Do you remember Velocity? The bright red and white bar at the JW Marriott Marquis? It was a little like those smoking rooms in airports, only with the Arsenal supporters’ club inside.
If that sounds unkind, once you step into Bridgewater Tavern, the new bar that stands in its place, you’ll realise just how dated the previous incarnation had become.
Now you’ll find a modern bar, very much in the mould of plenty of other faux-industrial spaces (you know the type – all filament light bulbs, brushed concrete floors and lack of proper ceilings). That is absolutely not to say that it’s not a cracking venue – after all, the spots that look like this are popular for a reason – just the décor isn’t that original.
What is different is the music. You’ll find a mix of indie and Britpop tunes (Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis, even Reef), ’70s soft rock and new wave (Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello), and modern anthems. Music made for our 30-something ears, essentially. House of Afrika is also now residing here weekly.
Then there’s the sport. There has been cricket, rugby and football all showing on our latest visit, and a few options of different matches within each sport. Another box ticked.
As for food, it’s really good pub grub. From chicken wings to burgers, calamari to a salmon salad, it’s all ace. Drinks also fare well. The daily happy hour, offering buy one, get one free from 4pm to 7pm – which also includes draughts – makes it good value (usual hops prices are between Dhs45 and Dhs55).
Staff know the menus and have the knack of appearing when you need something.
Did someone say Velocity? Never heard of it. The bottom line A much-welcome Business Bay newbie.