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The best places to party during the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Raceweek

When it comes to grand prix after-parties, Abu Dhabi knows how to celebrate in style. From iconic superclubs hosting phenomenal music acts to world-famous lifestyle brands taking over the hottest venues in the city, there will be a huge selection of events keeping revellers entertained over race week.

Abu Dhabi's race week entertainment is what makes the iconic F1 fixture one of the most memorable on the entire circuit. As it’s the final meet of the year, everybody’s looking to let their hair down and end the season on a high and, usually, the racers themselves are keen to join in with the festivities.   

The city’s lavish nightspots rev up their game by adding big-name performers to the bill as the best-known party brands arrive in town for the weekend and wow with their limited edition pop-up nightspots. And as most are located on Yas Island, superyacht goers are at the heart of the after-party action.

The Amber Lounge @ Yas Links

Amber Lounge event at Yas Links Golf Club after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with crowds of people dancing around DJ in centre of the room

As the world’s original and most exclusive grand prix after-party, the Amber Lounge is where the jetsetters, A-listers and F1 fraternity come to party. A formula 1 staple, the touring nightclub follows the circuit around the globe and when it reaches Abu Dhabi takes up residence at Yas Links for two nights only.  

Live DJ sets, non-stop club dancers and world-renowned music acts ensure Saturday night is one to remember and party-goers will be drawn back on Sunday to celebrate alongside drivers, teams and sponsors at the legendary season closing party, which is the most anticipated social event on the grand prix calendar.  

A variety of VIP table packages are available ensuring the utmost exclusivity. The most desirable is undoubtedly the tailor-made ‘Ultimate Weekend Package’ which needs to be booked advanced.

MAD on YAS Island

People dancing in busy space at MAD nightclub on Yas Island with strobe lights reaching out to the ceiling

MAD on Yas Island is the biggest indoor nightclub in the UAE and if this isn’t reason enough alone to tempt you to the nightspot, the huge headliners performing each night during race week will be.

American rapper Nelly will kick off the 2018 grand prix weekend on Thursday 22 November, followed by hip hop artist French Montana on Friday 23 November. Two yet-to-be-confirmed acts will complete MAD’s F1 line-up.

Jumbo-sized LED screens, 360-degree video projection, dazzling light shows and the latest sound technology ensure a rip-roaring atmosphere every night at this upscale venue. It is a firm favourite among the elite who make a beeline for the luxurious VIP area complete with its own private bathrooms. 

The Richlist Nightclub @ Palm Garden - Yas Viceroy

People sitting outside at The Rich List at Palm Island event at Yas Viceroy Hotel with palm trees lit up in background
People smiling at the Rich List club night at the Yas Viceroy Hotel after the F1 race week
DJ raises hand at crowds below him at the Rich List at Yas Viceroy, with hands in the air out of focus in foregound

Exclusive events brand Rich List Group has hosted a sell-out series of pop-up parties at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2013. Set in a unique custom-built venue in the grounds of five-star Yas Hotel, the take over is known for its superstar music acts, celebrity-packed guest list and under-the-stars setting.   

Opening night on Thursday 22 November sees Tough Love on the bill while HxnnyXo headlines LITT on Friday 23 November. There will be an Ibiza Takeover on Saturday 24 November led by Mambo Brothers and Grammy Award-winning DJ David Morales will round up the weekend on 25 November.

Superyacht-goers at the grand prix who upgrade their marina passes to the VIP option will have complimentary access to the nightclub. It’s also worth noting the Yas Hotel is also home to Skylite – Abu Dhabi’s most iconic rooftop lounge and bar.

Iris Yas Island

People drinking and chatting on outdoor terrace of Iris in Yas Island with tree in the middle of the space lit up by fairy lights

Cool yet charmingly unconventional, Iris Yas Island offers chilled vibes, artisan cocktails, smooth music and great views before morphing into one of the hottest nightclubs in the city.

The venue’s transformative powers will be no less during race week as the hippest crowd around comes to enjoy sunset sessions on the expansive outdoor terrace and stays on to party as an exciting line-up of international DJs take to the decks for adrenaline-fuelled clubbing sessions. 

For 2018, the venue will be bringing two top DJs to town: Roger Sanchez and Erick Morillo. The stars will be playing unmissable sets on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 November respectively. Jean Clause Ades will finish Saturday night in style and Joseph Capriati will be in charge of the late-night Sunday session.  

There is also an eclectic menu of gourmet cuisine, ensuring the hotspot ticks off yet another facet in its entertainment offer. Table reservations are strongly recommended during the grand prix.

Empire Yas Island

Back of DJ's head at Empire in Abu Dhabi, with crowds of people under pink lighting beyond the mixing table

Empire Yas Island is the only nightclub in the world suspended over a Formula 1 race track and, with such a vantage point, the venue is at the epicentre of festivities over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.  

This year, the luxury nightspot will be opening a lot earlier than usual with an all-day brunch experience. Catch all the action from the heart of the circuit while enjoying delicious food, unlimited drinks and upscale vibes. Top hits spun by international DJs will provide the soundtrack.

