Looking for a relaxing break without the noise of some of the more boisterous destinations? Then Muscat nightlife might be just the ticket. Evenings here are chilled out and tranquil, but there are still plenty ofthings to do in Muscat at night. There are more licensed nightspots here than anywhere else in Oman, and with top cultural venues, music and sensational cuisine to sample – it’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a relaxing evening out or two.
Thanks to the development of the Royal Opera House, Muscat has established itself on the cultural map. With the coming of world famous musical acts – with occasional gigs from global stars like Tom Jones and Bryan Adams in the gardens of the Intercontinental – Muscat nightlife is gradually becoming more exciting and adventurous.
1) Cocktails or coffee
There are three main evening options – upmarket bars, down-to-earth pubs and cafes. Sip cocktails in swanky establishments or feel at home in an international bar. For a more authentic Omani experience head to one of the city’s cafes around the Mutrah Suq and sip coffee with the locals. You might even fancy having a go on a shisha at places like Kargeen or Al Candle Café.
2) Hit the clubs
There might not be a huge choice of nightclubs in Muscat – and drinks are not cheap – but you can still have a great night out on the town. Check out venues like the Copacabana or the Rock Bottom Café for some of the city’s biggest parties and best DJs. Club Safari has a great setting too, making it a top place to chill out.
3) A night at the opera
Get dressed up and enjoy a night of high culture. Built on the royal orders of the Sultan Qaboos to reflect contemporary Omani architecture, this stunning complex houses a main theatre and auditorium, as well as restaurant and retail facilities – all under one roof. It’s a world-class musical venue that has hosted some of the biggest stars of the classical world – including Yo Yo Ma and Andrea Bocelli.
4) Eating out in Ruwi
Hungry for something a little different? Then head to the narrow streets of Ruwi, where you can find delicious Arabian treats to treat your taste buds. You’ll also notice the smell of spices wafting through the air. The area is known as Little India and down the side streets you’ll find stunning sub-continental cuisine. At night, Ruwi lights up with buzzing neon, becoming one of Muscat’s most bustling evening destinations.
5) Promenade the Mutrah Corniche
Want to drink in the Arabian night air? Then head to the 3-kilometre (1.8-mile) Mutrah Corniche. This seafront promenade runs along the old fishing port, with elegant fountains and top restaurants along the way. The traditional fruit and fish markets might be closed during the evening, but its lit promenade is still a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
6) Dinner at the marina
Dine with sweeping views across the bay to the British Ambassadors house at the Rowdha Marina. The Blue Marlin restaurant is a top eating option here, and you can also use the swimming pool and jacuzzi if the evening is a hot one.
7) Live music
You’ll find musical acts playing in a number of Muscat’s hotels – including the Marina in Mutrah or the Ruwi in Ruwi. Here you’ll get a taste of quintessentially Omani nightlife with some interesting Arabian cultural events.
8) The Mutrah Suq at night
Discover one of the oldest markets in the Arab world after the sun goes down. This magical and mysterious place is a maze of cobbled alleys and passageways. And it doesn’t seem to get any less busy during the evenings. Hunt for bargains, breathe in the aromas of exotic spices and uncover hidden gems – literally, as the market is a great place to shop for jewels.