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Gate Village @ DIFC

UAE

The Gate Village is a quaint enclave of art galleries and restaurants, boutiques and cafés. The small maze of intersecting walkways here will lead you to anything from Argentinian cuisine to Iranian expressionism.

Located within the Dubai International Financial Centre, The Gate Village reflects Dubai’s increasingly popular art scene. The galleries encompass the works of mostly, but not limited to, Middle Eastern artists with mediums ranging from canvas to sculptures, paper to film.

It is the atmosphere outside the galleries, however, which beckons culture vultures and leisurely strollers alike. This communal area, adorned with plenty of white leather seating and modern, wooden benches, calls for casual conversation or a solitary reprieve from a busy workday. Along its periphery, the area offers impressive views of Dubai’s omnipresent skyline.

In the center of it all, The Magazine Shop serves coffee in an open, shaded venue, which is barely contained by its short white walls. As the name implies, magazines here are as important as the caffeine and accordingly these walls are decorated with engaging publications from all over the world to peruse or purchase.

While this community is generally quiet, several evenings a year sees The Gate Village come alive after dark by the electricity of live music and the cacophony of voices reverberating off the elegant concrete buildings. This is “Art Night.”

On these evenings, the galleries remain open after 6 p.m. and drinks and canapés are served courtesy of the nearby Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Crowds flow from exhibition to exhibition or anchor themselves on the outdoor seating in the middle of it all.

Once the galleries shut down and Art Night comes to a close, the party moves across the wooden footbridge to the Ritz-Carlton’s No. 5 Lounge and Bar for “Art After Dark.”

The next Art Night will be held tonight, Monday March 18thand, as always is free and open to the public. Otherwise, the galleries are open everyday except Friday. And the scenery outside them never closes.

Images: courtesy of Jimmy Dawson