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Six vocalists sway in sync, while the nine-piece band lays down a blend of hip-hop and African dance-hall rhythms for a crowd of Dancing near the stage are a sweaty clutch of African construction workers, fresh from their hour shifts. Sitting at the tables behind them are men from the Arab merchant class and their bejeweled girlfriends. At the back of the room, I spot a few American and English expatriates timidly checking out the scene. Dubai after hours has become a kind of fun-house-mirror reflection of the city at large, entwining the land baron, office drone and construction laborer.
And in a land of manufactured islands and indoor ski slopes, going out just may be the closest thing to an authentic cultural experience this town has to offer. Wearing Mavi capri jeans, heels and a jaunty cap, Glunz stands outside the front door with a clipboard, smiling as another Maybach — the second in 15 minutes — pulls around. Two stunning young Lebanese women in tight cocktail dresses and stilettos climb out of the car, followed by a man wearing new shoes, a shirt opened one button too many and too much cologne.
Above the dance floor are V. Western-style excess is, predictably, the predominant ethos among Dubai nightclubs, which are almost always inside hotels. Within several square blocks are a Russian music club, several Indian strip joints partial-nudity only , a Japanese karaoke bar, a few hangouts popular with Eastern European prostitutes, a mixed gay-straight disco and a spot where you can catch an Iranian belly-dancing act. Officially, much of the fun that Dubai gets up to is forbidden.
View all New York Times newsletters. Mostly that line seems to be little more than a ripple in the sand. Imagine if they arrested everyone who went out to clubs.
Who would come and stay in the five-star hotels, or even work in them? A government crackdown seems improbable, if not impossible. The city needs a monthly influx of more than 5, new residents in order to sustain economic growth. Ten years? Clubs and bars. Most places have a particular theme or cater primarily to one ethnic audience.