EDIT (Nov 2021): It looks like The Hangout has changed the location again and can now be found inside Msheireb Galleria (where the food court used to be). I’m not a big fan of that location either – it’s small, dark and most plants are gone 🙁
A small confession before I begin – I’m not a big fan of “trendy” spots. If everybody talks about something, I most probably will not 😉 I am of an opinion that it’s more valuable to write about places which are underrated, as opposed to ones where everyone goes. But after visiting The Hangout I might change my approach.
What I find annoying is that while everyone focuses on how amazing a place is, there’s usually no mention of the downsides, or things that can put some people off. And it’s kind of obvious that no place is perfect, or will suit everyone.
The Hangout, which opened in Msheireb Downtown a couple of months ago, is widely advertised as a “public space” where you can relax, have a cup of coffee, read, work or play some games with friends. There’s no entrance fee, and you don’t even need to order anything to be able to enjoy it. A great concept, right? Reading about it and seeing photos, I decided it’s my kind of space. I took my laptop and my husband, and headed to Msheireb.
My first impression was that of a slight confusion.
The place is clearly labeled when you pass by it, but somehow the location on Google Maps was off. Once I entered, I also noticed that the interior doesn’t look like in the photos I saw online. Granted, it’s still very green and spacious, but photos made it seem larger and more full of light. I went directly to the security guard to investigate, and here’s what he told me:
Originally, The Hangout was located in a building opposite. That’s the airy location I remembered from the photos! Unfortunately, a restaurant claimed that the location and the venue for The Hangout had to be changed. Where it is right now is supposed to be a temporary location, and hopefully within the next 6 months or so they’ll move to a permanent one.
So yeah, something you need to consider – even though I’ve noticed that most influencers have already deleted the old photos and replaced them with pictures from the new venue.
With this small detail out of the way – what are the things which we liked about The Hangout? And what did we find lacking?
There are many great things about The Hangout!
What I loved the most is the concept of this place, very new to Doha and one of its kind. The indoor public space designed to have fun with friends without having to pay anything (if we don’t want to). Qatar desperately needed this. In the summer months, there’s hardly anywhere to go that doesn’t involve us spending our hard-earned Riyals. It is amazing that there’s finally a space like this and I hope more will follow.
Another great thing about The Hangout is the design – I love how green it is! It’s so pleasant to just sit there and enjoy the calming surrounding. Msheireb Downtown is a beautiful and super classy location but lacks greenery, and The Hangout provides some needed balance. And who doesn’t enjoy being surrounded by nature? 🙂
It’s also amazing that we are able to bring food and drinks into The Hangout from outside and nobody will say anything. 🙂 They’re also not trying to guilt us into ordering something there – if your table is empty, it’s assumed you want it this way.
Most seating options inside The Hangout are cozy and comfortable, creating a perfect atmosphere to meet with friends. There are some books and board games for visitors to enjoy, as well as a pool table! Free wifi is available too.
As I have mentioned before, I don’t think there’s a place in this world that would please absolutely everyone 🙂 Having said that, here are things that didn’t sit well with me.
The Hangout might be many things, but it is not a perfect place to work remotely. Most tables in the venue are low (and therefore unsuitable for laptops), and only 3 tables have access to sockets (that’s the information I got from the staff). Not sure if it was the same in the old location, but that’s what it is now. On top of that, there are two Very Noisy Birds in the corner who seem to love fighting with each other – imagine having a business call in that setting 😉
Another thing is the food. If you read online reviews of The Hangout, everyone says that you can order food & drink to be delivered there from a couple of nearby restaurants & cafes. Menus are available on the tables. What nobody mentions though is that once you select your order, you need to find the restaurant’s number and place it over the phone 😅 To be honest, after reading the reviews I was expecting an experience similar to Gourmet District, where there would be an allocated person on-site to collect & process orders. There is one, but they cater exclusively to L’Eau de Cafe. So this is your option if you’d like to order your food & drink hassle-free.
Despite the hiccups, I am really happy that such a place opened in Doha! We’re in desperate need of spots where we could just hang out with friends without spending tonnes of money when it’s too hot to stay outdoors! I’m really looking forward to visiting the new location once it opens!