50 concerts, pop-ups, parties and brunches this Abu Dhabi F1 weekend

Abu Dhabi is no one trick pony when it comes to sporting events, the emirate’s event calendar is bursting at the ring-hemmed seams with showcases of international competitive excellence. But few capture the imagination, and the world’s attention, in quite the same way as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Taking place this year between November 17 and 20, the F1 weekend encompasses so much more than just ‘cars going round a track’. There are the after race concerts, the sophisticated and occasionally less sophisticated but compensatingly wild viewing parties, elite Michelin-approved dining pop-ups, and yes very fast cars going round a track, very quickly.

These are the best reasons to get excited, and booked in, for the Abu Dhabi F1 2022.

The race

You’re probably already aware, but just in case you’re the sort of fairweather fan that’s along for the fun and picks who they cheer for on the basis of car colour, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the final race of the season. A fact that was highlighted in a never more dramatic way, than with last year’s race, where Max Verstappen (I think we can fairly say) snatched victory from the jaws of controversy on the very last lap. Leaving Lewis Hamilton, one Diver’s Championship title away from forever glory.

This year the Abu Dhabi finalé is essentially a victory lap for Verstappen who has already mathematically sealed the deal with a titanic tally of race wins under his belt. But winners never take their foot off the pedal — Hamilton will be out for vindication, and Mercedes are still battling it out with Ferrari for second place in the Team leaderboards. There’s still a lot that will be decided over that long November weekend.

Fresh after some major track alterations (designed to allow greater opportunities for overtaking) in 2021, a brand new viewing stand has been added to the circuit’s North Straight. But if you don’t have tickets, we’re afraid it’s bad news — they’re fully sold out.

The concerts

Organised by Flash Entertainment and staged at what is now known as Etihad Park (the artist hub formally known as du Arena) Abu Dhabi’s Yasalam After Race Concerts are the stuff of legend. A gloriously eclectic mix of triple A, off-track on-tracks talent, is jetted in the capital to perform for one night only after each day’s motorsport sessions. The Yasalam ‘previous featured artist’ list reads like a Hall of Fame rosta — Eminem, Beyonce, The Kings of Leon, Jay-Z Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Prince, Britney Spears, Blur, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Muse, Post Malone, The Weeknd and Stormzy, to name just a few.

And the only way to see them play, is to hold track tickets for whichever day the artist is performing. You cannot purchase concert tickets separately.

The confirmed artists for the Abu Dhabi F1 2022, are EDM maestros, Swedish House Mafia — headlining the show on Friday, November 18 and member of the rap aristocracy, Kendrick Lamar taking his brooding philosophical bars to the stage on Saturday, November 19.

The last acts to be announced were UK rap sensation, Dave (AKA Santan) who will be taking the stage on Thursday November 17, along with American R&B sensation — Usher, who’ll also be live and loud on Thursday night. Veteran British rockers, Def Leppard will be closing out the weekend with a performance on Sunday, November 20.

Golden Circle passes for each of the concerts are still available to purchase.

The dining

Every year to go along with the many established permanent culinary seats in the capital, the F1 brings a host of internationally renowned, award-winning restaurant pop-ups. For foodies, even race fan ones, the on-plate theatre on offer can be equally, if not more, exhilarating than that on track.

This year will be no different. All three of the big names dropped so far picked up gongs in the What’s On Awards 2022. Already confirmed as the Grand Prix’s gastronomic companions are…

Carna

The stellar culinary creative behind Carna, Dario Cecchini will be taking his red hot Dubai dining concept to the F1 this year. The SLS  Italian eatery, known for its treatment of meat will be open, licensed, include an outside area that can seat 200 people and available to ticket holders from Thursday November 17 to Sunday November 20. Available dishes will include their creamy Burrata and the iconic 900g Bistecca Alla Florentina (pictured). Set menus start at Dhs 275 will also be in the spotlight, featuring the likes of The Garden for vegetarian gourmands, The Panino — a joy ride of cheese burger wonder, and Dario’s Favourites, which will include the boss man’s coveted prime Wagyu Ribeye.

