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GQ Bar Bosses: Promoting Gentlemen’s Culture In Dubai

GQ Bar Bosses: Promoting Gentlemen’s Culture In Dubai

The newly launched GQ Bar in Dubai is calling all gentlemen to experience a night they won’t forget, its owners tell Aarti Nagraj.

The cleaners are out in full force as I walk into the suave GQ Bar in the world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai. It’s early evening, and the newly launched venue is readying itself for the night’s guests.

A cheery and friendly usher tells me that the men I’m here to meet, Rajeev Bhatia, managing director of Inspired Lifestyle and Seehal Shah the company’s CEO, will be joining me shortly.

The two are understandably busy; their company, Inspired Brands, holds the licence to operate Condé Nast Restaurants in the UAE, and GQ Bar is still a new baby.

As we sit down for a chat, a waiter brings a cup of hot espresso and they instantly exchange remarks on the quirky- looking mug (it looks like a partly crushed plastic cup).

“It’s been fantastic so far,” says a vibrant Shah. “The opening event was great and we were very happy with the turnout and the feedback from media, friends and Dubai-ites.

“We were kicking people out in the end,” he jokes.GQ Bar, named after the legendary men’s magazine GQ (formerly Gentlemen’s Quarterly), is lavishly spread across two floors and incorporates a new concept of having a upscale restaurant, bar and lounge, all under the same roof.

“We stand out because we are the first place promoting the gentlemen culture,” explains Bhatia.

“It’s a suave place for the evening. So you have got everything – a business lunch menu, a 5 o’clock venue where you can take the jacket off, get your tie down and have a meeting with your colleagues, or you could keep your suit on and continue to entertain your client in the lounge and then if you come for dinner – dressed in smart casuals – you can have a nice dinner in the restaurant and then you can take it upstairs to the lounge, or if you want a more chilled-out night, we have the terrace with the shisha,” he gushes in one breath.

“We can actually plan the entire evening around being here. And create the exact mood that you want.”

To deliver the finest customer experience, the men say they have hired a top team, with the bartenders in particular given flexibility to express their personalities.

“You could see that during the recent Super Bowl [in the US], when there was a friendly debate and banter between a customer and the bartender, who is American,” elaborates Shah.

Along with the chatter, they also concoct the best cocktails on offer, assures Shah. “You have to try it out for yourself,” he urges me.

Bhatia says they expect the venue to become profitable in two years and that they are looking at opening at least two new venues (the company currently also operates Vogue Café in Dubai) within one to two years.

“Profitability – yes, everybody wants to make money. But that’s second. We want somebody to walk in here and leave feeling that they have had the best experience and the best night,” says Shah.

“Dubai is about the finer things of life and at Inspired there is no compromise – whether in quality, standards or service,” adds Bhatia.

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