Hubbly Bubbly - mind the smoke...

It would be fair to say that over the last couple of years this fair blog has been, well, critical of many businesses here in the sandpit that I call home.

My defence is this – if businesses didn’t make it so easy for bloggers (me and those far more talented than me) to make humorous observations, there would be about a 10,000 words a day NOT sent streaming out into the mists the interwebs.

How can I not pass comment on unnecessarily protracted service response OR buy in bulk shopping deals that work out to be more expensive than simply purchasing the same amount of items individually?

Or road behaviour, or staff issues, or the fact that there is no postal system but I can get burgerking delivered to my door 24 hours a day?
My part time job as a blogger precludes the exclusion of such tasty morsels if they land in my lap, but please understand that the focus of this blog was never to simply beat up on folk, it’s just that there seems to be a very long line in the “beat me up” side of the velvet rope, and very few participants in the, “I’m awesome, write about me” line.

SO to address the balance just a little bit, here’s an example of GREAT service, and I hope enough people support the business, and are not so confused by being shown good service that they run screaming into the night – sure that the sky will soon fall.

 Long-time readers might have made note that I am quite partial to shisha,  I don’t smoke it every day, in fact I often don’t smoke shisha month to month but when I do  it’s a pleasing social experience.

*cue the arrival of the justification train*

Yes.. I know it’s not the healthiest of pursuits, no need to bother yourselves with pointing that out. Thanks, no .. really I know…

For those not in the know: the process of acquiring and utilising shisha at aforementioned shisha bars is pretty simple.

  • Once seated, order preferred flavour of shisha (Grape with mint is the weapon of choice for team Abudhabilist)
  • Wait an undetermined time for your bubbly piece of smoking joy to arrive.
  • Watch transfixed as the shisha guy stokes the pipe by adding hot coal to the top of the tobacco bowl.
  • Puff contentedly, until coal burns out.
  • Watch transfixed as shisha guy notices your lack of coal and zooms over with a flourish and a wave of a pot full of new coal to rectify lack of coal issue.

  • Try to catch the eye of shisha guy as he darts about trying to keep everyone happy, lamenting his choice of vocation and/or the miserable bar owner who refuses to hire enough staff and/or the large bald bloke (me) waving furiously at him to come and attend to coal situation.

Shisha bars vary in both quality of the product AND quality of the service. It seems that some places take great pride in their shisha, others would catapult the cheapest petro-chemical red hot faux-charcoal at their customers if they could.

Except that would mean taking the time to make a catapult, and exposing the operators to the potential of shooting themselves in the eye. Which is not so much a statement on workplace health and safety but more about the additional issue of driving them to an airport to send them home with their eye in a bag.

Some venues are like this (almost) then there are others, like the main subject of this post.

I had been nagging the Holiday Inn about when their shisha bar was going to be finished for MONTHS. Working on the theory that if I nagged enough, it would open sooner.

Not a great theory I am aware, but when in search of shisha close to one’s home, one has to pull out all one’s stops – so to speak.

When the opening finally happened, I sped hungrily to their door.
Okay that’s not entirely true either BUT we were there within 2 weeks of opening.

It was so worth the wait. I tend to walk into any new venue here with hope and faith that it will be good, then set about writing notes on why it’s not.

Not at the mighty ‘Hubbly Bubbly’ though…

Greeted by the fantastic and uber-friendly Karim we were shown to a table and waited for friends to arrive but not wanting  to hold festivities up Mrs AD-ist and I ordered shisha immediately, and we were graced with a smoking pipe of goodness in short order.

Being a shisha buff of some renown I can confidently say that whatever Hubbly Bubbly are serving in those pipes is excellent… if they keep it up (and I believe they will) they’ll have to extend the shisha area into the car-park to fit people in.

Upon arrival our shisha-hound buddies ordered up their flavours of choice, and settled back to enjoy.

Then an amazing thing happened: One of our number had chosen a flavour he wasn’t familiar with, and after a minute proclaimed that he really didn’t like it…

…Karim solved our guy’s problem by simply asking him what he usually puffed on and then immediately replacing the pipe with that flavour.

No arguments, no discussion, just excellent service.

We were gob-smacked. Customer focussed service, by staff who were genuinely enthusiastic?

Had we somehow found ourselves in a time shift created by the shape of the building and it’s interaction with the passing traffic?

Nope, just a team that know what they are doing.

We’ve been back, several times since, and they are constantly improving the area.

New couches have been added for a more informal feel (rather than all sitting around outdoor settings), more plans for more space are being actioned, AND they have outdoor air-conditioners for those who find the concept of being outside and away from arctic like air-con an inconvenience.

There are prettier places to imbibe in this local vice, but none offer the welcome or the level of service that is on offer at Hubbly Bubbly.
Oh… and the food is good (great pizza or Arabic standards) AND it’s all well priced.

So go, and say ‘hi’ to the Karim and the gang from us here at … just leave room for us will you?

Hubble Bubbly
Outside at the Holiday Inn
Corner 31st and 2nd Streets

1 comment:

  1. First time poster here at your blog --- please keep it up! I'm enjoying the reads.


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

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