They say that the secret to maintaining the spark in your relationship is to try new things together.

But, as parents of very young kids, we’re tired. Really tired.

Yes, we’re desperate to spend some quality time with the other half, but we also want the excuse to dress up a little and remember how well we scrub up when we don’t have baby sick on our tops (nothing too sporty or energetic thanks!).

Here’s our pick of Dubai’s best alternative date nights for busy parents that are the right balance of different and romantic. 

Have a good laugh together

It’s easy to forget how much you love your hub’s sense of humour when most conversations seem to revolve around either nappies or milk. Reignite the laughter in your lives by catching a comedy show – yes, we know they can be a bit of a risk, but The Laughter Factory avoids the potential awkwardness that can accompany amateur comedians by bringing some of the world’s funniest and most seasoned professional stand-up comics to perform in Dubai regularly. The performances tend to be in hotels around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and they usually start quite late at around 8pm or 9pm, so you can grab a bite to eat, buy some drinks to sip on during the show, and chortle to your hearts’ content.

We're particularly excited about the show happening this weekend until 11 May, starring the awesome Danish comedian Sofie Hagen, as well as Mock the Week’s Mark Watson, and Canadian TV star Glen Wool. Get tickets here.  

The Laughter Factory, dates, venue and prices vary depending on tours, around Dh150 per ticket.  

Be Luvvie birds

What could be more sophisticated than a night at the theatre dahling? You can get all the buzz and thrill of London’s world-class West End while in Dubai at The Courtyard Playhouse’s NT Live screenings. Get the best seats in the house to watch Hollywood actors perform live, broadcast direct from the real-time performance in London’s National Theatre. Screenings vary from Shakespeare to well-known plays like ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf’ (ie slightly more highbrow than what you’ll usually find in Dubai), they’re on once a month, and cost Dh100 for a temporary membership, or Dh700 for an annual membership. 

NT Live at The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz. Dates vary, tickets from Dh100.

Get bowled over

Hit a strike in your relationship (if not with the skittles) with an evening spent in the highest bowling alley in the world. Why? Not just because it’s also licensed, but because bowling is actually super fun, guys! But this is nothing like the usual echo-y, neon-lit sort of place you frequented when you were 11. Based in chic sports bar The 44 on the 44th floor of The Westin Al Habtoor City, nurture some healthy couples competition while enjoying the retro Americana-meets-member’s-club décor and the relaxed yet stylish vibe. There’s also a pinball machine, pool tables, darts boards and often a live band, plus a spacious roof terrace with stunning views across the city, if you want to take a quiet moment of romance in the night air. Sounds right up our alley! Please note: to use the bowling alley there’s a minimum spend of Dhs300 per group (or couple) on food and drink up until 7.30pm, and Dh600 from 7.30pm until 2am Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, it’s Dh80 per person per game.

Bowling at The 44, The Westin, Al Habtoor City, daily 12pm to 2am. Tel: (054) 5811 758. 


Have a foodie film

We’ve been waiting for a licensed cinema in Dubai for yonks, and it’s finally arrived! Yes we know dinner and a movie is pretty standard date material, but a combo of the two, simultaneously? That’s a little bit different! Reel Cinemas has teamed up with celeb chef Guy Fieri to launch the Middle East’s first stand-alone Dine-In Cinema, featuring his American Kitchen concept, in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Recreation club. There are four screens offering this dine-in experience, all of which are serviced by fully licensed bar. The food is the culinary equivalent of smart-casual – think gourmet burgers and fancy nachos - and a two-course dine-in experience with movie ticket is priced at Dh160. Desserts are extra, while drinks are priced individually.

Dine-In Cinema. Reel Cinemas, Jebel Ali Recreation club, Dh160 for movie tickets plus a two-course meal.

Dine in the dark

It’s hard to imagine how utterly strange and intense it feels dining in total darkness until you’ve experienced it in the flesh. Before we tried the dining in the dark experience at Noire in the Fairmont we’d imagined straining our eyes to see the menu or something, but there’s absolutely no chance of that. You. Can’t. See. A. Thing. Not at all. You can’t even see your own hand, you have to feel your way to your cutlery, trace your fingers along the table to find your glass, you have no idea what the people around you look like, let alone a clue about what you’re eating. It makes for an extreme sensory experience that turns the average date night dinner into something totally unforgettable. Priced at Dh360, this unique 1 ½ hour experiential dining experience includes a surprise three course gourmet menu with paired beverages, and a reception [in the light] to discuss the featured menu with the chef and restaurant manager. From Monday to Friday at 7.30pm. Noire is located on the 9th floor of the Fairmont Dubai.

Dining in the Dark, Noire, Fairmont Dubai, Dh360pp, 7.30pm Monday to Friday.

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