Havana Party

Havana Mondays at CATCH, Fairmont Hotel, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai

It’s a Monday night and you’re hankering after a bit of Latin spirit, I mean why wouldn’t you be? As far as I’m concerned there’s only one place to go to move your hips and feet to some live salsa beats, so brush off your Cuban heels and shimmy over to CATCH in the Fairmont Hotel, they’re Havana party.

From 8pm every Monday, CATCH plays host to a full-on party, starting with Salsa classes, and followed by some live Havana sounds. Many years ago, due to the piss-taking of Baz Luhrmann’s film “Strictly Ballroom”, I retired my gold-sequinned and befeathered bolero jacket and vowed never to dance a paso double ever again. I mean who wants to see a Dad-dancing?

My younger light-footed friend, however, was up for it and joined the mixed troop on the dance floor. To my greatest pleasure he – at 6’6” – was partnered with the shortest, stoutest woman on the dance floor. It’s cruel but I almost wet myself laughing as he snapped his arm and spine to spin beneath her elevated arm.

Following the dance class, the 6-piece live band began its loud and energetic set. This was the first time that I’d ever heard Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” in a zooped-up salsa stylee. It was good; toes start tapping and before long people were hitting the dance floor, eager to prove their newly-learnt dance steps among a poorly synchronised and clumsy clan.

This is a raucous crowd for a Monday night and before long it was standing room only – full to capacity – much like the skin-tight jeans worn by the majority of the customers.

With the full weight of the crowd, four or five deep all along the bar (expat flashback to Saturday nights in Shoreditch), we were forced to order drinks via the table service. The service is friendly enough but it’s best to bulk order your drinks. You won’t miss the waiting staff, all of the lads have been weirdly dressed in white shirts, black braces and straw hats like extras from the TV show ‘Breaking Amish’.

The Amish boys brought small bowls of food to our table too. Some showed signs of Latin influence and flavour (the food, not the boys) such as the tiny beef tacos and the chilli shrimps. My favourite was the palm-sized portion of mac and cheese. It had just the right amount of cheesiness and saltiness, rather like tonight’s crowd.

It’s a Monday night in Dubai. Even within the Fairmont itself, there are loads of other places to go (next door is Bagatelle for example), but this smoky, faux-vintage Cuban lounge is where it’s at. The atmosphere is charged with people simply celebrating our multi-cultured city and the infectious joy of life. This is a party that could – and will – go on and on but I’m ducking out just after midnight, I’ve got work in the morning.

Review: Nick Stephenson [26.03.17]

  • Food 6/10
  • Staff 6/10
  • Atmosphere 8/10
  • Overall experience 8/10

More information:

CATCH, Fairmont Hotel, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai

Every Monday from 8pm

[email protected], +971 (0)4 357 1755