CÉ LA VI

ce la vi club terrace

Located on the 54th floor of the Sky View Hotel, this Michelin Guide restaurant isn’t just breaking Instagram because its swing-to-Burj-Khalifa views, the menu of international fine dining classics delivers outstanding taste experiences. You’ll find the F1 temporary location, rather fittingly, on the Yas Marina Circuit rooftop at Luna Lounge.

Gohan

This super trendy speakeasy found inside La Cantine, offers Japanese-inspired street-food and feels like the perfect pick for gourmet Grand Prix grazing. Expect little nuggets of nigiri overtaking gyoza on the home straight, high octane bowls of ramen FTW and tasty meaty skewers for pre-podium treats. Gohan’s new limited time pop-up will be found within the North Grandstand.

Ninive

Ninive

Finally, available to explore within the existing Shams Suite venue — Ninive is a veritable celebration of Middle Eastern cuisine, a rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar offering epic grilled fare, mezze, merguez couscous (thank us later), skewers and salads. We couldn’t think of a better ambassador to give the Abu Dahbi F1 culinary ensemble, an authentic local edge.

Opa

Also slotting very nicely into the Deck at Nine dining ensemble, is Opa — one of Dubai’s most popular Greek tavernas, offering intensely creative Ionian flavours, plate-smashing (whether that will be going on here is unlikely but still TBC) theatrics and white-walled, botanically abundant summer holiday vibes.

The Parties

Everything about the F1 is extra — there are the outfits (in the stands as much as the pit lane), the seemingly physics-defying cars, aerial acrobatic jets and commercial aircraft painting the sky in the national colours as part of a patriotic flyover, zero-chill fireworks displays, celebrity attendance and all of the ‘gram-triggering carry on we’ve already talked about. One genre of thing we’ve deliberately left till last though, is the city’s stellar clutch of viewing parties.

FT- W

Brunching with… Garage

This multi-kitchen venue offers a notoriously B.I.G. brunch as standard weekend operation, and there was never any chance they were going to downshift for what is undoubtedly one of the wildest Abu Dhabi weekends of the year. They’ve gone B.I.G.G.E.R – because of course they have, with champagne packages, caviar, oyster trolleys, live DJ accompaniment and a terrace with thunderous trackside views.

The Friday November 18 event unfolds from 1pm to 4pm, prices start at Dhs700 (for house), with a ‘bubbles on the terrace’ package for Dhs1,400. It comes backed by the sounds of DJ Flippside.

There are two Saturday November 19 seatings 12.30pm to 3.30pm (with DJ Nuff Said), the house package is Dhs700 and the terrace bubbles package is Dhs1,400. The 4.30pm to 7.30pm session (with DJ Flippside) offers an indoor house refreshment entitlement for Dhs700, and you terrace bubbles option comes in at Dhs3,000.

On Sunday, the main event, the timings are 4pm to 7pm prices start at Dhs1,500 (for house), with a bubbles on the terrace package for Dhs6,000. If you’re able to tune out from the on-track action, you’ll find DJ Nuff Said spinning his own wheels.

Daydreaming at… Wet Deck

Pool parties are a very real currency in the Abu Dhabi fiesta-set scene, and you can bet the ones on W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island’s famously lofty Wet Deck are going to be even more high-octane than usual during the F1 take-over. It’s open for your dipping and sipping leisure throughout the duration, from 8am to 8pm, with no entry fee — just a Dhs350 minimum spend and in addition to all the usual lounger, luxuriation and the bird’s eye track views, there’ll be sonic support with DJ Nenna and DJ Alex Twin on deck(s), live performances and Ciroc will be hitting up the house to pour some sophisticated signature mixology.

Getting Lit Up with Roger Sanchez and other special guests at… W Lounge

One of the world’s most sort after beat-makers, Grammy-Award-Winning Roger Sanchez leads a charge of considerable bass-shaking talent at this special event. Also on the line up are DJ Xavi and DJ Smoking Groove as well as electric track views. It’s taking place on Saturday November 19, with entry charged at Dhs300 and tables from Dhs10,000.

