From classic pubs to historic hideouts, check out these treasures
From classic pubs to historic hideouts, we explore treasures from the older parts of town
Barrels Pub There’s an ever-so-slight hint of the wild west at one of Majestic Hotel Tower’s many decent bars, thanks to the various tables made from, you guessed it, barrels. Wooden barrels aside, Barrels Pub looks pretty much like your average sports bar. It’s ideal for a quiet drink or two, and like many places around town, match days and weekends see the place getting pretty packed. It’s exactly what you would expect and, even better, what you’d hope for from a sports bar, especially with some competitively priced beverages. Open daily 12.30pm-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai (04 359 8888).
Boracay This place takes its name from the Filipino island famed for its salt-white beaches. This place is huge, it’s cavernous, and it’s extremely trendy. Expect live music of some sort almost every night of the week, and a lively atmosphere to go with it. The later it gets, the louder it gets, and the more you can expect to jostle your way around the bar. But it’s fun, friendly, and it’s well worth a visit, especially on a Friday. Open daily 7pm-3am. Asiana Hotel, Deira (04 238 7777).
Chelsea Arms A legendary Old Dubai haunt, we couldn’t possibly omit the Chelsea Arms from this list, principally because it’s one of the oldest pubs around. Not just in Old Dubai, but in all of Dubai, having opened back in 1978. It has been revamped since it first threw open its doors, but it’s still on the old-fashioned (read slightly-dated-but-not-in-a-bad-way) side. This chilled-out watering hole in Deira should be on your to-visit list – even if you’re only paying your respects to a piece of the city’s nightlife history. Open daily noon-2am. Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Baniyas Road, Deira (04 207 1721).
Club Se7en It’s super cheesy, it’s super fun, and it’s super retro. What’s not to love from this neon, black light-soaked Bur Dubai venue? The crowd are suitably enthusiastic, and you’re sure to see them throwing some pretty epic shapes on the dancefloor on any given night of the week. Leave your sensibility at the door of this nightclub, this is a fun-loving, light-hearted spot for party people – and it all goes a long way towards making this an excellent place for a lively night out. Open daily 7.30pm-3am. Park Regis Kris Kin, Bur Dubai (04 377 1210).
Freddy’s Restrocafé and Bowling Freddy’s Restrocafé and Bowling, on the Sharjah border, is somewhat of a scarcity in Dubai, being that it’s a licensed bowling alley. So if you’re after knocking down some pins – accompanied by a drink – then you’ll be happy. It has the appearance of a cracking sports bar, but the tunes on display can be pretty erratic, so don’t blame us if you end up listening to Despacito 14 times in a row while hurling a ball down the lanes with increasing speed. Open daily noon-3am. Fortune Plaza Hotel, Ghusais (04 370 8999).
George & Dragon If you can find a place that serves pints of hops for Dhs30 on a regular basis, then it’s worth adding it to your go-to list. At the George & Dragon you won’t just find extremely affordable beverages, but you’ll also find pool tables, dart boards and a cosy ambience – just a few of the reasons why we love this old British pub. It’s been around for years on the Bur Dubai scene, and its throwback monthly Dubai Soul Night serves up a bunch of northern soul, Motown, ’60s and ’70s soul, Philly and classic disco – so get on up. Open daily noon-4am. Ambassador Hotel, Al Falah Street, Bur Dubai (04 393 9444).
La Fabrique La Fabrique is one of the many excellent bars you can find in the bustling, multicultural hub of Deira. If you’re not a fan of smoky sports bars it might not be top of your list, but if you’re a big fan of big screens, pool tables and happy hours you might just have found a new regular haunt. Expect a good range of hops and a few treats for the real aficionados, while you’ll also find the usual range of grape and mixed beverages, too. Open daily noon-1am. Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre Hotel, Deira (04 603 8201).
Miss Wang Once you’ve found Miss Wang, hidden away in the Majestic Hotel Tower in Bur Dubai, you’ll be happy you made the journey. This is a laid-back yet fun-loving nightlife spot. Low lighting and industrial interiors with exposed brickwork and graffitied walls lend a cool vibe – added to by the slick and friendly staff who don’t miss a beat. There’s stage for live music plus a free karaoke room too if you’ve dined (we recommend digging into the Thai flatbread – basically a chicken and peanut sauce-smothered mini pizza). With an upbeat vibe every day of the week, you can really let your hair down long into the night at this one. Open daily 6pm-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 501 2567).
QD’s QD’s is a stunning waterside venue that deserves to be on everyone’s must-see list, mainly because of its Creek views. It’s also famous for shisha. QD’s doesn’t have to try too hard by shoehorning in guest international DJs or big name bands, so it doesn’t. It’s just chill, and the sunset, resident DJ and guitarist speak volumes. Chuck in a crowd who have made the effort to make the trip to the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s sedate Creekside location, and there’s reason enough to put it on your to-do list. Open daily 5pm-2am. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
Rock Bottom Café Its Barsha Heights younger sibling might have overtaken it for popularity, but Rock Bottom Café (note, the “Café” to distinguish it) is a Dubai institution. It’s one that everyone who lives in, near, or just enjoys spending time in Old Dubai has to visit at least once. It prides itself on American grub, and gets properly busy when the sun goes down. Open daily noon-4pm, 7pm-3am. Regent Hotel, opposite BurJuman (04 396 3888).
