms, New Salata Area,
www.adventureroomsqa.com (7050 0139).

Billiards battle
There is nothing at all to stop you playing cue sports in the daytime. But, like eating a kilo of cheese after midnight or swimming in your work suit, it is just frowned upon. Better to let it get dark outside then rack up in a darkened room with table spotlights. More than half a dozen full-size snooker tables and around 15 pool tables are featured at this popular club and there are regular tournaments with high-quality competition matches. Perfect for keen snooker fans or people just looking to pot a few balls.
Daily. 4pm-2am. Rendezvous Bowling and Billiards, Al Hazimi Street, www.rendezvousbilliards.net (4486 6446).

Visit a floating Restaurant
Doha looks amazing from up on high. We’ve said it countless times. But when dishing out the all-important jaw-dropping effect to stun a visitor it is very difficult to beat the post-sunset views at this beauty of an al fresco bar. For starters, the Q Lounge is homed on a private island a short boat trip away from mainland Qatar. The trip takes the visitor that little bit further out and onto a jetty to discover a floating restraurant without compare. Banana Island looks gorgeous by night and, looking back across water at the city skyline whilst relaxing at a table, it is one of the most atmospheric places in the city.
Daily. 6.30-10.30am, noon-11.30pm. Q Lounge, Banana Island Resort, www.anantara.com (4040 5116).

Wear a tropical floral lei at Trader Vic's
Notorious mixed drinks, a famed happy hour and more floral shirts than you'd expect to see outside of the Pacific Ocean make Trader Vic's one of the enduring party hotspots of Qatar. A night here is so unashamedly fun that it can’t even fall into the guilty pleasure category. It's a pleasure, simple. Even the indoors feels like the outside at this cool Hilton Doha spot thanks to its stunning panoramic views, so a late-night visit and long stretch should always be high on your must-list, whatever the time of day or year. Just remember to wear your best (and loudest) shirt. We can't promise you'll win a prize but the effort will be appreciated.
Sun-Thu, 4pm-2am; Fri-Sat, 12.30pm-2am. Trader Vic's, Hilton Doha, West Bay, www.tradervicsdoha.com (4423 3118).

Take a walk at Lusail Marina
We all know that Qatar will change beyond recognition in the next five years as it gears up to host the 2022 World Cup. One district pencilled in for plenty of change is Lusail City and it will blossom into an entire new district before long. Which makes it all the more important for Qatar residents to make the most of it now while it is a romantic, quiet and genuinely soothing place for a stroll if you make your way to the Marina at night. Pretty blue lights and the gentle bobbing of luxury yachts give you something to look at. Of course it is best if you have a craft of your own to anchor at one of the berths, but even without that it is worth a drive north from Doha to enjoy an evening wander.
Daily. 24hrs. Lusail Marina, Lusail City, www.mourjan-lusailmarina.com (5584 3282).

Visit the town centre of Pearl Qatar

Flick through literature about Medina Centrale in Pearl Qatar and you’ll see all sorts of expressions like 'mixed-use development' or 'retail and lifestyle destination'. Ask residents and visitors in the know, however, and they’ll tell you like it is: this is the heart of the manmade island neighbourhood and the true centre of Doha. Stroll the pedestrian-friendly streets after dark and there is a distinctly European vibe. You could easily be in a cosmopolitan Spanish city and with dozens of coffee shops, casual restaurant chains and boutique stores to drop in on. Grab a traditional fan and you'll all but be on a mediterranean break. It's nice to be outdoors and not be in a mall when the weather feels cool enough to walk and there is even a pretty patch of parkland and a water feature to enjoy in the hours after dusk. Take your fave book and curl up on the grass for a few chapters.
Daily. 24hrs. Medina Centrale, The Pearl Qatar, www.thepearlqatar.com (4409 5155).

Argentinean food in a legendary Souq
We couldn’t, in all conscience, compile a list of things to do at night in Doha and not include a walk around Souq Waqif. Just the thought is too shocking to comprehend. The authentic shopping experience features on many Time Out round-ups and for very good reason. Residents know it as one of the best tourist attractions and traditional experiences in the city. Among the souvenir spots and numerous varied eateries you can find one of the few Latin American restaurants in Doha and one that is open 24 hours a day. That’s right, you can come here for empanadas and shisha at any time of day or night which is all kinds of delightful. All of a sudden midnight cravings for steaks are justified. FYI, the juicy quality of meat would make an actual Argentine proud.
Daily. 24 hours. La Boca, Souq Waqif.

Play a round of night golf
Tee time at twilight? Night golf is exactly what you think it is. Except, perhaps, it is more fun than you are giving it credit for. Rather than having to stand in the baking heat, desperately trying not to sweat in your new swanky golf kit, you can enjoy swinging your clubs in the relative cool of the evening. The floodlit academy course at Doha Golf Club invites players of all levels to work on their swing and hole-in-one celebrations until way after sun has set its weary head. Just nine holes means the game is quicker, although the greens and fairways are kept to the same high standard. We can't comment on the rough or the bunkers because we really haven't seen that much of them.
Daily. 6am-midnight. Doha Golf Club, West Bay Lagoon, www.dohagolfclub.com (4496 0777).

Take a desert safari
A night of desert safari is right up there with the very best tourist activities in the Middle East. Visitors to our fair shores love the ambience and sights, sounds and smells of the Bedouin-style overnight camps. As well as offering a sample of traditional barbecue, sandboarding and the all-important late-night campfire, some tour-providers offer additional evening entertainment and the comfort and convenience of a professional camp.
Call for timings. Qatar International Adventures, Al Rawabi Street, www.qia-qatar.com (4455 3954).

By Shereen D'Souza
Time Out Doha,

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter

Submit

Search

Explore by