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Review: ‘The Bar’ for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Dubai

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This is my review of the British Airways First Class bar in Dubai International Airport.

We flew back from our October half-term trip to Oman (some hotel reviews coming up) via Dubai, with the last leg on British Airways. British Airways flights depart from the relatively new Concourse D, which is a bright and airy building connected by train to the check in area.

It feels more like a hotel lobby if you take a look at the way the seating is arranged (this is an older photo):

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

…. and bears no relation to a traditional airport terminal with rows of seats all bolted together.

Take the escalator up a level and you come to a bank of airline lounges.  The good news is that the British Airways facility is immediately at the top.  The second bit of good news is that British Airways spent decent money on the fit out of the space.

The bad news is that there simply isn’t a lot of space.  If anything, it is a smaller lounge than the one BA had pre-2016 before Concourse D opened.  Some passengers are now being sent across the corridor to the Marhaba Lounge because the BA lounge cannot cope, especially when an A380 is operating.

Politics always plays a part, of course.  It is possible that this is the space that the airport gave to BA and that no discussion was possible.  Give British Airways a duff lounge and you are more likely to fly Emirates next time?

This article isn’t about the main BA lounge, but here are a few shots from an earlier visit when it was quieter:

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

and

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

It has a look and feel that will be familiar from British Airways lounges in the UK.

The Bar

When the lounge first opened, the private bar at the back was called the Concorde Bar. It has now been renamed as just ‘The Bar’.

I noted that the small plaque had also been replaced with one that stresses it is ‘by invitation only’. You will be ‘invited’ if flying in First Class, although on a 2022 holiday the four of us (in Business) were also invited on the basis of having two Gold cards between us. You should absolutely not expect access as a mere Gold though.

If you are Gold Guest List or a BA Premier cardholder then you receive access with a guest regardless of travel class.

If you are expecting a private palace of wonder then you’re in for a big disappointment.

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

This is the whole of the bar (I’m standing at the back here, facing the door):

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

I’ll show you the other angle because the back wall is smartly decorated:

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

The only other element is these four chairs by the windows, with a view of nothing in particular:

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

Here’s a better shot of the two booths behind the door, which are almost obscured in my initial photo:

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

What WAS good was that, when we entered The Bar, we had it entirely to ourselves. This is the despite the fact that the First Class cabin on our A380 – 14 seats – was totally full. Only a couple of people joined us later. We took the four seats above which worked well.

In terms of drink, there is only one key thing available which is not in the main lounge – Mumm champagne.

This is the ‘premium’ drinks selection which clearly isn’t premium at all:

Review: 'The Bar' for British Airways First Class passengers in Dubai

Here’s the good news ….

Pre-covid there used to be a very weak buffet which was worse than the one which was literally 10 metres away on the other side of the bar door.

Today, you get QR-code food ordering, delivered to your table. British Airways may have ditched this in the Galleries First lounge at Heathrow but it lives on in Dubai, which is great.

Breakfast options included juices, fruit, yoghurt, cereals, porridge, pastries, a ‘Healthy Breakfast Pot’, a full cooked English breakfast, a smoked salmon bagel and a chocolate Belgian waffle.

I also pulled up the lunch menu. Hot options included bangers and mash, chicken kabsa and penne pasta with arabiatta sauce. There is also soup, salads, cheese and desserts.

Conclusion

Being able to access ‘The Bar’ should have absolutely zero impact on your decision to book, or not, a First Class ticket from Dubai on British Airways.

That said …. it was pleasant to have the space virtually to ourselves for the hour we were there. It was also good to see QR-code food and drink ordering again. If privacy and quiet are more important to you than the type of Johnnie Walker available then you’ll be happy here.

If you’re not in First Class then you will be in the main lounge on the other side of the door. This is well decorated with a typical BA lounge buffet and definitely does the job, although there is a chance that you will be offloaded to the Marhaba Lounge opposite at peak times.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,500 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Steven Campbell says:

    Wow. The spirit selection is pretty poor for a ‘bar’ catering to First passengers. They probably think the gin drinkers should be thankful for the Bombay and Beefeater, given that they still inflict Gordon’s Yellow Label on Club passengers.

    • Lee says:

      Just visited “The Bar” yesterday: the food and drinks offering is VERY POOR. One cannot fault the design, furniture, nor staff. Those are great.

      But shame on BA for not giving them any budget, to treat FIRST CLASS passengers to a decent drink or food.

      My advice: there are 2 Priority Pass lounges, just nextdoors, which offer actually better stuff. Or even better: fly with local Emirates Airlines!! Fantastic lounge offering and onboard experience.

  • QFFlyer says:

    I’ve never visited this one, but have spent some time in the Concorde bar at SIN – are the two comparable? SIN’s Concorde Bar (maybe The Bar now too?) is a small space but very lightly used, in my experience, and definitely better than the main lounge.

    Of course if you’re flying F ex-SIN you’ve got better places you can go, depending on time of day.

  • B says:

    For someone who will likely never ever go there that was a satsifying read lol

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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