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Dubai: Please don’t stop the music

The right music completely changes the experience we have in a restaurant. Yes, food and music go hand in hand to create the perfect ambience, energy, and even appetite

Mr. Thing, a DJ and producer with a deep love of hip-hop, deep funk and reggae, was at the Electric Pawn Shop in November'22

It goes without saying that music and food have much in common. Just like a good song, a delish meal too can touch our hearts, minds, and souls. Both forms of art can inspire us to be more creative, just as much as they can be sources of entertainment, comfort, and relaxation. So, what happens when there’s delectable bites on the table and melodious beats in the air? Well, studies show that listening to music while eating is likely to increase our food and drink intake, which perhaps is a good thing for the food business industry, and something that we should be mindful of when we’re out for a meal. Plus, music also makes our meals last longer. And believe it or not, the rhythm can also influence our rhythm of chewing. We speak to experts in the industry to understand how they’re balancing the act of serving both and keeping the guests happy. "There is a commonality between food and music that brings people together. They both have the powerful ability to evoke emotion, be transportive, and nourish the mind, body and soul," said Varun Khemaney, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Honeycomb Hi-Fi, a listening bar-records store, Pullman Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai.

Honeycomb Hi-Fi brings to life a legitimate record store, a high-fidelity sound system, and an izakaya kitchen

Music, an extension of your brand’s story

"Music creates an ambience, which ties into the experience at the venue. The light background music really complements the relaxed and refined dining experience, whereas when the music is amplified and becomes more intense, you know the party is going to start. Whether it be background music or live music, it needs to complement the dining experience one wishes to create, with the right music as a bonus,” said Andrea Strim, General Manager, Grand Millennium Business Bay. Lynn Lin, co-owner, Electric Pawn Shop,The H Dubai Hotel, said, “Food, drink, music, service and vibe are core pillars of a great restaurant. A common mistake that restaurateurs make is that they are too product-focused (tasty cocktails, delicious food) that they overlook other factors which contribute to a great overall dining experience. Music is also a medium to communicate the brand, as much as visual branding, sensory branding is equally important. The music you play in a venue is not only a self-expression, but also a statement of your concept.”



Dubai is also getting more aware of pleasing its nightlife audience, this can be seen by having a DJ present who can read the crowd and play music according to the mood and vibe of the venue. Again, controlling the crowd and setting the mood right for the night.

Jacques Geagea, Director of Operations (Nightlife Division), DREAM Dubai, Address Beach Resort, JBR, Dubai


The modern-day jukebox

“As time goes on, more and more venues want to be more interactive with their crowds. What better way to do this than having a live DJ playing guests' favourite music, where they can even put a request in, like a modern-day jukebox,” said Jacques Geagea, Director of Operations (Nightlife Division), DREAM Dubai.


DJs set the mood for the night: DREAM Dubai

How to perfect the playlist?

As per Jacques, “The one factor to remember whilst curating a playlist is to ensure it caters to local and international tastes. The music must satisfy the cosmopolitan crowd in Dubai. The transition from one song to the next must be done so in a way that feeds into the atmosphere of the venue without losing the momentum or vibe of the crowd.” He advises to not stick to the same genre, “Although I might like to listen to the same style all night long, my job is to entertain the guests, not myself. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow! You know your audience; you know what they like to listen to and what gets them up partying.”



Discovery of a new genre of music, a new song, is also part of a great night to be remembered. Without the right music, the whole experience can be completely off. Moreover, consumers are seeking “experiences” when dining—as consumer trends shift towards more immersive dining experiences, providing great food doesn’t suffice by itself.

Lynn Lin, co-owner, Electric Pawn Shop, The H Dubai Hotel


Five songs to play for a Dubai audience

  • Maxwell - Get to Know Ya - Remastered 2021

  • Herbie Hancock - Doin’ It

  • Jorjah Smith, Joy Orbison - Rose Rouge

  • Sade - Turn My Back On You

  • Julien Dyne, Mara TK - Stained Glass Fresh Frozen (Moodymann Mix)

(As told by Varun Khemaney, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Honeycomb Hi-Fi)


This piece was first published in Khaleej Times


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