London club aims to shake-up Dubai’s nightlife scene

Mahiki of Mayfair hopes open-door policy will help change ‘elitist’ clubbing in Dubai
Mahikis London branch is known for its celebrity clientele
By Shane McGinley
Mon 19 Dec 2011 12:13 PM

Mahiki, the Mayfair club made
famous by regulars such as Prince Harry, is hoping to shake-up the Gulf’s
nightlife scene with the launch of its Dubai venue and infamous open-door
policy.

The owners of the venue are mulling a
regional-wide expansion, and said Dubai’s clubbing scene had become a “spectator
sport” thanks to strict door policies that bar entry for certain customers.

The London club has previously pledged to allow entry to
anyone, whether “fat, thin, bald, ugly or old”.

“It is going to be a welcome change in Dubai,” said Matt
Jolley, the club’s Dubai general manager. “Personally, I think clubbing in
Dubai has become a spectator sport; there’s no interaction; no involvement; no
character. So we are going back to the basics of why people go for a night out
and let their hair down.

“People are tired of elitism. London was in a similar
position six years ago when we first opened. That attitude was very much in
place but since we introduced [the open door policy],” he said.

The club’s first venue will open in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach
Hotel this month, and its owners are mulling a wider expansion across the Gulf.
The company also plans to operate a pop-up version of the brand at venues and
events across the emirate.

“We do see the Mahiki brand expanding across the region, so
we are looking at key cities in the Middle East and Asia,” said Jolley. “We are
actively looking at the moment but I can’t give an exact timeline.”

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