DUBAI EXPAT STORY: ‘I came here doing regular jobs’ – Ali Khalid, car collector and café owner

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Ali Khalid recalls how he and some friends were chilling at a shisha bar one evening while wasting time after a long day’s work. 

“We thought it’s good business,” Ali says. “And so we said, ‘We should open our own café as well.’”

With that in mind, Dhuaan Lounge Restaurant & Café was born, officially opening on June 26 last year.

The café has Monday “Gentleman’s Night,” and Tuesday “Ladies Night.”  It offers the best of Dubai, too.

“It’s my dream to have a café,” says Ali, who is also into collecting cars – a Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz among them, so far.

Let’s rewind a bit and see how it started out for Ali, who has been calling Dubai home for the past 17 years.

“The family has a construction business as well as a rent-a-car company,” said Ali.

Ali, who worked as facility manager for 13 years, said he used to do regular jobs.

“I believe we have more opportunities here,” Ali, who’s from Pakistan, said.

He said his family actually didn’t have plans to move to Dubai but did. And now they are reaping the fruits of their hard work – which, by the way, Ali said, is what it all boils down to.

“The main thing is to focus on your work. Work hard then work harder,” he said.


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