Reach for the SKY 2.0

Yep one of Dubai hyper-club SKY 2.0 is taking over W’s rooftop for a musical trilogy of epic proportions. On Friday November 18, DJ Shimza will be commanding the decks, and on the following Saturday and Sunday nights — none other than French Montana, Remember Me? Has been recruited to add an extra ‘O’ and a ‘W’ to the hotel’s name. To book: (058) 507 0028

Bouncing to Balearic beats with the Bonito Club pop-up at… Skylite

The Mallorcan masterclass of chic bar flare is back for a series of sophisticated, highly rated rave-ups. Between November 17 and November 20, guests will be able to enjoy far east fusion flavours, craft cocktails, dancers, and even a cabaret-style dinner and show experience. Tickets are Dhs375.

After sundown the party rages on, with DJs, alfresco rooftop revelling and a firm salute to living your best Abu Dhabi life.

Bunch in prime track viewing proximity with Buddha-Bar Dubai… At Rush

Rush is one of W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island’s most potent secret leisure weapons and it takes on an entirely new level of lush, for the long race weekend. Operations this time around, will be under the charge of Buddha-Bar Dubai who will be bringing DJs, delicious a la carte dishes, deluxe drink options and brunch degustation — basically, all the big D energy. Packages start at Dhs500, and the Seventh Heaven Brunch will be available on November 18, priced at Dhs1,400.

Mingling with the it-crowd at… Royal terrace by the Rich List

The Rich List parties at the F1 are a thing of pure star-spotting legend. Previous attendees have included The Weeknd, Bella Hadid, Rick Ross, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, French Montana and Akon. It’s hosted at Palm Garden, events run from November 17 to 20, and include the return of the Abu Dhabi Dream Ball charitable causes gala as well as the inaugural Middle East Blockchain Awards. Announced performers include Ashanti, Emeli Sandé and Fatman Scoop. To be in with a chance of securing yourself some of 2022’s hotest ticktes, you’ll need to head to the richlistgroup.com website.

For reservations on any of the above Tel: (o2) 656 0000, mail: w.abudhabi.dining@whotels.com, or visit: wrevup.com

After parties at White Abu Dhabi

R&B godfather, Usher was the (best kind of) surprise second act for Thursday’s Yasalam After Race F1 concerts — but it seems he’ll be hanging around a little longer, with the news that he’s booked in for a Saturday November 19, performance at Yas Island’s premier nightlife destination – White Abu Dhabi. Also confirmed at White over Abu Dhabi’s wild race weekend is rapper ASAP Ferg, who’s set to take the stage on Friday November 19. New York native, Ferg is probably best known for his massive hit Plain Jane (featuring Nicki Minaj) which features the rapper dropping some bars (OK, words) in Arabic. Wonder if he’ll drop that on the night? We can only say inshallah.

Yas Bay. Reservation Email: reservations@whiteabudhabi.com, @WhiteAbuDhabi

Pop-up like its yacht

DIFC’s hugely popular high end French restaurant Rive Gauche is going extra nauty for this year’s F1. It’s hosting a series of exclusive yacht parties, on Friday (from Dhs6,000), Saturday (Dhs8,000) and Sunday (Dhs13,000). What do you get for that? 2pm to 2am revelling with free-flow fine wines, champagne and refined French fare. There’ll also be a series of DJs, and stunning views over the South Circuit come as standard. For bookings, please contact: (054) 349 1490.

Yas Plaza

Experience the Grand Prix Abu Dhabi in full force by eating, drinking, and partying in the heart of all the action. From Thursday, November 17 to Sunday 20, Yas Plaza Hotels is fueled up and ready to go with a weekend full of after-race parties, brunches, and evening festivities. With 10 destinations around the Yas Plaza Circuit track, you will be spoilt for choice with how to spend your weekend.

