Expectations are compounded by the venue’s slightly jarring name (anything with digits in the title has to be über-slick to pull it off) and a delightfully quirky entrance, which recreates a Dubai metro station as it leads you one floor up (see what they did). Upon arrival, we discovered it was just an elaborate segue into another British pub. Yet this may be the one that gets it right.
Setting up shop directly across from the Byblos Hotel’s Crown & Lion was a brave bet, but 1 Up’s secret weapon is its layout. Rather than balancing the moods and demands of different clientele, its split neatly into three. There’s a quieter sit-down-and-watch-the-match bar at one end, a louder, stand-up-and-play-pool room in the centre, and an even louder room at the other end, complete with a (pretty decent) live covers band, DJs and dancefloor. If you go with a large group for a quick one, you’ll find yourselves never leaving as mates disperse and get lost in different rooms. But you might have a good night along the way.