Cook Hall, which claims to be Dubai’s first American gastropub, already has two branches in the States. The Dubai venue is located in the lobby of The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, and it’s easy to spot, thanks to a big statue of a horse right outside it and the imposing doors that are built to resemble those of a bank vault.
Inside, it all looks very industrial – all metal and exposed brick, with exposed pipes running along the high ceiling and chains attached to the staircase.
Set right next to the entrance, you can sit at the bar or in high-backed booths with piles of cushions.
The drinks menu includes several kinds of American hops, while there’s a range of unique mixed drinks, with ingredients including berries, cucumber and chilli.
Somehow, it takes a while for the bartender to notice us, but we occupy ourselves with the free bar snacks you get with your drinks – a bowl of nuts and barbecue-flavoured Shreddies. If those aren’t to your liking, order something from the menu, which features tasty-sounding duck tacos and popcorn shrimp.
Hanging on the wall by the bar are some framed albums by artists including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, which will give you some idea of what kind of music they play here. There’s a space for live music in the far corner of the room, too.
There’s an upstairs area, which is mostly for diners, although there’s a second, smaller bar up there, which has a darts board and snooker table to keep you entertained when the band are off stage.
It’s worth a visit, but the atmosphere still needs a bit more time to pick up.
The bottom line US gastropub that’s getting into its stride.