Soul and jazz at Muze, Souk al Bahar, Downtown Dubai

Dear Diary,

Muze is a live music venue in Souk al Bahar that opened in December 2015. It’s an intimate jazz club with low ceilings and dark interiors, with a bar at the back and seating oriented around the main focal point of the venue – the stage. You can choose lounge seating, tables or cocktail tables.

Muze opens in the evening a few days each week and showcases an eclectic mix of entertainment, be it Muze’s resident all-Cuban Band Son de Verdad playing Latin music, a resident DJ playing 80s music, or an Arabic band performing taarab. In February, Muze added jazz and soul to the mix with the addition of its Friday nights with Lebanese singer-songwriter Rouba, who has also performed at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s MusicHall.

Inside Muze Live Music Room at Souk al Bahar Downtown Dubai

Rouba is a big woman with a strong presence and a soulful, earthy voice. She has a warmth about her that infuses the venue. She’s constantly smiling on stage, interacting with her band, and she genuinely looks like she loves what she does. Before and after sets, you see her taking long drags on her cigarettes and chatting earnestly with the punters as if they’re all dear friends.

Doors open at 8pm, but Rouba only hit the stage around 10pm. She performed two sets of about 45 minutes each which comprised a number of covers – from Al Jarreau to Bob Marley to the Fugees to Tina Turner to Luther Vandross to Lisa Stansfield. According to Rouba, the songs change each night. She and her band decide a set list, then swap the songs as they go along, according to their whim.

Soul and jazz night with Rouba at Muze Live Music Room at Souk al Bahar Downtown Dubai

While you’re waiting, you can enjoy drinks from the bar, including Muze’s signature house cocktails. The drinks on offer are creative and the mixologists do some unusual things with the ice. My Vivace (fresh mandarin, amaretto, Aperol and prosecco) arrived in a champagne flute with a concave round of ice filled with pomegranate seeds set on top. I actually had to ask the server how to drink it! She suggested pushing the ice into the glass. Yep, that worked.

Vivace cocktail at Muze Live Music Room at Souk al Bahar Downtown Dubai

Mr. S’s Cuban Sazarac (made with 7-year old rum) also had some dramatic blocks of ice inside.

Cuban Sazerac cocktail at Muze Live Music Room at Souk al Bahar Downtown Dubai

If you need another reason to pop down to Muze, ladies get 3 free drinks at Muze on a Friday night. We found the cocktails to be on the weak side, so with the steep prices (AED 65-85 per cocktail) you may be better off sticking to beer, wine or standard mixed drinks. But alas, as there’s no entry fee – just a minimum spend – so you can also suck it up and put it down to the price you’re paying for the entertainment.

If you get peckish, you can order from the limited menu of Mexican-inspired dishes prepared by Loca restaurant. I can only go for so long without food, so Mr. S and I shared a kingfish ceviche and an order of beef quesadillas (more like burritos) which were both filling and tasty. While it’s not a place to go for a full dinner (they only have two mains), it’s fine for a light snack when you need something to line your stomach.

Adobo beef tenderloin quesadillas at Muze Live Music Room at Souk al Bahar Downtown Dubai

Muze is open Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 PM till 2 AM and features the following:

Sunday – Blues Night
Wednesday – Levant night
Thursday – Cassette night
Friday – Soul and Jazz night

There is a minimum spend of AED 150 per person and they recommend you book a table in advance.

Verdict: Great place for live music, unlike other venues in Dubai. Smoking is allowed inside so you get can get a real jazz club atmosphere.
Note to self: Stick to the hard stuff if you want to get sloshed.

Souk al Bahar
Downtown Dubai
Tel: 04 450 1037

Muze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato