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27 Apr 2017Last updated
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Design Insights

Little Black Door: Dubai’s very own 1920s speakeasy

This elegant yet understated gem oozes vintage glamour with a contemporary twist

Sue-Maé Easton
Added 16:50 | April 5, 2017
  • The rose-gold copper bar and backlit wall create a warm ambience and a strong focal point.

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  • In a separate dining area a black leather walls sit next to exposed brick with stained copper for visual continuity.

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  • A candlelit fireplace adds warmth, while a chandelier from South Africa illuminates a staircase with a separate seating area.

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  • Decorative chandeliers dazzle, providing elegant glamour. The gong behind the bar displays the venue’s iconic trademark, the Lotus Lion.

    Source:Supplied Image 4 of 4

The venue Tucked away in the far corner on the ground floor of the Conrad hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road is Little Black Door – an urban cocktail lounge that was recently acknowledged at the International Property Awards for Best Leisure Interior Arabia. It is the creation of founder and managing director Yasin Saleh Mohamed, a lawyer by trade, who had the vision for this atmospheric lounge. Together with Paul Bishop, managing partner of Bishop Design, they’ve created a truly unique space that hints to a classic gentleman’s club, be it one with a modern feel.

The design On arrival, guests are greeted by a black door with the signature Lotus Lion door knocker emblem that’s also repeated on a large iron gong behind the bar and forms the focal point of the interior. What makes the overall space especially interesting is the various nooks and crannies there are to discover – all of which offer a different dining experience. Products and materials have been sourced from all over the world – a combination of leather on walls and on ceiling, together with dark wood, copper, marble and cement: everything contributes to the overall theme of urban understated elegance. Every detail has also been carefully considered – from the custom-made chairs and metal and crystal chandeliers to the copper rose-gold bar. My favourite piece is a willow chandelier from South Africa that hangs above a private table at the top of a staircase – perfect for a romantic date. There’s also a candlelit fireplace (only real candles are used!); a crystal decanter-lit hallway; beautifully patterned rugs; custom artwork on the walls… the list of innovative finishing touches goes on.

Definitely worth mentioning are the restrooms – without revealing their secret, let’s just say they are truly memorable and unique!

The experience Whether you’re in the mood for a light bar snack or something a bit more substantial, the menu caters for all tastes. On Yasin’s recommendation we opted for a variety of dishes and were not disappointed. The LBD Foie Gras Hot Dogs – mini brioche buns filled with foie gras, topped with pickled shallots and gherkins – were delicious, as were the spicy prawn skewers and beef tenderloin sliders.

We ended our evening with dessert – Dirty Tiramisu Bueno and the LBD Cheesecake Dulce de Leche, both of which we couldn’t get enough of!

Going through the Little Black Door promises a memorable and unexpected experience, with so much to discover and enjoy – be it the furniture, the menu or the great service from the attentive staff. We’ll be knocking again soon!

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Sue-Maé Easton

Sue-Maé Easton