A Dubai Newbie’s Guide To Al Serkal
For those new to Dubai, its likely you’re still caught up in wondering what to do beyond visiting high-end dining spots, luxurious malls and happening night clubs, but there is more to the city than meets the eye. Aside from all the glitz of the night lights and glamorous spots, there is an edgy urban scene that is rather refreshing… Al Serkal.
Al Serkal is situated in Dubai’s industrial district of Al Quoz and jam packed full of art spaces, concept stores, coffee spots and event spaces. It’s a haven for those needing a break from the fabulous Dubai life and needing to hit the refresh button to take in some art, inspiration and conversation over coffee. This is your guide on Al Serkal and what to do there…
Things To Do: Cinema Akil
Coming up to winter, Cinema Akil is the ultimate outdoor hang out and makes for the perfect evening out as the cinema screens movies in the outdoors every evening in the Al Serkal Avenue Yard. Onsite stalls serve delicious snacks, the outdoor seats consist of foam chairs for you to get comfy in while you watch the latest indie flick.
Al Kass Ceramic Studio
Al Kass Ceramic Studio welcomes all kinds of artists—the pottery virgins to the experienced ceramicist and sculptor—in a safe, friendly, fully equipped, communal space for anyone wishing to express their creativity using the medium of clay. From earthenware and stoneware to porcelain and Raku, the Al Kass team produces a wide range of unique handmade ceramic art pieces from mugs and plates to wall murals, sculptures or architectural ceramics according to their client’s needs if you’re looking for the perfect porcelain for your home.
The Jam Jar
The Jam Jar – another spot for getting stuck into something calming and creative. The community arts space hosts painting parties and drawing workshops, as well as dance performances and exhibitions showcasing work by young and emerging local talent. Founded in 2005, The Jam Jar engages audiences and promotes local artists, as well as supporting the development of Dubai's art scene through its extensive art programs, educational initiatives, and community projects.
Where To Look At Art: Lawrie Shabibi
Lawrie Shabibi is a renowned art gallery in Al Serkal, and home to some of the most noted names in art from across the Middle East, South and Central Asia and North Africa regions. The gallery was founded in 2010 and opened its doors in early 2011 in Al Serkal Avenue. The space quickly became the hub of contemporary art in the region, and has been pioneering in the development of Dubai’s contemporary art scene. A major focus remains the support of artists from the diaspora who create work in all media to explore issues such as identity, memory, history and socio-political issues specific to the diasporic experience.
Leila Heller Gallery
Leila Heller has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in promoting creative dialogue and exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. In November 2015, Leila Heller opened the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai, its first international location in Dubai’s Al Serkal Avenue. At 14,000 square feet, it is a state-of-the-art gallery features three exhibition spaces, making it the largest gallery in the UAE. Showcasing leading regional and international artists, the gallery is dedicated to supporting the evolving practice of established artists.
The Third Line
From saturated hues in the form of pop photographs by Morocco’s Hassan Hajjaj to Iranian Monir Sharoudy Farmanfarmaian’s bold mosaic-inspired installations, The Third Line exhibits vivid and bright collections of contemporary works across all mediums – from paintings to pictures, if you can’t nab that painting youre in love with, you can take home an artsy coffee table treasure among other items in the gallery bookstore.
What To Eat: Nightjar
Nightjar was founded in 2017 by a group of eclectic coffee lovers who took their passion for coffee and the communities that grow it and bought that to their flagship warehouse in Al Serkal Avenue. Now, they are leading the market in artisanal coffee roasting, cold brew production and all round good times. Serving up a mouthwatering menu full of breakfast, lunch and dinner options, not to mention their incredible desserts, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Pekoe is a teahouse and small batch Asian bakery. A totally simple concept, the calming space offers up fresh bakes daily and an extensive tea and coffee menu. The freshly baked madeleines make for the perfect accompaniment with any of Pekoes teas that come from Nepal, India, China and Japan in a number of varieties including oolong, white tea, green tea, black and matcha.
Wild & The Moon
Plant based vegan café, Wild & The Moon is situated right in the center of Al Serkal and offers up a number of options such as cold-pressed juices and organic dishes with ethically sourced ingredients. Only offering up healthy alternatives to visitors, the recipes are inspired by seasons with meals to share with friends and families. Wild & The Moon ensures there are no additives to its food with a new take on flavors throughout the year.
What To Buy: The Edit
The Edit is a first-of-its-kind concept store that offer up a list of brands - some of which exclusively retail here in the Middle East at the Edit. From being a concept space to an art gallery with fashion, art, design, coffee and events all under one roof, The Edit is not only aesthetically pleasing but the city’s best kept secret when it comes to the coolest fashions. Open daily from 10am to 8pm, the space is also dog friendly.
The Flip Side
For those who are all about collection records, The Flip Side is Dubai’s only independent record shop that has a variety of music stocks from all over the world. With different genres of music, as well as occasion and live music events, it’s a music community that brings like-minded people together. From lesser-known future classics to hits from the 70s, its easy to get lost in music at this store.
Nappa Dori is one of India’s foremost contemporary design brands that has captured the imagination of the world through it’s carefully curated design aesthetic and craftsmanship that preserves artisanal sensibilities and minimalism to harmoniously blend form with function. The brand’s Dubai flagship is situated in the heart of Al Serkal and is an inspiring concept space that not only offers cool leather accessories, homewares, stationary and more, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy working from the store too.