Barrels True to its name, this pub has barrels for tables. The surfaces may be polished, the staff may be buzzing around with effusive smiles on their faces and there may be a few too many flat-screen TVs, but as the dedicated expat crowd indicates, there’s still a distinct whiff of old-school pub about the place. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 359 8888).
Crown & Lion Stumble into this pub and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped right back to the UK. With heavy wooden bar stools, stone flooring and exposed brickwork this is a welcome antithesis to the more swanky, minimalist spots around the city. Byblos Hotel, TECOM (04 448 8000).
Fibber Magee’s Nestled behind the Crowne Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road, this pub is (in our opinion) the closest you’re likely to find to an unpretentious British drinkery in Dubai. Cluttered with random paraphernalia and the sort of nooks and crannies you’d expect in an old-fashioned pub, the main thing that we like about this venue is its unquestionable sense of character. Behind the Crowne Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
George & Dragon Located in one of the oldest hotels in Bur Dubai, The George & Dragon, as the name implies, is an unashamedly unpretentious British-style pub. The obligatory darts boards, pool tables are all present, along with the required number of seasoned expat locals to add colour to proceedings. Ambassador Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 393 9444).
Long’s Bar This spot (which is named after the length of its bar) is the city’s traditional take on an American bar. Yes, admittedly the middle-aged locals are more likely to be British, but for a back to basics flavour to your drinking experience and an egalitarian sense of bonhomie, this uncomplicated venue is a good bet. Towers Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 312 2202).
Nell Gwynn With a faintly medieval whiff, this Welsh-themed pub takes traditional to an entirely different level. The presence of a decent house band and a smattering of flat-screen TVs may disappoint drinkers from the dark ages, but to us it explains why the place is so consistently popular on a Friday night. Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 448 8222).
Nelson’s Named after the iconic British Admiral, Nelson’s is the Media Rotana’s stab at a British local. Admittedly it has gone a little over the top with the oak-style panelling but this watering hole’s decent daily deals mean it is a popular destination for the after work crowd. Media Rotana, TECOM (04 435 0000).
Sherlock Holmes In terms of atmosphere, this place fits somewhere between a traditional pub, a hotel bar and afternoon tea in your granny’s sitting room. With chintzy wallpaper, liberal use of dark green leather and random trinkets related the Arthur Conan-Doyle character-theme, it does feel a little antiquated but it also feels a bit bonkers in places, which is why we love it. Arabian Courtyard & Spa, Bur Dubai (04 351 9111).
The Pub As the name might suggest, this is not exactly somewhere to take someone for an evening of romance and sophistication – but that’s missing the point. This is a no-nonsense pub in every sense, which is why we think the name sums it up pretty well. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (04 222 7171).