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Cafe Rider, Dubai

21 October 2015

A combination of serious coffee and specialist motorbikes might sound unusual (it is unusual), but it could well be Dubai’s most intriguing cafe.

Part specialty coffee bar, part motorcycle workshop, Cafe Rider is tucked away within Dubai’s industrial zone and drawing an eclectic community of coffee connoisseurs and bike enthusiasts alike.

“Cafe Rider is different, and you will sense it when you walk in,” says founder Murtaza Moulvi. “We believe ourselves to be curators of art in a sense. We source the best coffee beans we can to offer that perfect cup of coffee, and create the best custom designed motorcycles we can build, too.”

As you might imagine, the remit sees a diverse customer base fill the place, from bikers resting after a morning ride to families with children whizzing across the cafe’s floors on toy motorcycles and cars.

“There is such a crossover,” Moulvi says of his customers. “It’s become a place for artists no matter what their art might be, with caffeine being the common thread. It’s what Dubai is – a mix of the local and expat community, who all feel comfortable enough to venture into this unassuming, unpretentious warehouse on the edge of Al Quoz. This is the Dubai I grew up in and that’s what I love seeing.”

Cafe Rider offers American-style food and coffee freshly imported from a small San Fransisco roaster, serving signature drinks and pour-overs, along with espresso and cappuccino. Its mechanics revive old-school bobbers, cafe racers and modern ‘Mad Max’ machines. A corner concept store also does a brisk trade, with own branded T-shirts, and leather message bags and gloves, as well as stocking emerging brands.

There is one thing that Moulvi would like to be clear about, however. “We’re not a theme café,” he explains. “We continuously make sure we concentrate on the product and go to great lengths to be true to the core of what want to spark in this region: a revival of cafe culture.”

As unusual as the concept might be, for Moulvi it was a natural choice. “I am born and bred in Dubai, where nothing is impossible. Dubai has always been the one to start the quirky trends and not afraid to try something new. We chose Al Ouoz as it’s the road less travelled by many who think only ‘glamourous Dubai’ exists.

“We realised the gamble of doing so but were hoping that there were lots of people like us, who wanted to have an unplugged place to hang out. We opened Cafe Rider to be able to show a different side of Dubai. It’s home-grown and organic. That’s what resonates with residents and tourists here in UAE. Cafe Rider is a product of passion and that can be seen and felt the moment you walk in.”

café-rider.com

Words and images: Sandra Tinari

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