Publique feels cosy and welcoming, just as you’d expect from a French alpine lodge-themed bar.
It takes up half the space once occupied by Rivington Grill (the other half, upstairs, being filled by Folly) and the décor is all about the snow sports. Wooden crates, wrought iron and copper accents give Publique a cool, industrial edge. The roaring fires may be LED lights rather than real flames, but they still do the trick in giving the place a wintery ambience and it genuinely feels a world away from beachy Dubai. It all comes together well and avoids falling into clichéd territory.
But the pull of the pretty waterways and a pleasant breeze outweigh the novelty of perching ourselves on the actual ski lift seats (though we’re looking forward to making the most of them once temperatures start to soar), so we head outside.
On our visit, inside is, sadly, fairly quiet, especially if you compare it to the Madinat’s other long-established and perennially heaving venues. But don’t be put off. There’s a pleasant buzz in the air on the terrace, even if there are fewer occupied tables, and it’s certainly a relaxing spot to spend the evening.
We love that over on the far side there’s a row of deck chairs for lounging on, too, and we can imagine ourselves happily basking in the sun here on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Drinks are reasonable, with all happy hour options coming in at under Dhs30. In a fun touch, you can also try your hand at a round of darts to win a free short.
Food is pricier and much of what we order is (dare we say it?) a little too heavy on the cheese, but ultimately this feels far more like a spot for a casual pint than a full meal.
It’s a solid addition to Madinat Jumeirah’s collection of casual bars, and one that, given a bit more time, will no doubt be just as busy as the rest.
The bottom line Simply a cosy and casual spot.