The Pinnacle Guide

ROKA

Dubai

Inspired by Japanese highball culture, Roka Dubai’s bar is a relaxed and intimate extension of the restaurant that is loved for its uniquely-flavoured cocktails.

Restaurant reservations only
Walk-ins welcome for the bar
Accessible venue

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

Careful ordering, correct storage and re-use of any produce waste underpin Roka Dubai’s commitment to minimising its environmental footprint. Leftover fruits that have been used for peels during prep or in service are often squeezed for staff juice while many ingredients are kept in the freezer to help extend shelf life, for example fruit purees which are defrosted as needed.

DETAILS OF NOTE

To support its highball theme, Roka does in-house carbonation. To ensure consistency, all their sodas are carbonated three times at 60psi with a resting period of 15 minutes between each charge. Bespoke sodas include flavours such as the eucalyptus soda, a mint, rosemary & clarified matcha soda or the strawberry & cream soda.

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Despite finding its home in The Opus, one of the architectural standout buildings in Dubai’s Business Bay, Roka is affectionately thought of as a neighbourhood venue. Its calm yet warm energy and refined, minimal style drinks make this bar a very different experience to the more theatrical hotel bars found in the city – an oasis of sorts that both regulars and first-time guests appreciate.

Roka Dubai is centred around robatayaki cuisine, just like its sibling venues dotted across Europe and the Middle East, and as such the restaurant has at its heart a Robata grill. The look of the space is courtesy of Japanese designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu, who has given it a modern industrial appearance, with brushed concrete, raw wood finishes and metal shelving. None of these more exposed elements imparts coldness however, the venue is earthy and welcoming, particularly the bar area with its red-lit back bar and solid wood bar counter. Outside a large terrace with views of the Burj Khalifa continues the theme, albeit with more greenery. 

Guests enter downstairs, where a large blossom tree with personalised messages from previous patrons sets the tone for what is to come. The small bar space is separated off the main dining area, with counter seating and a few high tables, emulating the intimate experience found in Tokyo’s hidden bars. Drinks here are a celebration of Japanese ingredients and culture, with the main inspiration drawing on highballs. The bar team have brought a modernised approach to this classic style with in-house sodas and unique and unusual ingredients, aiming for light and refreshing drinks in the Dubai heat. Ice in the drinks is all hand-cut into spheres or blocks – which are then stamped with a bespoke Samurai ice stamp.

Sitting above the solid wooden bar is the extensive Japanese whiskey collection, and there is also an excellent sake offering here with many of the bottles specially imported into Dubai for Roka. To really elevate their cocktails, the team uses two separate freezers, one for their ice at -14°c and one of glassware that sits even colder, at -22°c. All ice is hand cut to fit the glass and for any drink that would normally be served over cubed ice, the staff hand crack shards of clear ice to better control dilution. Garnishes, if used, are minimal and often come from a local hydroponic farm in the desert growing herbs and micro-cresses.

Behind the scenes, Roka is a company that likes to promote from within and the majority of management at Roka Dubai joined the business in junior roles. When new team members do come in – they are encouraged to train within all areas of the business – be it bar, front of house or reception to have a well-rounded understanding of the entire operation. This is followed by specialist training but this first step results in a more compassionate team. They pride themselves on their diversity endeavours and have comprehensive policies to ensure all employees feel safe, welcome, and supported in an open environment that promotes a gender-neutral mentality. 

“An excellent experience, where time slows down and you’re melting into the venue. The place gives you a unique feeling of calm and relaxation”

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