The 2019 edition of the Rugby World Cup, which is being held in Japan, is kicking off on Friday September 20 – and that means bars and pubs across the city are gearing themselves up for six glorious weeks of rugby fans cheering on their teams until Saturday November 2.
The competition is set to be fierce, with 20 teams going up against each other across 48 matches for the William Webb Ellis Cup.
The tournament kicks off with Japan versus Russia while reigning champions, New Zealand, who are vying for their fourth win, are set to compete against South Africa on Saturday September 21 (that’s going to be a huge one). So in honour of all things rugger, we bring you top places to watch all the action unfold and all the best deals across the city to tackle.
What better place to watch a spot of rugger than at a brand-new sports bar? The popular beach club recently underwent a huge revamp and with it came this swish new spot. It’s on the quiet side, so you’re sure to grab a spot (making it appealing) and whatever team you support you’ll sure to be able to cheer them on here. There’s also a pool table, foosball and pinball to keep you amused during half time.
Open daily noon-midnight. Habtoor Grand Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, Dubai Marina (058 693 5778).
This beach bar’s giant screen always gives the rugger priority, thankfully. There are also daily drinks deals including the new ‘Drinks Exchange’ concept, which sees prices go all over the shop when Wednesdays come rolling around. Prices fluctuate based entirely on demand – the more popular a drink is, the more expensive it will become, and the less popular (you can see where we’re going with this) the cheaper it becomes.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-1.30am, Thu-Fri 10am-3am, Sat 9am-1.30am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 318 1313).
SPORTS BAR OF THE YEAR!
What’s not to enjoy when you can catch a match with a pint for Dhs21? This hangout in Bur Dubai won Best Sports Bar at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2019 and it has more than just the cheap hops string to its bow. There are a dozen screens lining the walls beaming out the match, free pool during happy hour and there’s even a PlayStation that comes complete with its own private (and enormous) screen.
Open daily noon-3am. Majestic City Retreat Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 501 2533).
Torn between brunching and cheering on your team during the weekend matches? Well, worry not as Belgian Café in Souk Madinat Jumeirah is launching a special rugby brunch. Enjoy all the scrum along with three hours of Belgian bites and house beverages starting from Dhs195 – dates and timings vary depending on the games.
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am, Thu-Fri noon-3am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 447 0227).
BFF Gastro Bar & Lounge
With an intriguing menu of 21 hops-based mixed drinks and plenty of ways to amuse yourself during half time (think pool tables, dart boards and table football), rugby fans will be well taken care of here. And let’s not forget the daily 15-hour happy hour running from noon to 3am, with select hops for either Dhs25 or Dhs27 and a deal of five drinks and main course for Dhs169.
Open daily noon-3am. Jebel Ali Village, Jebel Ali (052 177 7541).
This popular burger joint is screening the Rugby World Cup at two of its branches – InterContinental Dubai Festival City and Rixos Premium Dubai in JBR. During all the games, rugger fans can enjoy a buy one, get one free deal on select beverages and while you’re there it’d rude not to try one of its famed burgers (our pick is the All American).
Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 399 9076) and InterContinental Dubai Festival City (04 288 3040).
If you’re looking for a laid-back sports bar, with some decent grub and a strong happy hour, you can’t go far wrong here. This antipodean spot in Business Bay is one of our favourite sports bars and has a load of screens and really livens up during the big games. With a daily happy hour from 4pm until 7pm you can get discounted hops, grape and mixed drinks from Dhs30 and the food menu isn’t bank-breaking either.
Open daily 4pm-2am. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
This British watering hole will remind you of your local back home, with dim lighting, wooden furnishings, dark leather and cosy booths. What’s more, during all the games for the Rugby World Cup 2019, rugger fans can get a whopping 50 percent off all food and drinks.
Open daily noon-2am. Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 316 9749).
Crown & Lion
An old-school English pub that’s just the most typical pub’s pub. It does the basics well, with reasonably priced drinks, bar sports and a bucket load of screens dotted about showing the rugby, as well as a darts board and pool table for anyone looking to bring the competition to reality. The venue is laid-back and it’s reliably busy whenever there’s a match on making it a top place to watch.
Open daily 11am-3am. Byblos Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 448 8000).
Amid the dozens of newer openings, stands this long-standing institution. This British-inspired sports-bar-meets-gastropub has been open since 1997 and continues to serve up a broad array of beverages and offers to accompany its many TV screens showing all the latest sporting action. Catch all the rugby along with views of the Burj Al Arab, a lively atmosphere and a daily happy hour featuring one or two premium beverages you’re unlikely to find at other happy hours in the city.
Open daily 9am-2am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 432 3232).
