These may not be the most obvious nightspots to visit in Dubai but they certainly are worth popping into
49ers The Gold Rush A cheap and cheerful saloon-style bar, with a live Russian band on Wild West Wednesdays and a Monday Madness challenge with prizes to be won. Open daily 6.30pm-3am. Avenue Hotel Dubai, Al Rigga Road, www.avenuehoteldubai.com (04 297 0808).
Beyond El Rancho
Leave pretensions at the door for a night at this bright Mexican bar. Order a few piles of sticky chicken wings, some artery-clogging deluxe nachos and settle in for the great live band. Open daily 7pm-3am. Marco Polo Hotel, Al Muteena Street, Deira, www.marcopolohotel.net (04 272 0000).
Boston Bar A welcome – but not entirely dissimilar – alternative to the flurry of pubs for homesick Brits, Boston Bar is all-American without being inundated in stars and stripes. It feels like a casual East Coast bar, and Boston seafood chowder and Mississippi mud pie can both be found on the menu. We pledge allegiance. Open daily noon-2.30am. Jumeira Rotana, 2nd December Street, www.rotana.com (04 345 5888).
Snack on schnitzel and sauerkraut, washed down with some ice-cold hops, and forget about the 50˚C heat and 50 percent humidity wreaking havoc outside. Open daily 6pm-2.30am. Jumeira Rotana, 2nd December Street, Satwa, www.rotana.com (04 345 5888).
Cactus Jack’s Blow off steam here after a tough week in the office – its tacky party atmosphere makes for some rollicking good times. Despite the garish sombreros and fake cacti, it’s surprisingly authentic thanks to its terracotta floor tiles, bright mosaics and carved woods. Open daily 6pm-3am. Airport Road, Casablanca Street, Garhoud, www.millenniumhotels.ae (04 702 8888).
This pub dates all the way back to 1978, and you’ll find regulars to chat to who look like they’ve been here every night since. Open daily 5pm-1am. Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Baniyas Road, Deira, www.sheratondubaicreek.com (04 207 1721).
Cowboys Sports Bar A bar with a hilariously haphazard interpretation of the cowboy theme. It’s endearing though, plus the pool table, dart board and moderate prices make it a good spot for a few casual drinks. Open daily 2pm-3am. President Hotel Karama, Trade Centre Road, Karama, www.presidenthoteldubai.com (04 334 6565).
Freddy’s If Freddy was a person he would be a lovable American sports fan with a penchant for old-school entertainment like jukeboxes, foosball and karaoke. A US roadhouse-like breath of fresh air in Dubai’s ongoing bigger-taller-shinier nightlife race. Open daily noon-3am. Fortune Boutique Hotel, Deira, www.fortunegroupofhotels.com (04 273 5555).
Garage Club Step straight into Pulp Fiction and take a seat in an old vintage car booth with popcorn and a Dhs25 drink. Utter retro novelty with a live African band to twist to. Open daily 9pm-3am. Ramee International, Nasser Square, Deira, www.rameehotels.com/ramee-international (04 224 0222).
George & Dragon In an unloved part of the city, in a perhaps otherwise forgettable hotel, the George & Dragon does good deals, has an excellent jukebox, proper pub grub, quiz nights and a monthly Northern Soul night. It’s not the prettiest of pubs but it has a lot of character and, once a month, a lot of soul. Open daily noon-3am. Ambassador Hotel, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, www.astamb.com (04 393 9444).
One of the wackiest spots in the city (boxes of sand; beach murals; thatched beach shack bar; fake coconut palms) and one of our favourites when you factor in karaoke nights and live Goan music. Open daily noon-4pm, 6pm-2am. Ascot Hotel, Bur Dubai, www.ascothoteldubai.com (04 352 0593).
It’s Mirchi Arguably the city’s most popular Indian nightclub. Its Asian dance tunes and packed dance floor mean this makes our list as a must-try-it-once Dubai nightlife experience. Open daily 4.30pm-3am. Ramee Royal Hotel, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road, Umm Hurair, www.rameehotels.com/ramee-royal-hotel (04 334 4088).
Mistakes The masses haven’t yet caught on to this funky little boutique-hotel based bar. Its reasonable prices and deals, and comfortable, modern setting make it a cut above the clinical-feeling budget hotel bars that are so common. Open daily 6pm-3am. Hues Boutique Hotel, 2nd Street, Corniche, Deira, www.hueshotels.com (04 236 5566).
Pancho Villa’s An old Dubai watering hole and Tex-Mex joint that has only got better with age. There are plenty of deals to take advantage of here, and as the night goes on the venue slowly gets livelier and livelier. Open daily 7pm-3am. Astoria Hotel, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, www.astamb.com (04 336 6000).
Sherlock Holmes Pub
As the name suggests, there’s a loose detective theme (old radio props and the like) but the overriding draw is the friendly staff and casual pub atmosphere. Open daily noon-2am. Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, www.sherlockholmespub.net (04 351 9111).
Somersets An interesting and eclectic pub that needs to be experienced first-hand. Its 13 screens show everything from live football and tennis to F1 races, and it has good happy hours along with typical pub grub. Open daily noon-3am. Mövenpick Bur Dubai, 19th Street, Out Metha, www.movenpick-hotels.com (04 310 4330).
Die-hard ping pong fiends in particular should make a beeline for this quirky Susan Sarandon-owned lounge. Playing ping pong in semi-darkness with a wonky bat to blaring music will no doubt work wonders on your technique. Open Mon-Tue 6pm-1am, Wed-Sun 6pm-3am. Wafi Pyramids, Umm Hurair, www.facebook.com/spindubai (04 370 7707).
St. Andrews A homely Scottish pub where it’s just like having a pint of hops in Scotland. Probably. Open daily noon-midnight. Chelsea Plaza Hotel, 2nd December Street, opposite Satwa Roundabout, www.crimsonhotels.com/chelseaplaza (04 398 2222).
Time Café There are more than 50 plasma screens at this huge bar in Karama, so it’s worth the trek to catch the game without a battle for a full view. Open daily noon-3am. Ramee Royal Hotel, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road, Oud Metha, www.rameehotels.com/ramee-royal-hotel (04 334 4088).
The High Mile Club The conceptually themed bars of the Marina and Downtown will never measure up to the sheer novelty you get from, say, having a few drinks inside a faux aeroplane at this claustrophobia-inducing Mankhool gem. Open daily 6pm-3am. Manhattan Hotel, Al Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, www.manhattan-dubai.com (04 351 4222).
The Pub Clichéd in its British pub theme (one set of table and chairs has been replaced with wrought iron garden furniture, against an exposed brick wall hung with a Punch & Judy poster), but still a pleasant spot to catch the game and play a few rounds of darts if you’re down Creekside way. Open daily noon-1pm, 6pm-2am. Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek, Baniyas Road, Deira, www.radissonblu.com/hotel-dubaideiracreek (04 222 7171).
The Viceroy This cosy, leather-chaired, wood-panelled pub has a jukebox and a whole seven hours of happy hour every day, from opening up to 7pm. Open daily noon-2am. Four Points by Sheraton, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street, Bur Dubai, www.fourpointsburdubai.com (04 397 7444).
Vantage Bar & Terrace Try a wide variety of grape or order from the decent selection of hops from this bar with stunning views of the city. Open daily 11am-2am. Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Al Barsha, www.vantageloungedubai.com (04 377 2356).