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When you're flying in business class or even first class aboard Emirates' flagship Airbus A380s, your ticket buys more than just a seat – you can also head to the inflight cocktail bar and lounge to unwind in between movies or to relax as you journey home from a productive business trip.
It's equally great for solo travellers looking to socialise as it is for small groups of colleagues sneaking in one last drink before returning to the office, and provides space for passengers to both stand and sit.
You'll find the bar and lounge area behind business class at the rear of the A380's upper deck – and with all business class restrooms located even further back, it's impossible to miss no matter where you sit.
Unlike the self-serve or on-call service in Qantas' A380 lounge area or competitor Virgin Australia's Boeing 777 Sky Bar, Emirates' bar is staffed throughout the flight with crew members mixing up cocktails and serving Champagne...
... even in the middle of the night while most other passengers are asleep.
You'll find Moët & Chandon NV Champagne behind the bar along with a range of spirits including those on the more premium side such as Chivas Regal 18yr Scotch Whisky and Grey Goose Vodka...
... plus your standard liqueurs. We also spotted Hennessy XO Cognac on our flights which retails for around $200/bottle – not a bad nip for business class passengers!
But if it's a cocktail you seek, the staff are well-trained: we ordered up a Mojito which tasted just as you'd expect on the ground.
You'll find seating areas on both sides of the bar. On older A380s, be sure to duck as you stand to avoid the overhead lockers...
... while on newer birds it isn't a problem:
A little trivia: We're told that the overhead lockers were installed here on earlier aircraft in case the inflight bar concept proved unpopular.
That would allow Emirates to easily nix the idea and install more business class seating here without totally revamping the aircraft – yet as the bar became a proven hit, future A380s were delivered sans lockers to make the area feel more spacious.
But if you've been sitting for hours on end, it's always nice to stand and stretch your legs. Excluding flights across the Tasman, Emirates attaches a shelf across the adjacent exit doors to allow for this, which also doubles to make room for more travellers during busy times.
Feeling peckish? You'll find snacks such as fresh fruit, sandwiches and rolls at the rear of the bar...
... often joined by dessert-like sweets and nibbles in front of a screen showing where in the world you're currently enjoying your cocktail.
You can also order other hot snacks straight to your seat in the lounge such as pies, empanadas and prawns:
Flying high in first class? Let the crew know you'll be heading back to the bar and they'll send a bottle of your preferred drop aft – a great option for Champagne aficionados who are happy to mingle but while sipping their 2004 Dom Pérignon.
That said, it's a bit of a walk from the front to the rear of the aircraft, so there's also a smaller bar area ahead of Row 1 exclusively for first class passengers.
You won't find any additional seating here, but you can mix your own drinks if you so desire or can call on a crew member do it for you.
All that's missing from the experience are power points in the lounge area, which would allow you to surf the Internet on your tablet even after its battery has been depleted.
But even so, when our only complaint is having to charge your gadgets at your seat before enjoying the free Wi-Fi, it's safe to say that Emirates has forever raised the bar for business class travel.
You can experience the inflight bar and lounge for yourself aboard Emirates' A380s from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, non-stop from those cities and also Perth to Dubai and then onwards to over 30 other destinations including London, Paris, New York and Milan.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.
- Emirates A380 business class review: Sydney-Dubai
- Keeping an airline flying: inside Emirates' Network Control Centre
- Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa' review
- Review: Emirates' free Airbus A380 inflight Internet
- Airbus A380 ‘bar wars’: Qatar, Emirates and Etihad
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