One of the downsides of drinking in Dubai is that the vast majority of bars are located in hotels (some are in licensed venues like sporting clubs), meaning it's hard to not feel like a tourist. The best opportunities to do some sipping with the locals are at popular expat watering holes with the after-work crowd.
The busiest bars are located in the financial district, such as Zuma at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and The Agency, at Dubai's best business hotel, Emirates Towers, and they're at their buzziest between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
The Agency was one of Dubai's first dedicated wine bars and has long been an expat favorite - some evenings you'll find people spilling out into the luxury shopping center attached to Emirates Towers where it's located.
There's a good selection of wines by the glass, themed tasting ‘wine flights’ with four different glasses of vino from a specific wine region, and scrumptious snacks for when you get peckish.