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The Story Rooftop Lounge – Dubai Media City


Hey guys, our guest blogger/aspiring journalist Sonia Abdulbaki covered the The Story Rooftop Lounge opening for us. Sorry, we don’t have a video, but we have a great write -up by the said journalist. Read on:

The Story Rooftop Lounge is a new hotspot in Dubai Media City. It is a combination of art, food, drinks, music and a nice view.

It is located behind Zayed University and open seven days a week from 5pm–3am for a place to go to after work. Like many others, I come from work exhausted, having worked ten hours rather than eight, and sometimes more. But also like many others, I don’t want to go back home, shower and sleep. Then I would really feel like I had no life. So, this place is definitely conveniently located.

Although it is set out to showcase a great view, it is a downer compared to many other places in Dubai…but that’s the point—it is not supposed to be upscale and luxurious. The sunset would no doubt be spectacular from the balcony.

The two outdoor lounges are definitely less than extravagant, again, fitting into the concept of humble. But the mood and the décor of the furniture definitely define modern, edgy and slick. The drinks and the music dub the venue as a posh one and, to me, doesn’t fit into the description of not coinciding with the “bling bling” of Dubai. However, the art is what really adds a down to earth vibe to the place. The art is done by award-winning artist, Fernando Elvira, bringing color and street personality to the venue.

Manuel Ayas, co-owner, takes time to chat with Dubai in a Frame and tells us more details about the idea behind the venue. He has also opened Tapeo in Galleries Lafayette, El Sur in Westin and a night club in Sofitel, a new hotel on the Palm.

Check out the interview with Manuel Ayas below:

DIAF: The Story Rooftop Lounge has all the makings of a great nightspot: Terrace, the sunset, shisha and drinks…In light of this, what is the reputation you want to build for your business?

“The reputation that we want is to be perceived as an independent, vibrant venue with a lot of energy. The whole idea of the story is to tell the story of all of us and of Dubai. It’s a story of people tired of going to five star places. The story comes from the desire to be different and real.

We are in the Media City area and it’s very important that we capitalize on the business that we have for an after work place to go. We merge fashion, art and music on a very down to earth approach. It’s not only for relaxation. We have a terrace with shisha where the music is lower and you can have food while the other terrace is more vibrant with a DJ and louder music, taking it to the next level.”

DIAF: What is a unique aspect of UAE nightspots verses those you’ve opened in Ibiza, New York and Singapore?

“My heart, soul, mind and family is in Spain but I’ve been in Dubai for 10 years and it’s my home now. Many people say this looks like Ibiza and I say ‘no, it’s Dubai’ proudly. You need to be able to see the beauty of every place you are in. Many people think it’s superficial but that can be because of the people they know and the places they go to. Each place has a different vibe. The specific element that makes Dubai unique is that it wasn’t a city when I first came here, it was a village. We have a Dubai dream like Americans have an American dream.”

DIAF: How does your originally decorated art interior contribute to the art scene in Dubai? Did the artist decide on the abstract and modern, young art or was it the other way around—you brought him to carry out this idea?

“The artist has never been to Dubai before. The artist is Fernando Elvira and he’s a celebrity back in Spain where he does work for a lot of major brands. I told him my mission and showed him the city for a week. Then I told him to do whatever he wants. He did everything by himself by hand. He’s more of a cool, street artist.”

DIAF: Why choose house music? Is it in connection to art?

“It is always going to be house or electronic music. Any music has a connection to art, especially house music. We chose house music because it goes well with the sunset and the lounge. With the right mood and volume it’s easy to digest.”

DIAF: Why did you choose a menu of Peruvian food? How does your Columbian chef contribute to the menu?

“I chose Peruvian food because I think it’s a food that’s new in the market. We want to be different. We don’t want to do burgers. The way I decided on Peruvian food is because of the explosion of flavors that you can’t compare with anything else. I’m a natural lover of Peruvian food. Our Columbian chef spent a long time in Peru, traveled and discovered all these flavors. Our focus is on quality. Whether Peruvian or Spanish food, it’s usually a family thing and it’s always about sharing the food.”

DIAF: Working in the luxury and high end entertainment industry for 15 years, what is a key factor that makes a business successful?

“Work, work, work, work. When other people are sleeping, you’re working. When other people are having a break, you’re working. Just believe in what you’re doing and be consistent because at the end of the day we’re here for the people and some other venues in town see it the other way around where the people are there for them.”

 DIAF: Are you yourself a partygoer?

“Believe it or not I’m not a partygoer myself. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke and I’m training for a marathon. Early in the morning you’ll see me on a bicycle. I’m healthy. I’m the kind of guy who wakes up in the morning and knows what he wants and where he’s going. I don’t do anything that I don’t like. At the end of the day it’s a business and I need to be responsible for what I do. But I like everything from A-Z with regards to nightlife. The only thing I don’t participate in is drinking. Just because you have a glass in your hand doesn’t mean you’re drinking. I like the music and I used to dance a lot but not as much as I would like anymore.”

DIAF: How does your Spanish heritage contribute to your idea of a great nightlife spot?

“Spanish people are famous for being passionate about everything, even the smallest things. So it’s natural to have all this passion for life, friends, music, family and art. This, for me, is not a business but a way of life I enjoy and love.”

The Story Rooftop Lounge is now open in Dubai Media City for all those workaholics who want to enjoy a nearby lounge filled with all the necessities.

To read more of what Sonia Abdulbaki has to say, click here.

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