Here are 10 pit stops to roll through on your Grand Prix weekend…

yasplazacircuittrack

Conor McGregor’s Black Forge Inn takes over The Irish Vicker’s at Central Plaza

conor-mcgregor-featured

Yep, you read that right… Black Forge Inn — the bar owned by UFC’s Notorious MCG, AKA Conor McGregor is taking over this little corner of Éire for the F1 weekend. As well as pints of the black stuff, and wholesome Irish cuisine — expect talented DJs and we’ve heard there might be a visit form the big man himself. Connor, not Santa.

Yas Plaza Hotels, Yas Island Abu Dhabi, located opposite Yas Marina Circuit, all offers available from Thursday November 17 to Sunday 20, for booking details call (0)2 656 2000

Park Inn by Radisson Blu Yas Island

Kick off the celebrations at the first pit stop, Underdog Club at Amerigos, at the Park Inn. On Thursday 17 and Friday 18, guests can enjoy a signature lunch menu or an evening table brunch from 6pm for Dhs399. There is also a classic Saturday and Sunday brunch, where guests can indulge in four hours of festivities for Dhs399 with premium house beverages and cocktails. Wanting a more laid-back party? Jam out to some Latin tunes on Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 between 4pm and 8pm, for Dhs259 for 3 hours of house drinks.

Radisson Blu Yas Island

Your next pit stop can be the locally renowned Belgian Beer Café. For all the Dutch fans, this is the Orange pitstop where all Verstappen fans can unite. Feast on some of the best seafood and steaks that the Emirate has to offer. On Thursday, November 17 to Sunday 20, sip on house beverages for three hours from 4pm to 8pm. If you are up for the celebration, indulge in 1.5-litres of spirit and small bites for Dhs1999.

Filini-Terrace Yas Plaza hotels

Moving over to The Best of Italia at Filini Garden at the Radisson Blu, expect Michelin Star gastronomical experiences. It’s important to remain fueled through this busy weekend and what better way than with a Michelin edition Supper club or Signature lunch on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 from Dhs299. Of course, Saturday and Sunday brunch is a given, with packages starting from Dhs329. Tie together the weekend with a sundowners party, on Thursday 17 to Sunday 20, with deals starting at Dhs199.

Crowne Plaza Yas Island

Shake your hips and dance away at the Arabian Nights pit stop at Barouk Lebanese Restaurant. Expect a levant style à la carte menu, shisha, and soulful singers, ensuring all guests can spend their race weekend enchanted with Arabian magic.

If you want to kick things up a notch, all F1 fanatics can cheer on their favourite teams at Live Actions pit stop at Stills Restaurant & Bar. Hosted by Radio 1’s Sonya Mac, diners can tuck into their award-winning party brunch ‘FUNCH’ on Saturday and Sunday between 12pm and 4pm. This fiesta will set you back Dhs299, allowing you to enjoy unlimited food and house beverages. Jive with your besties at the Stills Race Weekend Concert, which is being held from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 from 7pm to 3am.

Stills Yas Plaza hotels

Centro Yas Island

Pull over to your next stop at Off-Track by Centro, for an afternoon pool party. From Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 from 12pm till 6pm, dance to hip-hop, RnB, and all things groovy whilst fueling yourself on food and beverages. No pool party is complete without beach balls and inflatables, setting you up for the perfect afternoon of poolside fun.

Yas Island Rotana

Drive up to ‘meat’ your next best grill experience at pit stop Grill the Grid at Blue Grill, Yas Island Rotana. Enjoy sweet and sophisticated jazz tunes, whilst you enjoy a perfect steak and paired wines, from Thursday 17 till Sunday 20th for lunch and dinner.

Over halfway through the track, you can go crazy at pitstop Go Unreal at Y Bar, Yas Island Rotana. Bar bites, bubbles, and grapes are all on offer whilst you watch your favourite racers and enjoy a fusion of music from the resident DJs.

Y-bar

Refuel on a Michelin-inspired curry at your 9th pit stop the British Indian Curry Club at Rangoli at Yas Island Rotana offers you an opportunity to dine at their British Indian Curry Club, with their specially curated dinner from Thursday to Sunday, 6pm till 1am.

