Nine of the most festive spaces to see you through the season
Après If a more festive scene than a snowy mountainside exists, lead the way. Until then, we’ll be busy tucking into cheese fondue, sipping hot chocolate and tapping our feet to Christmas tunes while overlooking Ski Dubai through the huge window at the far side of this ski-themed bar and restaurant. The first one to yodel suffers our sternest glare. Open Sun-Wed 11.30am-11.45pm, Thu-Sat 11.30am-12.45am. Mall of the Emirates (04 341 2575).
Copper Dog If you are yet to visit this tartan-drenched Scottish import, then the Christmas build-up could be the ideal time to try it. A carbon copy of one of the Highlands’ most famous restaurants, this cosy tavern is at its best over the festive period. Whether or not you’re an expat from the UK’s northernmost country, you’ll struggle to find a bonnier bar at this time of year. Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai, Jumeirah Beach, JBR (04 559 5355).
Fibber Magee’s For a split-second after entering this long-standing Irish pub at Christmas last year, we thought staff had carried out a daring midnight raid at Ski Dubai and made off with gallons of snow to scatter the length and breadth of the floor. As it turns out, the “snow” was made up of tiny polystyrene balls, creating a wonderful Christmassy feel. This creative touch is back again this year, along with all the usual craic at one of the city’s most laid-back and popular spots. Open daily 8am-2am. Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
Lucky Voice With a festive ladies’ night on Tuesday December 12, offering unlimited drinks from 8pm until 1am and 50 percent of food, a “Boxing Day sale” on food and drinks and the wonderfully titled Carol-oke Wednesdays, this kitsch bar in Barsha Heights has held nothing back ahead of the festive season. A perfect place to pitch up for your office Christmas party. Open daily 4pm-3am. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (800 58259).
McGettigan’s There ain’t no Christmas like an Irish Christmas – in Dubai, at least. The JLT branch of this expat festive favourite has once again pulled out all the stops to make its outdoor area feel like a little slice of Lapland, with a giant Christmas tree and fairy lights on palm trees to go along with its trademark red décor. It joins World Trade Centre and the Madinat Jumeirah branches in hosting weekly festive fun, including live entertainment, ladies’ nights and Christmas Day lunches. Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J, JLT (04 378 0800); Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 447 0219).
Publique If you squint your eyes and pretend the flames licking upwards from the LED log fires are real, it’s not too hard to imagine this French Alpine ski lodge-themed bar sits at the base of a snow-covered summit – especially if you grab a seat near the gondola DJ booth and order yourself a big, warm, pot of melty fondue. Open daily noon-2am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8550).
Reform Social & Grill A home away from home for many of the city’s western expats, this British bar’s green outdoor area is the perfect spot for a liberal scattering of fairy lights. If Christmas makes you want to lock the doors, crank up the A/C and pretend you are somewhere closer to the North Pole, the indoor area has you covered, too. Open daily 8am-midnight. The Lakes (04 454 2638).
The Eloquent Elephant Elephants, either eloquent or otherwise, are rarely associated with Christmas. For a start, the idea of Rudolph the Red-Trunked Elephant is simply terrifying. But we recommend this elephant as a great spot for festive drinks and a Christmas meal that is as beautiful as it is tasty. This spot didn’t win this year’s Time Out Dubai Best Pub Food award for nothing. Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat 11am-3am, Business Bay, Dubai (04 438 3100).
The Irish Village Dubai’s reigning heavyweight champion of all things festive will once again defend its title with an arsenal that includes a monster tree-lighting ceremony, beautiful choir and enough festive food to have you snoring well before the sun goes down. Don’t miss it. Open Sun-Thu 11am-1am; Fri-Sat 11am-2am. Garhoud (04 239 5000).