Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Passing Of Billy Blues

Satwa Roundabout, Satwa, Dubai, United Arab Em...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two Dubai landmarks are going to disappear after this weekend - old skool icons Billy Blues and the Cactus Cantina are to close.

First the Red Lion, now these two. What is it with the city's old haunts?

The 8th floor of Rydges Plaza in Satwa has been Spot On's watering hole from the first days back in the mid-'90s. Established by gravel voiced Southern Gentleman Rudy Rivas - the man that brought us Pancho Villa's, Dubai's first Tex-Mex joint (complete with sombrero clad dwarf) - Billy Blues was originally constantly strewn with peanut husks as bowls of the things were snarfed down along with assorted appropriate libations. You get what you pays for in the wood-panelled bar - blues memorabilia, generally bluesy music (with some occasional odd lapses that just add to the charm of it all) and a good ole menu of ribs and the like. It's always reminded me strongly of the many quirky and deeply individualistic bars that line the streets of Hamra - I contend it's the nearest thing you'll find to a Hamra bar in Dubai. Opposite lies Cactus Cantina, the Tex Mex joint that took over where Panchos left off - including the long tradition of 'ladies night'.

When Rydges changed hands and became the Chelsea Plaza, the new owner appears to have decided on a complete refresh. There's a Cactus Cantina at Wafi now, but when the 8th floor closes for business, Billy Blues is a gonner.

I'm off there tomorrow night (Wed 28th August) to say farewell with a few pals from about 7 o'clock onwards. You're more than welcome to join us!
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5 comments:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Change, constant change.............

Alexander McNabb said...

We should welcome it, right? Yet somehow watching the familiar slip away brings a frisson of sadness...

GA said...

It's such a shame for Rudy and his team. This is what they call progress here though. I was married from the Metropolitan and had my reception at the Country Club. Rachel had her Christening at the Country Club. All gone :(

Mai Abaza said...

Oh no!!! I can't believe I won't get to be there to say Goodbye :( They used to have these awesome Amstel tshirts that said "More bite than a cornered weasel" ... Can you get me one if they still have any?

Paulita said...

I am not a fan of change le sigh

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