The newest addition to Dubai’s social scene is a chic, discreet offering called the Little Black Door.
Nestled on the ground floor of the Conrad hotel, the venue is elegant and understated, a refreshing departure from the city’s existing bevy of bling-laden nightspots. It is the brainchild of founder Yasin Saleh Mohamed, a 38-year-old former lawyer from Canada.
“The name LBD, and the overall concept, was about wanting to create something understated and elegant, and there was a fashion element to it as well,” says Mohamed about the space, which opened two months ago and operates to full capacity most nights of the week.
“The name ‘Little Black Door’ suited exactly what we wanted. Knock to enter, cross the threshold and you’re guaranteed a different experience – a great night.”
The experience starts, as you might guess, at the lounge’s imposing black door, where a rap of the lotus-lion knocker grants guests access. Inside, the look and feel is an eclectic melange, with Bavarian chandeliers hanging from leather-clad ceilings, opulent furnishing and distressed brick walls.
Edison-inspired light fittings are reflected in the crystal-cut glasses glinting behind the expansive copper bar. Aged Chestertons are a nod to a gentleman’s lounge, while corset- backed club chairs give a baroque feel. Dotted about the floor are clusters of high tables and stools; low seating is offered in nooks along the walls.
“It’s intentionally understated, which I think is something very much needed, overall, in modern culture,” says Mohamed. “Everything right now is very ‘bling’ – loud and over the top.”
Over the top, for Mohamed, takes the form of beverages delivered to tables on trays laden with sparklers. It’s something of a Dubai tradition in many establishments and a “gimmick” LBD won’t be introducing. In addition to resident DJs filling the air with neo-soul and classic jazz, Mohamed has added something a bit different to create the right atmosphere.
“There’s a gong that sits behind the bar,” he says. “Guests run behind there and hit it. It’s interactive and fun and adds to an evening or a birthday gathering, for example.”
The menu is extensive, with dishes such as salmon tartare topped with caviar, presented in a bamboo black cone, and Canadian poutine – cheese curd in gravy with oxtail shavings, over a bowl of fries. Sweet treats include mini doughnuts, tiramisu and a classic crÃ¨me caramel. Prices aren’t mentioned anywhere, but expect to pay between Dh30 to Dh90.
Patrons running the gong-gauntlet at LBD are an eclectic and well-travelled crowd looking for a contrarian experience, says Mohamed, which he and his team have gone to great lengths to cater to. The result is a space that channels old-school New York cool, with a dash of fashion-forward London and a touch of a Parisian club privÃ©.
• The Little Black Door, Conrad hotel, Dubai is open from Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm to 3am. Booking required. Visit www.knocktoenter.com
Source: art & life