Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Your guide to Gate Avenue: huge new walkway connects all of DIFC's major towers

The project is taking shape in Dubai International Financial Centre, and there are a host of eateries to check out

If you're a frequent visitor to Dubai International Financial Centre, you may have noticed a sprawling development taking shape below the towering skyscrapers. This is Gate Avenue (once referred to as The Spine), a project slated to cost Dh475 million when it was announced in 2016, and described as DIFC's single biggest infrastructure project to launch since it opened almost two decades ago.

While many shops are yet to open (some establishments opened in 2019), there's still a lot on offer for people curious about the new airy green destination.

Gate Avenue is basically a walkway connecting all the buildings in DIFC that runs from The Gate building through to Central Park Towers. Being fully covered, it can be used year-round; atop the walkway is an open-air promenade dotted with restaurants.

There is a focus on local and boutique home-grown restaurant concepts being opened in the precinct, with new outlets of established Dubai brands, such as Vibe and Wild & The Moon, now being connected to well-established local brands housed in the nearby Gate Village, such as Common Grounds and 1762.

There are also new international imports popping up. Here's a look at the development as it stands now, and what's already moved in.

What is Gate Avenue?

The Avenue project was initially referred to as The Spine because it would link the main Gate and Village districts in the north of DIFC to the large-scale commercial and residential developments in the south.

When it was announced, Gate Avenue was said to one day comprise 660,000 square feet of built-up area, including retail, leisure, dining and green spaces. The project – which opened its connections in January 2019 – is a vital component of DIFC’s strategy to triple in size by 2024. Gate Avenue comprises 230 retail units.

The Avenue comprises four zones connected by an open-air promenade. Zone A begins near the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and features exclusive retail offerings, high-end stores and luxury outlets. Zone B and C will feature high-street brands, art, indoor and outdoor eateries, and a connection to Financial Centre metro station. Zone D will be aimed mainly at residents of the DIFC district, and will provide community and family facilities.

Brand-new restaurants at Gate Avenue

Wild & The Moon

This popular vegan cafe opened its Gate Avenue branch in April 2019. Its flagship Alserkal Avenue outlet is something of a go-to for cold-pressed juices, smoothies and tasty, healthy meals.

"We're fortunate to have a beautiful view of the gate," a representative for the cafe said. "It is nice to walk around and discover the many galleries and small concept stores that are now installed there. The various status exhibitions give this area a special appeal in the middle of the busy DIFC district."

Bite Me Burger and Get Plucked

The popular British burger joint has just arrived in Dubai, serving gourmet mini burgers and chicken to the crowds of DIFC. Serving up 15 varieties of mini burgers, Bite Me Burger is for the indecisive, whereas its sister brand Get Plucked offers all things chicken: bites, burgers and wings. Featuring striking wall art, burger-inspired design accents, an Instagram wall and a "freeze shake bar", it's a unique destination.

Vibe

Another outlet of this healthy food eatery, which also exists on Al Wasl Road, has opened atop the promenade in Gate Avenue. Expect a menu packed with nutritious options and plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes. It's also known for its cold-pressed juices, which are supposedly so good that Drake has given them the seal of approval (the rapper shared a shout-out to the cafe in 2018, before it had even opened, saying it was “My go to place in Dubai for clean-eating and the best drink options”).

What else is on offer at Gate Avenue?

Shopping

While many of the retail spaces have yet to open, there are several shops operating. Sacoor Brothers has moved in, as has Suit Supply and a number of other stand-alone stores including menswear store Black Amber, tailor shop Satoria Rossi, clothing store His and Hers, Fiori Jewels and Collars and Cuffs.

A 4,000-square-foot Design House, which opened in December 2019, will be home to a selection of hand-picked local SMEs.

Gate Avenue. Ashleigh Stewart / The National
The indoor shopping area of Gate Avenue. Ashleigh Stewart / The National

Space for art and events

The project will soon offer a roster of events showcasing art, fashion and food. There's a huge focus on art everywhere, with smaller pieces dotted around the promenade, too.

DIFC Grand Mosque

When it opens at Gate Avenue, the DIFC Grand Mosque is expected to be able to house more than 500 worshippers, 24 hours a day, and serve all daily prayer times, Friday and Ramadan prayers.

Homegrown cafes that are now better connected thanks to Gate Avenue

1762

The popular Dubai deli's flagship store has been in Gate Village since 2010, but it is now connected to Gate Avenue from its home in Precinct Building 5. The concept came about after its founders (husband and wife duo Manar Al Jayouchi and Suzi Croft) upgraded their grab ‘n’ go food catering business to an eat-in set-up. It's now known for healthy and fresh deli-style fare.

Common Grounds

Another outlet of the popular Melbourne-inspired cafe exists in Gate Village, as well as its more popularly known location at Mall of the Emirates. Started by culinary entrepreneurs Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez – the duo behind the trendy Tom&Serg in Al Quoz – this cafe offers the same great coffee, breakfasts and lunch that Dubai has come to know and love.

These aside, you'll find the usual hang-outs around the area in the nearby Gate Village: Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero and Choithrams.

Updated: March 4, 2020 12:00 PM

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