The Underground Pub Yep, that’s right, a pub themed on the London Underground. Once you recover from the tourist-baiting charm of being served hops from out of a fake train carriage, you’ll find the Underground to be a pretty friendly spot, with regulars in tow for both the pub quiz – and the sport. In fact, despite the TfL theme, footie is what transports this place along on a daily basis. Perpetually busy and strategically located in the heart of ‘New Dubai’, The Underground has come up as one of the liveliest, spirited places to catch the match. Open daily 12.30pm-3am. The Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 408 4257).
Loca Is it a Mexican restaurant, sports bar, or live music pub? It’s a question many have argued about over Loca’s longrunning tenure – but one thing we can all agree on is it’s this coastside stalwart’s ability to tick so many boxes which has kept it so popular for so long. Breathing soul, and as popular as ever all these years on. Open daily Noon-2am, Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Umm Suqeim, www.dxbmarine.com (04 346 1111).
McGettigan’s DWTC Dubai’s second branch of this ever-booming Irish pub is an all-round hit. Offering a relaxed but atmospheric pub vibe, the welcoming, jovial feel ensure this spot is busy the week round – especially during weekends, even when the nearby offices are empty. For bar band fans, it’s a top spot to hear quality acoustic covers from some of the city’s best singers and players, and on matchdays it’s a great place to watch live sport. With a real community feel and quirky promotions – check social media for one-offs, such as football themed freebies depending on who scores – this is hands down one of the best pubs in the city. Open Sat-Thu noon-2am; Fri 2pm-2am. Next to Dubai World Trade Centre Arena, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.mcgettigans.com (04 378 0800).
Barasti We really don’t need to recommend Barasti to anyone, but if by some bizarre fluke you have never been to what must be Dubai’s best known beach bar, there’s probably nowhere better to start. Put simply, Barasti is the bar that keeps on giving – whatever you’re looking for, and whatever the hour of the day. An ideal Barasti day: A chilled breakfast on the shaded terrace, followed by a laze on the beach before catching the match on the big screen. Then enjoy some live music on the terrace, load up on Aussie-ish BBQ and skip down to the sand to dance away to the DJ until wee hours. Both quintessential Dubai, and unlike anything else the city has to offer. Open Sun-Wed 11am-1.30am; Thu-Fri 11am-3am; Sat 11am-1.30am. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Umm Suqeim, www.barastibeach.com (04 399 3333).
Bidi Bondi Bidi Bondi might be the very antithesis of the Palm. A manmade paradise of golden beaches, luxury villas, castles and five-star resorts, it’s the last place you’d expect to find an Aussie pub/bar so chilled you feel overdressed in a collar. To the non-antipodean, much of the charm is the location. Because the bar is not based inside a hotel – no walking across a crystal-lined lobby to reach the faux-dive pub – but in the bottom of an apartment block, Bidi’s possesses an unreplicable community feel, like stumbling into a student union bar without being a member of the university. Like an ‘old man’s pub’ for young men (and women). Open Sat-Wed 10ammidnight; Thu-Fri 10am-1am. Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).
Crown & Lion This large, booming pub is seemingly always busy with thirsty TECOM types. For British expats, it’s like you never left old Blightly – table service, indoor smoking and sprited covers band aside, that is. This Byblos bar fits snugly into the UK pub genre, offering a solid approximation of hearty pub grub, a decent range of draft hops, live sports and a pool table. A lot more grit and soul than many over faux-European joints – for a homesick soul, this is by no means a bad spot to enjoy a quiet one. Open daily 11am-3am. Byblos Hotel, Al Barsha Tecom, web address (04 488 0000).
Harvester’s Pub One of the best approximations of a traditional British watering hole in the land, Harvester’s brings a welcome hand of experience to the business of being a pub, and as such manages the unmanageable without trying very hard. Sticking to the simple formula of wooden furnishings, live sports and draft hops, Harvester’s has been a weary expats refuges for years. Evidence? It’s the home to the Manchester United Supporters Club, who regularly turn out en force on match days. Open daily noon-2am. Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.crowneplaza.com (800 276 963).
Qube The key to Qube is in the name – there’s a huge, four-sided screen at the centre. An upmarket sports bar with a clear focus on shaking off all those smelly man-bar clichés, itchy or conversationally stunted fans can relieve the half-time lull on the darts boards, pool tables and a bizarre game called ‘shuffle’. Qube’s classy but clinical atmosphere is unlikely to be the most spirited spot to watch the game, but it’s the perfect place to smuggle a non-sports fan by stealth. Open Sun-Wed noon-2am; Fri-Sat noon-3am. The Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba, www.meydanhotels.com (04 381 3780).
The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill A cheap and cheery sports bar, decorated with tacky but fun memorabilia and with a total of 18 screens, The Huddle always has a pleasant buzz but is rarely so rammed you won’t find a seat. With ever-chirpy staff keeping you well watered, it’s the kind of relaxed sports bar where you might go for a game, and end up hanging about to see who’s playing next. Open daily noon-3am. Citymax Hotels Al Barsha, Barsha, www.citymaxhotels.com (04 409 8018).
Time Café Time Café is a sports lovers’ paradise; a huge, cavernous space lined with loud memorabilia and boasting space for 350 punters. Yet with 57 individual screens there will never be more than five other people jostling for your view. And if the game is rubbish there are rows of pool tables to start your own contest. A huge club-like sports bar which packs bags of attitude. Open daily noon-3am. Ramee Royal Hotel, Karama (04 334 4088).