The Irish Village
Charming, well-oiled watering hole that’s part of the fabric of Dubai
Institution is a word bandied about much too liberally in a city as youthful and sprightly as Dubai, but having been in business for more than 20 years, The Irish Village has earned the right to be recognised as one.
With an exterior decorated to look like, well, an old-fashioned Irish village (right down to the post office frontage) and interiors that wouldn’t look out of place in any European neighbourhood pub, this is almost the real deal. (Yes, there are even toasties and bowls of chopped sausages on the menu.) Throughout the cooler months of the year, The IV’s sprawling garden fills up with guests, who stretch out (like the pub’s resident cats) in the sunshine.
Throughout the year, though, it’s not just the great-value drinks and convivial vibe at the benches that keep the crowds flocking in. Live music from international acts is a regular fixture at the pub, which has space on its side, as are annual events such as St. Patrick’s Day and HopFest, and the always over-subscribed annual Christmas Tree-Lighting.
In short, there is something for everyone at this long-standing favourite on Dubai’s watering hole scene.
Here’s to another 20 years, and a great many more.
Open daily 11am-1am. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
Intimate, frequently lively Irish pub that just gets better with age
In a city filled with the new, the shiny and the absolutely sprawling, there is, quite simply, nowhere else like Fibber Magee’s.
Established back in the ’90s, Fibbers is a relative oldie on Dubai’s pub scene, but has a snug, weathered authenticity that could belong to a bar at least a hundred years older.
Its tiny size certainly helps, and it doesn’t take many for this place to get packed out – which it frequently does, particularly on Friday nights, but not much less so during the week, when nearby office workers pile in for a pint and a plate of cheese on toast (it’s that Irish).
Yes, there’s a local pub feel, an army of regulars and some brilliant deals from morning until midnight throughout the week, but one of Fibber’s greatest attractions is the Irish folk music jam, held roughly every first Saturday of the month.
On these days, between 2.30pm and 6.30pm, pair your pub lunch with brilliant live entertainment from fiddlers, flautists and more, for a truly transporting afternoon. There really is nothing else quite like it in town.
Open daily 8am-3am. Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
Mcgettigan’s Souk Madinat Jumeirah
The popular Irish bar brand’s swishest branch in the city
Since launching its first outlet in Jumeirah Lakes Towers back in 2010, McGettigan’s has become a force to be reckoned with on the city’s pub scene. And this branch, in one of Dubai’s pre-eminent tourist hubs, has only served to further cement its status as one of the best Irish bar brands in town.
As you might expect, the offering here is geared slightly more towards visitors than JLT (more resident-orientated) and DWTC (a beacon for any exhausted suits trudging out of nearby conferences). Its food menu is more elevated and international than the fry-ups and fish and chips that earned it such a reputation for home comforts, but it’s every bit as good. Fans of the black stuff are also in good hands.
It also separates itself from its siblings with its brilliant outdoor terrace, with tables lining the Madinat’s waterways and affording views of that other tourist honeypot, the Burj Al Arab (you may or may not have heard of it, kind of a big deal…).
Whenever the weather begins to take a definitive turn for the hospitable, head down and bag a table. After all, you don’t need to be a tourist to relax like one.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat 9am-3am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 447 0219).
Dubai’s original branch of the popular European watering hole, this one has an absolutely superb terrace overlooking the Creek, with excellent views of the city’s impressive skyline.
Open daily noon-2.30am. Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
A trendy, urban, modern pub showing a wide range of sport and serving up some seriously mean pub bites. A great spot for cooling off during summer.
Open daily 4pm-2am. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 429 8978).
From the wooden floorboards to the antlers hanging from the ceiling, everything about this place transports rural Scotland to Dubai.
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-2am; Fri-Sat 10am-2am. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (04 559 5355).
Smart, slick and absolutely enormous gastropub in JBR that packs out on weekends. This place also serves sausage by the metre – what’s not to love?
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am; Thu-Fri noon-3am. Amwaj Rotana, The Walk, JBR (04 428 3084).
Reform Social & Grill
Home to some seriously superb scran (it won our Best Pub Food and Best Breakfast gongs at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2018), this family-friendly spot is never short of a crowd. Head down for classic Brit gastro vibes.
Open daily 8am-1am. The Lakes, Emirates Living (04 454 2638).
A long-standing (you guessed it) Irish bar, split into two areas – the smaller, more rustic original bar and bigger, snazzier new room with a more contemporary feel.
Open daily 8am-3am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2455).
The Ship’s Wheel
After the original closed in 2017, we were worried this reincarnation wouldn’t work. We needn’t have been – this reconstruction of the decades-old Jebel Ali institution is as sensitive as they come.
Open daily 9am-2am. Jebel Ali Recreation Club, Jebel Ali Village (04 459 5100).