Room 108 Cigar Lounge This brand-new malt beverage and cigar spot has just opened up opposite Miss Wang in the Majestic Hotel Tower in Bur Dubai. So after you’ve had your fill of Asian food and karaoke, you can always stop off here. It’s small, but don’t let that fool you, this place is cool, suave, sophisticated, and super affordable. It has multiple humidors with high quality rolls, décor like an old-time, classy London gentleman’s club, and videos of authentic Cuban cigar manufacturing plants. It’s easy to lose track of time here. Open daily noon-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai (04 359 8888).
Sherlock Holmes Of all the themed bars in Dubai (Alpine, Hawaiian, Wild Western et al), surely a Victorian detective-themed bar is going to be up there? Sherlock Holmes has the added benefit of being extremely pocket-friendly, too. Drinks are available for Dhs20 during happy hour, which makes this place an ideal spot to hang out in after a mosey around Old Dubai. Open daily 9am-2pm, 6pm-1am. Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, Al Fahidi Street (04 351 9111).
Stryker Sports Bar We won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of this sports bar, which can be found on the outskirts of Bur Dubai. It won’t pull up trees for its style, design or concept, but it’s really cheap, and that is half the appeal as far as we’re concerned. Virtually everything on the menu here is Dhs30 or less – including hops, Scottish short drinks, Russian beverages and juniper-based beverages. Drinks start from Dhs25, and a happy hour lasts a whopping nine-and-a-half hours. Open daily noon-3am; happy hour daily noon-9.30pm. Palm Beach Hotel, Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Mankhool (04 393 1999).
The Dubliner’s This is one of the city’s classic Irish pub-slash-sports bars. It’s fun, loud and full of great craic. If you’re here for the game, this Garhoud pub has long since been adopted by Celtic supporters as their home away from home. Grab some sharing plates with your mates and kick back to watch the big match – arrive early though since it’s usually pretty packed when there’s a game on. Open noon-2am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2455).
The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill It’s recently had a renovation, so compared to its Al Barsha sibling, this branch of The Huddle gives off some pretty spacious, light and airy vibes. On a Thursday night you’ll find its house band belting out some impressive covers, and live sport strewn across its many screens to keep you occupied during matches. Its twice-daily happy hour will keep you in until the wee hours, in what is a stand-out, long-serving pub of the old Dubai nightlife scene. Open Sun-Sat noon-3am. Citymax Hotel, corner of Mankhool Street and Kuwait Street, Bur Dubai (04 407 8000).
The Irish Village Is it even remotely possible that we wouldn’t include Time Out Dubai’s current Pub of the Year on this list? The Irish Village is a Dubai institution – and although that word gets bandied around a lot, in this context it truly, truly is. A pint here will set you back around Dhs36, which is positively bargainous compared to a lot of places around town. The huge garden is second to none, and its invariably buzzing atmosphere is further enhanced by the almost-constant line-up of brilliant live music going on. The food (especially the toasties) is pretty good, too. What more do you need? Open Sat-Wed 11am-1am; Thu-Fri 11am-2am. Garhoud (04 282 4750).
The Viceroy We consider this to be one of the most upscale pubs in the old end of town. By that, we mean cosy wooden panelling, leather seats, exposed brick and chalk boards – classic. There are old-fashioned touches to the décor, but not so much that things become in danger of being clichéd. It’s reminiscent of the kind of place you’d find tucked down a cobbled lane in an English country village – with prices to match. Grape starts from Dhs30 a glass, while specials on hops come in at Dhs32. Open daily noon-2am. Four Points by Sheraton, Bur Dubai (04 397 7444).
Warehouse It may be best known for its lively Friday brunches (which serve up some cracking dishes), but there’s more reason to visit this established Garhoud haunt than the urge to start the weekend dancing on the tables. Warehouse has long been a popular spot in the city’s cooler months, thanks to its comfortable, sizeable drinks garden. Inside, huge bowls of monkey nuts dominate the tables dotted around the room, and on busy nights expect to feel the crunch of discarded shells underfoot. That’s kind of why we love it, along with its huge range of hops, which is among the most extensive in the city. Open daily noon-3am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 550 9166).
Yesterday Restaurant and Pub This easy-going pub promises to remind you of the good old days back in the UK. And it’s hard not to feel nostalgic, when it leaves modernity behind and goes big on tunes from the ’80s and ’90s. Gather some friends and settle in for an afternoon. Throw a few darts around (at the board, obviously), shoot some pool, catch the match and kick back with a pint. Open daily noon-3am. Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai, Bur Dubai (04 501 3115).