As night falls, the celebrations are expected to ramp up. The venue will offer a fully immersive clubbing experience with futuristic décor, podium dancers and up-for-it crowds of high-class revellers.

An award-winning nightspot, Empire Yas Island never fails to fill its capacity so booking in advance is highly recommended. VIP tables are available. 

BASE x 1OAK @ Cipriani

People at Cipriani's pop up nightclub event, with cracked ceiling design and pink and purple lighting in centre of the room

A new contender on the club scene for the 2018 grand prix will be a pop-up hosted by Dubai’s home-grown super-club Base in collaboration with renowned New York nightclub import 1OAK. 

Together the venues will take up residence over race week above upmarket restaurant Cipriani in Yas Marina. Such a spot means stunning views over the superyacht-laden waters are guaranteed, as is a live line-up of some of the best names in urban music.

The collaboration will be one for the most upmarket clubbers in the city with tables starting from around 7,000 AED. Open from 11pm to 6am for four nights from 22 November, it will also be a favourite among night owls.

Candypants @ Casa de Cuba

Graphic art on poster of Casa de Cuba advertising Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race entertainment

Fun-loving party company Candypants will hook up with new Cuban cocktail bar Casa de Cuba in Yas Marina for a series of unmissable upbeat party nights at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Candypants is perhaps best known for its outrageously lively brunches in Dubai and its boundary-breaking panache, expertly mixed drinks and massive line-up of global DJs will be sure to attract a hip, up-for-it crowd from 22 November. Starting at noon, the festivities continue through to 5am.

As for Casa de Cuba, expect an authentic Latin experience; everything from the fresh flowers and décor to the food and award-winning cocktails to live DJs and percussionists screams Cuba.

Bagatelle @ Diablito

Diablito restaurant filled with people as it hosts pop-up Bagatelle event

Bagatelle, one of St Tropez’s hippest beach clubs now with its own Dubai outpost, will bring a healthy dose of joie de vivre to proceedings when it takes over the rooftop terrace of Diablito for one day only.

Known for its late-night party atmosphere, which sees upscale dining morph into full-on revelry, the très chic brand will do what it does best on Saturday from 2pm to 1am. This is the place to come if you’re looking to party as soon as the racing action gets underway - and continue well on into the night.

Top DJs including Sam Starks and DJ Emir will be on the line-up. Make sure you dress to impress and book ahead for a table in advance.

Blue Marlin Ibiza @ Diablito

DJ dancing with the crowds from behind the mixing desk during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race entertainment

It will be Blue Marlin Ibiza’s turn to take over the rooftop terrace at Diablito in Yas Marina on Sunday 25 November and party-goers should be prepared to go big, it’s closing night after all.  

Blue Marlin is one of Ibiza’s most famous beach clubs and favoured among the rich and famous. The brand has set up a UAE home in Ghantoot where clubbers from Abu Dhabi and Dubai meet to dance to tunes from some of the world’s biggest DJs. Come race weekend, the brand plans to up the ante to a whole new level.

Open from 1pm to 1am, the pop-up party spot will bring 12 hours of scrumptious food, upscale vibes, to-die-for marina views and music from Frederick Stone, Aidin Karami, Michka and Sam Starks.  

Stars ‘N’ Bars

Diners at tables of outdoor terrace of Stars N Bars overlooking Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s favourite sports bar Stars ‘N’ Bars in Yas Marina will be at the heart of the grand prix’s social scene. During the day, the live trackside action will be broadcast across the venue’s 70 TV screens and revellers can take advantage of an all-inclusive beverage and bites package.

Headed up by Funch, the award-winning fun brunch brand, the deal costs 500 AED per person and runs from midday to 4pm on the Star Deck terrace. Not only will fabulous food and drink be on the agenda, but a selection of games and competitions will also be keeping everybody in high spirits.

The excitement will be accompanied by a soundtrack of upbeat anthems spun by DJ Cliff Townley and DJ James Murray, and the vivacious atmosphere will rev up another gear from 10pm with more live DJs and bands keeping the masses entertained until the early hours.

Superyacht Parties

The most exclusive parties at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are hosted on board the private superyachts berthed in Yas Marina. Similarly to the on-land clubs, these superyacht soirees feature big-name DJs and live performances from world-class music acts to keep scores of well-heeled VIP guests dancing well after the racing has finished.

Alongside having headliners that rival those of the biggest clubs in the city, the superyachts with the most exclusive parties also feature free-flowing premium drinks, gourmet cuisine and five-star service. State-of-the-art sound systems, disco lighting and luxurious social areas add to the upscale nightlife vibes too.

Such is the popularity of these on-the-water festivities, it’s recommended you get your name down on the guest list or book tickets ahead of your arrival. The non-private parties form part of VIP F1 yacht hospitality packages. Secure one of these hot tickets and the celebrations begin as soon as you step on board to watch the racing.

By Rebecca Bradbury   Last Updated 21 November 2018

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