Nightlife in Muscat tends to refer more to a picnic under the streetlamps of the coast road or a few kebabs with friends at one of the ubiquitous coffee shops. That said, all the hotels have lively bars (with a licence for alcohol) and a few local dance venues are beginning to gather momentum. All are obliged to double as restaurants.
Most of Muscat's cultural activities are arranged on an ad hoc basis. To find out what's on, buy a copy of Oman Today or check the English daily newspapers, such as the Oman Observer (www.omanobserver.om).
Bars in Muscat
Feeney's Restaurant and Bar
Ironically, for the expats who call this Irish boozer a home from home, Feeney's has upped sticks again and is now at the Beach Bay Hotel. Muscat's first Irish pub has all the charms of an Emerald Isle tavern: a warm welcome, cold Guinness, decent grub and live music. It gets packed at the weekend.Address: Hayy As Saruj, Beach Hotel, 3040 Way, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2469 6601.
Habana Sports Bar
It's hard to join the dots here: this oft-packed sports bar, named after a Cuban capital is decked out like an African colonialist's hunting lodge. However, look past the décor and you'll find the best place to get a decent pint with some pub grub and watch live football, rugby and F1.Address: Shatti Al Qurm, Al Shati Street, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2464 1234.
While its name conjures up ideals of grafting poets and drunken painters, the Left Bank actually looks more airport lounge than a bohemian wine house. Still, the cocktails are delectable, especially if taken on the terrace come sunset. There are regular drink deals too, including a very popular ladies night on Mondays.Address: , Qurm Heights Road, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2469 3699.
Clubs in Muscat
Located in the Safari Entertainment Complex of the Grand Hyatt Muscat, this lively venue is decked out in faux-African decorations and has a resident DJ spinning tunes late into the night. While the dancefloor is pretty petite, the crowd still make the most of it, especially after a few happy hour drinks.Address: Shatti Al Qurm, Al Shati Street, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2464 1234.
For those for whom East Coast means less Mombasa and more Mexico, Pavo Real offers tequila-fuelled dancing at weekends (Wednesday and Thursday nights in Muscat). While it's essentially a Mexican restaurant, there are dance parties on Thursdays as well as live bands and karaoke throughout the week. The food is decent too.Address: , Al Madina Plaza, Al Bashair Street, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2460 2603.
For modish maraca shaking, there's a nightly ensemble getting things going at Trader Vic's, a Polynesian-inspired bar at the InterContinental Hotel. The dance floor is limited but it doesn't stop diners and divas jostling for hip space - especially after one or two of the venue's well-mixed cocktails.Address: Shatti Al Qurm, Al Kharjiya Street, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2468 0080.
Live music in Muscat
His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos, is a classical music enthusiast and concerts are occasionally performed at Al-Bustan Hotel, a super sharp Ritz-Carlton property right on the beachfront. Else you can hear sophisticated piano and violin music that's often performed as an accompaniment to afternoon tea or dinner.Address: , Muttrah Street, Muscat, 1998
Telephone: +968 2479 9666.
Nestled away as part of the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, the name of this classy, aquatic-hued cocktail bar all but gives the game away. Among the margarita and mojito nights, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, expect a light tinkling of the ivories in the corner as stylish clientele sup away at some superb concoctions.Address: Qantab, , Muscat, 644
Telephone: +968 2477 6666.
Royal Opera House
Offering a world-class programme of classical orchestras, jazz stars and Arabian musicians, the elegant Royal Opera House opened in 2011 and is still the best place to go for theatre, dance and to see the fantastic Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra. Note: it has a smart dress code, so not trainers or jeans. Shows September to May.Address: Shatti Al Qurum, Al Kharjiyah Street, Muscat,
Telephone: +968 2440 3300.