Live Music, Dance, Sheesha? The glaring defiance of Dubai’s Headlines Café and the Rooftop Lounge of social distancing and social protocols

The world is still reeling in from the devastation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with few parts of the world still being heavily tolled. Even as recent a new strain of the coronavirus has been detected in the UK which seems to have a severe transmission ability than its previous counterpart. Countries shutting down and borders slamming shut, this is what no one ever imagined panning out. Millions dead already and several million infected, there seems no end to this raging pandemic. As Dubai and the entire UAE gearing up for a second wave with news of vaccine shots on the horizon, few people and organizations have simply stopped taking this threat seriously.


Enter Suneel B. You learn more about him from his Facebook page by clicking here.  


In a nutshell, Suneel claims to be an entrepreneur and a “second-generation restaurateur”. He is the owner of two venues, namely, The Rooftop Lounge and Headlines Café. Headlines Café is based at the Lobby Level of the Mercure Gold Hotel on the Al Mina Road in Dubai while the Rooftop Lounge is based on the Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road also in Dubai. 

With the UAE government putting in strict guidelines and regulations to counter the virus, these two cafés don’t seem to have gotten the news. Utter ignorance towards safety protocol and standards, these venues seem to operate on their will. Cluttered tables with overwhelming crowds all sharing their “sheesha” and reckless dancing does not seem a great way of maintaining social distancing in these perilous times.


Masks are nowhere to be seen on the faces of the guests with dancing and live music throwing out social distancing outside the window. There was not even half a metre distance between two sofas as they were hosting such a huge crowd in the sheesha parlour. It has also come to light that the wife of the manager, Varsha Jatav, only has a housewife visa which does not have an official contract or license to be performing. The “housewife” along with their workers in the lounge does not have a visa and are staying illegally in UAE. A glaring undermines of UAE labour law. You can visit his Instagram Page by clicking here. Not only do such actions demand retractions and apologies, but legal actions are also binding according to UAE laws.


For one of the big names in Dubai, Suneel B and his staff do not seem to care as long as “sheeshas” are being sold and the money rolling in. There have been cases when the bouncers have manhandled several guests and literally, thrown them out of the lounge. There have been instances when although the closing time is 3 a.m., the security forces the guests to clear out half an hour earlier. Guests who refused to, have been forcefully pushed out of the lounge. A shocking revelation. The manager and the bodyguards are extremely arrogant about the way they proceed and do not seem to care about the law or human beings for that matter. Several posts and videos on their Facebook page show otherwise. Clean premises, physical distancing, and sanitization all seem to be a scam upon your arrival here. Their Facebook page even brings up their irony by flaunting off their crowded floors and tables. Seriously, you need to visit their page and see the pictures of their so-called “Social-distancing”. And after the Christmas season concluding, chances are they will be inclined towards more social distancing (pun intended). 


This goes out to show that lives cost less than your standard shot of “Sheesha” for them. With millions of lives around the globe perishing to this virus, these clubs and venues seem to be busy counting the profits they made from the Christmas and New Year’s Party convoluting them up with live performances from expensive DJs bringing in heavy crowds. With tons of people on the floor, glaring defiance of safety, and distancing protocols, UAE’s stringent laws were kicked out the window. From physical assaults to procuring profits illegally, this place surely has found a way to stay happening.

This is the time we need to stay apart to stay alive.


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