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One of Alserkal Avenue’s latest arrivals is Zawyeh Gallery, a space that promotes Palestinian and Middle Eastern artists, both emerging and established. The gallery opened in Dubai in 2020 and is the second outpost after Ramallah, Palestine which launched in 2013. Currently on display until 30th December is The Front Side Strikes the Most, an exhibition from Palestinian artist Saher Nassar, whose satirical work looks at conflict and the psychology of soldiers participating in it.
Wild & The Moon
Absorbing all that art can work up an appetite, so make your way to the peaceful Wild & The Moon for a healthy plant-based lunch to nourish the soul as well as the body. Here you’ll find high-quality, organic, vegan dishes on the menu, as well as a fridge stocked with colourful cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Alongside the breakfast bowls, salads, and sandwiches made with gluten free bread you’ll also find cookies, cakes and desserts – plus, a coffee menu offering a range of non-dairy milks.
The Good Life
Walk through Alserkal Avenue and you’ll struggle to find anybody wearing anything that resembles workwear. This is a district where the city’s most dedicated trainer fans wander the galleries and stop for an iced americano. Capitalising on Dubai’s enthusiasm for rare trainers is The Good Life, a minimalist warehouse-style store that stocks Nike, New Balance, Asics, Jordan and Reebok footwear for both men and women, as well as a cool edit of clothing and accessories.
While many coffee shops in Dubai take their brews seriously, Nightjar adds a healthy splash of humour to the process – case in point: the rubber ducks that sit on the taps dispensing cold brew coffee. Friendly baristas welcome caffeine-hunting customers to this cool café that roasts its impeccably sourced beans on site, all served to the beat of a curated vinyl soundtrack. Don’t leave without buying a souvenir bag of beans that come in psychedelic packaging.
Dubai’s only indie picture house, Cinema Akil, is a sepia-toned world away from the soulless multiplex cinemas inside Dubai’s shopping malls. Comfortable sofas, homemade chai and a thoughtfully curated calendar of arthouse movies attract a loyal crowd of cinephiles. Just recently, Cinema Akil (akil means wise in Arabic) ran popular retrospectives of Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese and Wong Kar-Wai, as well as Arab Cinema Week, and a Hong Kong Film Festival. Opened in 2018 by entrepreneur Butheina Kazim, Cinema Akil also isn’t afraid to show a classic blockbuster such as Home Alone or Thelma & Louise once in a while.
Leila Heller Gallery
Established on New York City’s Upper East Side in 1982, Leila Heller chose Dubai as the location for her first international gallery in 2015. The largest art space in the Middle East, Leila Heller Gallery is a cultural powerhouse within Alserkal Avenue that hosts ambitious exhibitions of contemporary art across its three rooms. Expect to see paintings, sculpture and large installations that not only please the eye but also contribute to the political dialogue of the Middle East.
The look on the faces of people leaving Crank after a spinning class is the best advertisement for this boutique fitness studio. Offering high-energy classes led by charismatic teachers like Louise Nichol, sessions are accompanied by an energetic soundtrack and the type of light show usually only seen at a concert. Alongside the addictive Ride classes, Crank also offers Shape HIIT movement sessions for a total body workout.
At artisanal chocolatier Mirzam, the packaging is almost as beautiful as the product itself. Exquisitely wrapped chocolate lines the shelves at this home-grown Dubai store that specialises in exotic flavours derived from the finest cocoa beans – the fig, star anise and cinnamon is exceptional. Pick up chocolate bars, covered dates and drinking chocolate while you’re here, while those who want to learn more can sign up for a factory tour, a tasting session or a moulding workshop where you get to make your own chocolate bar and design the wrapper.