Belgian Café The Madinat Jumeirah location of the Belgian Beer Café is ideal for families and those looking to unwind after work over hearty food and cold hops. There are seating options on the sprawling terrace, with great views of the Souk Madinat waterways and Burj Al Arab, or indoors in one of the cosy corners. The impressive menu boasts a selection of traditional Belgian appetisers, mains and desserts. The bitterballen (Belgian beef croquettes), burgers, salads, sandwiches and pastas are all worth a try. On cooler days, the onion soup, served with cheese bread is a perfect dish if you need to warm up, while the delicious mussels are ideal for sharing. With helpful and friendly staff and a lively atmosphere, the Belgian Beer Café is a warm and welcoming venue. Open Sat-Wed noon-2am (last orders for food: 1am), Thu-Fri noon-3am (last orders for food: 2am). Souk MadinatJumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.belgianbeercafejumeirah.com (04 447 0227). Other locations: Dubai Festival City (04 701 2222), Grand Millennium, TECOM (04 429 9999).
Crown & Lion Reliably busy whenever there’s a Premier League football match on, this busy British-themed pub attracts a predominantly male crowd. It’s hard to argue with the gargantuan portions placed before you. Load up on classics such as boulder-sized home-made pies next to mountains of mashed potato, crisp battered fish atop a collapsed Jenga-esque rubble of chips and cheese toasties the size of small cars. The venue manages to remain laidback and fun – and if you’re in the neighbourhood, hungry, and fancy watching a match, it’s the best option you’ve got. Open daily 11am-3am (last orders for food: midnight). Byblos Hotel Dubai, TECOM (04 448 8000).
Fibber Magee's, Sheikh Zayed Road In its long and colourful history on the Dubai culinary scene, nobody has ever gone to Fibber’s looking for fine dining and a subtly-flavoured amuse-bouche. This is a venue that proudly serves up proper pub grub such as fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, pies and burgers. That said, the enormous menu even stretches to quinoa salad and a passion fruit brûlée, but you’re best of sticking to the staples. Portions are huge, especially with the steak and mushroom pie, which features chunky lumps of meat in a rich gravy under a puff pastry topping. The cheeseburger, meanwhile, puts its rivals around the city to shame through its size. While Fibber Magee’s might not be the most stylish destination in town, if you’re coming for the football, quiz night or just drinks, you shouldn’t feel the need to eat anywhere else. Open daily 8am-2am. Behind Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.fibbersdubai.com (04 332 3100).
D&A Set in the fine surroundings of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, D&A is a movable feast, depending on your mood. A lovely, intimate restaurant sits on one side, with an outdoor terrace should you feel an al fresco urge and fancy bonus views of the Burj Al Arab. On the other, there’s a terrific bar with multiple screens playing sport and proper pub-style tables to relax at. Whichever you opt for, service is uniformly excellent, while the extensive and interesting menu echoes the surroundings’ sense of this being a place to make of what you will. Open daily noon-1am (food served noon-11.30pm). Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 366 5866). Business lunch: Dhs95 per person (two courses), Dhs125 per person (three courses), Sun-Thu noon-3pm.
McGettigan’s McGettigan’s is an Irish bar that will remind you why Irish bars are so popular in the first place. From the dark wood interiors, exposed bookshelves and cosy log corners, the pub has a homely, welcoming feeling. Customers can perch themselves on a high stool at the counter and watch the latest sports action or gather around a table and take in the daily live entertainment. The great thing about this Irish bar is that on top of the lively atmosphere, you have a rather impressive range of pub grub dishes. Choose from tasty, filling pie dishes, classic choices such as fish and chips or a traditional all-day Irish breakfast. The food is fuss-free, appetising and you get generous portions for your money. On top of that, with such efficient service, it’s hard to fault this place. Open daily noon-3am (last orders for food: 2.40am). BonningtonJumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J, JLT, www.mcgettigans.com (04 356 056). Other location: McGettigan’s DWTC, Building 8, beside Trade Centre Arena (800 6247).
Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes Club The list of those who have tried and failed to launch “a classic British experience” on these shores and many others is long and storied. Reform Social & Grill is not on that list. A Marylebone gastro pub planted in The Lakes, it has pretty much everything you’re after from a British pub, from the spot-on decor to the laidback vibe, to the occasional themed night. The food, meanwhile, is pub-grub plus VAT, starters like the lobster cocktail (executed in proper 1970s style, just like mum made it) leading in to excellent burgers and fish and chips. A terrifically welcoming place that’s equally good for a lunch with the kids or as a pub to while away an afternoon with your mates, Reform is a destination with no pretence and much to recommend it. Open daily 7pm-midnight. The Lakes, Emirates Hills, www.reformsocialgrill.ae (04 454 2638). Brunch: Dhs250 (with soft drinks), Dhs350 (with selected beverages), Dhs395 (with sparkling). Fri noon-4pm and 6pm-10pm.
Rodeo Drive With a large mechanical bull in the centre of the bar, Rodeo Drive certainly lives up to its name. Ping pong tables, foosball and other assorted Americana such as flashing Harley Davidson signs continue the theme throughout. Seating is available at the bar, on high-top tyre-shaped tables or in large booths for bigger groups. The menu consists of classic bar grub, with portion sizes given names such as ‘Lone Ranger’ and ‘The Stand Off’. Expect to find plenty of carb-heavy dishes that are more suited to comfort eaters rather than those watching their diet. Burgers, pizzas, chicken wings, grilled sandwiches and meatloaf can all be found, while those with a sweet-tooth can end their meals with desserts such as New York cheesecake or apple pie with ice cream. Open daily 6pm-3am (last orders for food: 2.45am). Next to Radisson Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 386 9617).
The Irish Village The Irish Village is one of Dubai’s larger Irish venues with a spacious outdoor terrace. Inside, the bar is slightly more traditional with dark wooden furnishings and old-fashioned glass partitions. The walls and shelves are adorned with antiques and quirky Irish memorabilia. Visitors can watch the latest sports coverage or listen to live entertainment. When it comes to the food, the menu has enough dishes to satisfy the average pub-goer. There is a range of traditional dishes such as Irish stew, a daily roast of the day and fish and chips as well as wraps and panini melts. It’s a great spot for a casual drink with friends. Open Sat-Wed 11am-1am, Thu-Fri 11am-2am (last orders for food: 10pm). Aviation Club, Garhoud, www.theirishvillage.com (04 239 5000).
The Dubliners The Dubliners looks and feels like a standard Irish pub that you may come across in the Irish capital, from the old-fashioned ornaments and quirky paintings on the walls to the various vintage artefacts lining its shelves. The venue feels homely and welcoming, and from the moment you walk in, the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The menu is straight forward and simple, with no room for flash. What you see is what you get here, and the traditional Irish breakfast is a favourite. Other options include a smoked salmon salad or steak sandwich served on home-made brown bread, which is a little lighter and healthier for pub grub. Open Sat-Thu noon-2.45am, Fri 11am-2.45am (last orders for food: 11.45pm). Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud, www.dubliners-dubai.com (04 702 2508).
The Underground Pub This Habtoor Grand hotspot has an authentic British pub atmosphere with food, drink and entertainment to match. Inside, you’ll find oversized booths that are ideal seating for watching a game. If you’re visiting with a group of friends, you can also play darts or pool. With a good pub ambience and live music, it tends to get quite busy at the weekends and during major sporting events. During cooler times, there’s a patio towards the entrance, which is a popular hangout for a quick bite to eat. The menu features a selectionof traditional items such as fish and chips, pies, curries and a choice of salads for those preferring something light. With plenty of options on the menu, the rack of lamb is particularly satisfying. The tender meat is succulent and comes with a rich gravy and a generous helping of mashed potatoes. Staff come around regularly to make sure you’re taken care of while not making you feel rushed. Overall, it’s a lively spot and fairly priced for the British pub grub you receive. Open daily 12.30pm-3am (last orders for food: 12.30am). Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Al Sufouh (04 408 4221).