Yas Marina

With such close proximity to all the guttural engine action, Yas Marina is always one of the leading banner carriers for F1 fun. This year is no different, they’re hosting laser shows, motor exhibitions, river boat displays, brass bands and roaming  entertainment throughout the weekend, and then there’s all of this…

Iris

This venue is one of Yas Marina’s OG Grand Prix party destinations – chic, on-racing-fleek and filled with high octane thrills for the duration. This year they’ve got a dizzying mix of DJs; the unveiling of the new 2023 McLaren Vuse — a car, that’s a very obvious kind of beautiful; and perhaps most excitingly of all — they’re hosting a La Mezcaleria pop-up from November 19, Dubai’s on-trend botanically themed Latin restaurant, whose margaritas have been tested and proven to bring all the boys, and girls to the yard. Book on: (055) 1605 636 or email reservations@irisabudhabi.com

Penelope’s

This Riviera-inspired jazz bar, owned by Layla Kardan and conceived by Eddie Ghazal isn’t fully open yet — but they’re offering a sneak peek at what’s to come with an exclusive terrace preview running throughout race weekend. Expect, glamour, live jazz performances, craft mixology and Mediterranean culinary flare, alongside theatrical sprinkles of je ne sais quoi. Book on: (052) 221 0097 or email reservations@penelopes.ae

Stars ‘N’ Bars x Bagatelle

This popular Yas party spot is handing over its famous ‘Stardeck’ to French entertainment dining sensation, Bagatelle. That means guaranteed great food, lap-record vibes and late night raving. Book on: (02) 5650 101 or email info@starsnbars.ae

Cipriani

Another Yas Marina icon is going, as tradition demands, into top gear for the Abu Dhabi F1 season. With a menu inspired by the globally famous, Venetian legend — Harry’s Bar, you can enjoy epic gastro-noms over lunch and dinner seatings (with pricing between Dhs800 and Dhs1,600 depending on your slot). Book on: (02) 657 5400, or email yasisland@cipriani.com

Dibba Bay Oysters

One of the region’s best respected names in seafood will be offering champagne and oysters (because it really is that sort of weekend), between midday and 1am Thursday November 17 to Monday November 21. Find it along the main promenade.

Lamborghini Abu Dhabi

If you strip all the extravagance away, this weekend is all about autombile engineering supremecy. It’s a badge that Lamborghini wears well, so zero surprise that they’re picthing up with a cheeky little showcase. Head to Building One for a rare opportunity to see the Lamborghini Huracán STO in it’s natural habitat… Awe.

The Abu Dhabi EDITION

This hotel always keeps it classy, and it’s got a lot up its sleeve for the Grand Prix celebrations. To reserve your seat at any of the below venues, call: (02) 208 0000

Punch Room x Library Bar

Madrid hot spot, Punch Room is swinging in to Al Bateen for a limited Thursday November 17 — Staurday November 19 knock out pop-up. Visiting master mixologists will be on hand to deliver speakeasy sips in one of the city’s most sophisticated settings.

Ready, Set, Glam at The Abu Dhabi EDITION Spa

Need a pre-race glow up in record qualifying time? The Abu Dhabi EDITION Spa has the pit stop for you. Both women and men can get their racing stripes looking in pole position with relaxing and rejuvenating, customized treatments by Rossano Ferretti Salon and Chaps & Co.

Annex

Is hosting three seperate events over the duration, with ‘Formula 1 After Dark’ parties on Friday and Saturday evening, and a daytime rooftop brunch on Saturday.

Alba Terrace

On Friday night you can rev into a multi-course dinner from a menu designed by Michelin Star-winning chef, Tom Aikens. Cocktail parings available. And on Saturday you can take part in their immensely popular Afternoon Spritz, top class cuisine and an ode to that fizzy, bitter, amber nectar.

Oak Room

Oak Room

On Saturday there is a VIP dinner at this stunning British steakhouse. It’s delivered to your mouth in collaboration with fashion and accessories brand Romani. The invite only luxurious dinner comprises of a special Tom Aikens crafted menu, along with wine and cocktail pairing.

Images: Provided/Getty




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