The Avenues Mall - Manama
The Avenues mall opened in October 2017 and we’ve been a handful of times. But, we’ve never fully explored it. So, this past weekend I took the kids and went and checked it all out.
For those of you who have been to The Avenues mall in Kuwait, there are some similarities. It’s big and bright and airy with enormous interior fake palm trees. It has a wide cobblestone central boulevard perfect for ambling along (or getting your steps in on those sweltering summer days).
It’s full of stores that westerners love, like Pottery Barn, West Elm, H&M, Bath and Body Works, Claire’s Accessories, and even Victoria’s Secret.
It also has more than its fair share of restaurants like PF Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, TGI Friday’s, IHOP, Krispy Kreme, Five Guys, Texas Roadhouse, etc.
Like many malls here, they do have a grocery store, however it is small. But if you’re feeling wistful for a Whole Foods or co-op feel, then hop on in. The prices are significantly higher than elsewhere in Bahrain, however they do also offer some exclusive products so you might be willing to pay for it, depending on the craving.
They have a Magic Planet play area for kids. It’s very similar to the other Magic Planets around (very loud and a thousand blinking lights). The climbing structure costs 3.500 BD for an hour (bring socks) and the trampoline area costs 3BD for half-an-hour or 5BD for one hour. There are other rides and lots of games as well.
The mall also has the VOX cinemas (https://bhr.voxcinemas.com/cinemas/vox-cinemas-the-avenues). They have three different cinemas, and then within those, they have different levels.
First is Standard, and the tickets are 5BD for the top three rows, and 4BD for the bottom rows. We opted to splurge and try the 5BD seats. The difference, in addition to being higher, was that the top three rows come with cup holders and a little arm rest/table. Frankly, it wasn’t super worth it, but at the same time, it was just a dinar. The seats themselves look exactly the same.
For the Max cinema, they offer VIP and standard seats, (4BD and 6BD respectively) and the seat options seem to be the same as in the Standard theater. But apparently the screen is much larger. (We haven’t tried it yet, so just going on hearsay here.)
Finally, there’s the Theater by Rhodes. This is where the prices and amenities jump significantly. A standard ticket is 16BD and includes a reclining seat, foot rest, and a complimentary blanket and pillow. For the 29.5BD price, you can add a full meal provided by “Michelin-starred Chef Gary Rhodes”, which includes your choice of a starter, a main course, a dessert, a mocktail or beverage, and tea or coffee. We have not opted for this choice yet either, so I can’t speak to the food or service or comfort, but it all sounds fairly decadent.
The mall is located in downtown Manama on Bahrain Bay, directly across from the Four Seasons Hotel. In fact, there are shuttle boats out back that will take you back-and-forth between the hotel and the mall all day long. The boat costs 1 BD per person and runs until the mall closes at night.
There’s also a nice promenade out back where you can walk along the water. And during the non-summer heat, the restaurants have outdoor seating which can be very nice.
The mall actually has covered parking, which in the summer temps is a great bonus. And they also have garage parking as well, located at the far end.
There’s also a long promenade with four separate play areas for kids that’s off to the left of the mall.
It can be quite a hike down to the far playground, but you can drive down and park closer if you want. It’s a great place for an after-dinner stroll to watch the sunset while the kids burn off those last dregs of energy for the day.