Bodega Garage is the latest concept by Holiday Inn Al Barsha where they are targeting mostly filipino customers not just in the area but in the whole UAE. Bodega literally means warehouse because it used to be one and then the owners decided to transform it into a nightclub. It is located at the basement of the hotel and as we entered, we immediately saw designs reminiscent of the popular things and trademarks of the Philippines. The idea was to make guests feel like they are transported back to the Philippines but we were told that there are plans of bringing an actual tricycle and a jeepney that they can display outside to make it more authentic.As we entered, we were greeted by the manager, Saubhash who very enthusiastically explained to us the concept of the club. When I asked what his elevator pitch was on how he would describe the place, he said that he wants guests to feel that it is a fun loving place and that people can hang out without thinking too much and just enjoy the music and relax with friends. I was expecting a crowd full of Filipinos but was surprised that half of them were from other nationalities probably staying in the hotel.
I checked out the whole place and was very impressed at how massive, clean and orderly everything was. The first thing that you’ll see is the bar with monitors on both sides if you just want a few drinks. There is a small bowling machine that you can use to pass the time and also a pool table where you can play for only 5 dirhams. There are also cocktail tables and a dance floor right in front of the stage. I like how they have comfy chairs and sofas and you can clearly watch the band playing. There’s also a dartboard on the other side and you can sing your heart out as they have karaoke too until before the band plays.
We then tried their food. I noticed that they only have quite a few selection for the food in the menu but thinking about it, you go to a club not to properly eat but to drink and enjoy the night. They do have a vast selection of beers and alcoholic drinks and some of them were imported from the Philippines. We only ordered fried calamari, chicken with fries and noodles. The food was ok, nothing exceptional but it was definitely not bad. I liked the fries though and you actually get good value for your money. Even the drinks were affordably priced.
The live band started playing at 9:30pm. We had a good spot just in front of them. I was impressed at how great they were and how easily they can play the requests from the guests. They also have good rapport with the audience and made us all feel that we are most welcome in the club. (I was fascinated at how they know the clients and were greeting guests from every table on a first name basis) They sang hits from the 80’s to 90’s and some current hits. After every set, the DJ would play upbeat tracks and people started dancing. It was good clean fun all night long. We planned to stay for only a few hours but ended up going home at 1am. We were enjoying ourselves so much, we didn’t notice the time.
Overall, we had a considerably satisfying experience at Bodega Garage. Keeping in mind that it used to be a warehouse, I like how they converted it to be the cool, hip club that it is now. I like the vibe, the mood and the feeling that you have when you’re inside. The band livens up the place and is definitely best enjoyed with friends. There’s a lot to improve on the food menu though but for the most part, it is a great place to just hang out and chill. The place has a lot of potential. It’s very promising that I feel like more people should know about the club and try it for themselves. Just the fact that it’s in Barsha close to a metro station is a reason enough to go. I would definitely come back because from the service to the entertainment offered by the band to the crowd to the branding, one can definitely feel at home at Bodega Garage.