Alserkal Ave., Al Quoz
This place is a design junkies dream. Even if you're not in the market for home décor, the sprawling showroom and its endless stock of unique furniture, lighting, and home cinema options is worth a visit. (The sales people are incredibly knowledgeable about the design world.) Ikonhouse also hosts occasional talks with noteworthy architects, technology innovators, furniture designers, and more.
Unit 21, Alserkal Ave., Al-Quoz
A relative veteran by Dubai standards, Lawrie Shabibi's gallery has existed for more than five years, showing on the international circuit, throwing weight behind some important rising artists in the region. While you're in the neighborhood, it's also worth visiting the Green Art Gallery and The Third Line, both of which also operate on the international fair circuit and showcase some incredible Middle Eastern talent.
Jones the Grocer
Shaik Zayed Rd., Al Quoz
Originated in Sydney in 1996, Jones the Grocer's gourmet cafés are now in over seven countries (four cafes residing in Dubai alone), making it an easy-to-find standby for a solid meal and great host/hostess gifts in the form of gourmet chocolates, cheeses, jams, and other kitchen goodies. Post up in the café with a coffee and sandwich if you need to get a few hours of work done. There are also locations in Al Safa and the Dusit Thani Hotel.
Jones the Grocer
Sheikh Zayed Rd., Al Quoz
Originated in Sydney in 1996, Jones the Grocer's gourmet cafés are now in over seven countries (four cafes residing in Dubai alone), making it an easy-to-find standby for a solid meal and great host/hostess gifts in the form of gourmet chocolates, cheeses, jams, and other kitchen goodies. The café is a great place to set up with a coffee and sandwich for a few hours of work. There are also locations in Al Manara and the Dusit Thani Hotel.
Baker & Spice
Gold & Diamond Park, Al Quoz
Baker & Spice's casual menu is a balance of Western and Middle Eastern dishes, and changes based on what's in season (they source most of their produce from UAE farmers). The breakfast menu is full of healthy-ish classics like Turkish eggs, avocado toast with dukkah, and a famously good shakshouka, and lunch is a mix of fresh salads and hearty comfort food, like burrata salad with beetroot carpaccio, pumpkin and goat cheese tortellini, and roast chicken and potatoes. If you don't have time to order off the menu, you can also pick up fresh-baked bread, tarts, pastries, and pies to go. Now in its seventh season, their Friday farmer’s market at Business Bay is an amazing resource for locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. There are locations in Jumeirah, Souk Al Bahar, Souk Al Manzil, and the marina (oh, and they cater).
The Warehouse Gym
Umm Suqeim Rd., Al Quoz
With an interior covered in tagging and graffiti murals (and with house music blaring constantly), The Warehouse Gym is an old-school boxing gym on steroids. The facility houses over 20,000 square feet of exercise space, expansive circuit training areas, and a full-size MMA boxing ring. There's a full schedule of classes, including CrossFit, cycling, boot camp, fitbox, and TRX, and a ladies-only gym space, too. Everyone says good things about the dragonfruit bowl in their cafe, too.
Alserkal Ave., Al Quoz
A 4,000-square-foot loft group art space founded in 2005, thejamjar has an open painting studio that you can visit for two-, three-, and four-hour sessions. You choose your desired canvas size, and thejamjar provides all the other painting essentials, as well: easel, brushes, unlimited paint, coffee, tunes. Kid friendly, thejamjar can also be booked for parties, and they offer a series of educational events, including after-school courses via their Young Artist Programme (ages nine to fifteen), and the Art Academy for older students looking to build portfolios for art school. For adults, there are regular workshops taught by a variety of artists, including series like Abstract Acrylic Mondays.
Spill the Bean
Warehouse 90, Al Quoz
Located among Al Quoz’s industrial factories and warehouses which house Alserkal Avenue’s trendy contemporary art galleries, this spot has all of the makings of the perfect indie coffee shop. The pastries are excellent, the bright, high-ceilinged space is a great place to perch and work, and the coffee is some of the best in Dubai. All blends are 100 percent organic and fair trade, and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. If not at the Alserkal Avenue space, you might come across the coffee anyway, as they’re known for their pop-ups around the city.
Warehouse 70, Alserkal Ave., Al Quoz
This modern chocolate shop is actually housed inside the chocolate brand’s manufacturing facility—meaning, in one visit, you can see every step of the chocolate-making process by peering into glass-walled pods. In addition to chocolate tasting workshops, Mirzam is known for creating exceptional bars with just three ingredients (cocoa beans, unrefined cane sugar, and small amounts of cocoa butter), but that actually does a disservice to the chocolate you’ll sample there; they’re also known for the variety of spices they incorporate into their bars. (The name “Mirzam” is borrowed from a star of the same name that ancient spice traders used to navigate maritime routes). Limited-edition bars have included single-origin dark chocolate with roasted pumpkin seeds and sea salt wrapped in a hand-painted design by a local UAE artist, and a white chocolate offering infused with a chai spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves.
Wild & the Moon
St. 8, Alserkal Ave., Al Quoz
The creative arts hub that has become Alserkal Avenue in Dubai's warehouse Al Quoz district has a disproportionate amount of the city's cool, health-centric cafes and specialty food shops. Wild & the Moon feels like it was lifted out of LA (the other location is actually in Paris). The first floor houses an organic, cold-pressed juice/smoothie/plant milk bar; upstairs, there's additional seating, and an array of hanging greenery (sprawling ivy, potted ferns, mini cacti). It's a beautiful space to visit, but they also take online orders—if you've hit the bottle a little too hard the night before, you can get an entire juice cleanse set delivered.