I arrived in Abu Dhabi last night for the first of four nights in this sandy Emirate on the Gulf, and despite it being almost midnight before I got all settled, I decided to ask at my hotel if they knew of a place I could go to play music – an open mic or a jam session, or just a warm and cosy live music joint. They responded so quickly and easily and enthusiastically, that I just had to take a cab and find this place, despite the late hour.
In any case, they said the Rock Bottom Cafe at the Capital Hotel was the place I needed to go, and I went, ate a chicken burger at a joint across the street and went right to the second floor of the hotel to the bar. Actually, no, I found two other music bars in the hotel first, one a Filipino music place and the other something else, but neither looked promising.
I arrived at the door to the Rock Bottom Cafe to find a couple of security guards and a man between them behind the desk.
“What kind of music is there here?” I asked, since all I received from them all was stares.
“American black music, pop, rock,” the man behind the desk said, after exchanging looks with his friends the guards.
“Ah, cool,” I said, advancing.
“But guitars and cameras are not allowed and there is a cover charge of 100 Dirhams,” he said, looking at my guitar bag on my back and my camera bag at my side.
“Sounds like this is definitely not my kind of place,” I said, and turned to leave. I heard a “yeah,” as I walked away.
Okay, I have a list of potential bars that I will go through the next three nights, and despite being told by several local expats that this is the worst place in the world for what I’m looking for, I will continue boldly forward…. I actually like being here for the rest of the vibe, by the way – nice, warm, sunny temperature, clean streets, big hotel room…a large contrast to India, but India has that music thing!