Fibbers is, rightly, an absolute institution in Dubai. This Irish pub also serves proper pub grub at all hours of the day but we love the magnificent breakfasts. From full Irish fry-ups to toasties, eggs and omelettes, there’s plenty to satisfy your hunger during all the morning matches. Don’t miss the baps – choose from egg, bacon, sausage or all three, stuffed into a soft roll, all for just Dhs35. There’s also a daily happy hour from 4pm until 7pm with select hops starting at Dhs27. It’s a top spot to catch all the rugby action.
Open daily 8am- 2am. Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
garden on 8
This cracking sports bar in Dubai Media City has loads of screens to make you feel fully immersed in the rugby – and that includes the giant screen out on the spacious terrace. There’s also an excellent happy hour that offers up two-for-one on already reasonably priced drinks from 4pm until 8pm.
Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight, Thu-Sat noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
This Barsha Heights bar has plenty of screens lining its narrow walls, a couple of free-to-play pool tables and a daily buy-one-get-one-free happy hour from noon until 8pm. It was also highly commended in our Best Sports Bar category at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2019 so you know it’s a good’un.
Open daily noon-3am. Ramee Rose Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 450 0111).
Havana Social Club
Head to this Cuban bar on Bluewaters Dubai and you’ll get some special deals for the Rugby World Cup. While the matches are on you’ll get a bucket of hops forDhs170 and Dhs10 tacos.
Open daily 1pm-1am. Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai (04 526 9263).
ICON Bar & Lounge
Set across two floors in the neighbourhood’s Radisson Blu hotel, the upper portions of the pub are a popular (if particularly smoky) spot for catching sport. With a buy one, get one free deal on select drinks daily from 4pm until 7pm and a midweek lunch deal from noon to 3pm where Dhs59 will get you a main course and a drink it’s a top spot to catch the rugby. It will be opening early for the morning matches and will be serving up a top brekkie deal – get a breakfast dish like eggs Benedict and waffles with coffee, tea or juice for Dhs49.
Open daily noon-2am. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 366 9186).
Kickers Sports Bar
Kickers has been popular with residents in the area for years, boasting indoor and outdoor seating, huge screens to watch live sport and more. Sports fans are catered for first and foremost here and there’s a good happy hour deal that takes place daily from 3pm until 7pm and offers a 33 percent discount on selected food items and drinks.
Open Sun-Wed 1pm-2am, Thu-Sat noon-2am. Football Zone, Sports Village, Dubai Sports City (04 448 1001).
Le Petit Belge
All three branches of this popular Belgian restaurant and bar are known for its Belgian bites, brews, buzzing atmosphere and brilliant daily happy hour deals with 30 percent off practically every drink in the place. You can get draught beers from Dhs25 and short measures and glasses of grape from Dhs26 from 4pm until closing at the Business Bay branch, and from 4pm until 8pm at both the JLT and Motor City branches.
JLT: open daily noon-2am, cluster T (04 242 7794). Business Bay: open daily 4pm-2am, DoubleTree by Hilton (04 564 6538). Motor City: open Sun-Tue 4pm-1am, Wed 4pm-2am, Thu-Sat noon-2am, Park Inn by Radisson (04 874 7996).
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Both branches of this hugely popular bar will be screening the rugby action during opening hours. Bag yourself a cracking deal every Saturday and Sunday where you can tuck into a proper roast dinner and a drink to wash it all down with for Dhs99. There’s also a brilliant daily happy hour with two-for-one on house beverages from 4pm until 8pm, except on Saturday and Sunday when the happiness starts at 2pm.
Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 392 7120) and Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).
BARGAIN ROAST DINNER!
English pub, Welsh name. Pick your allegiance, and head on in. It’s a proper old-school pub, in fact it’s so old-school it’s positively medieval looking, but it’s cracking fun. It has bar sports, lots of actual sport on the multiple high definition television screens and a properly homely vibe. Every Saturday and Sunday you can get a cracking roast for Dhs52 and during all live matches you can get a bucket of six select hops for Dhs136 – it’s perfect for the kick-off.
Open daily noon-2.45am. Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 448 8222).
This Belgian-themed bar in Arabian Ranches is more often than not packed to the rafters. During the cooler months the terrace also gets plenty of action when the patio doors swing open revealing the rolling green of the golf club beyond. It’s a perfect spot to relax and watch all the sporting action and what’s more during all matches, you can enjoy a barbecue starting from Dhs60.
Open Mon 7am-midnight, Tue-Sun 7am-2am. Arabian Ranches (04 450 1313).
This branch of the Irish pub is a stalwart of Sheikh Zayed Road’s bar scene and with pool tables and TVs, it’s ideal for those who like to play as they watch (and sip). Things here get pretty lively at kick-off and daily deals include happy hour from Sunday to Thursday will drinks starting from Dhs30 between 2pm and 7pm, the long lunch on Fridays and Saturdays where punters can get a signature dish and three house drinks between noon and 4pm for Dhs129. There’s also competitive sporting action on Sundays and Tuesdays, with free-to-enter pairs and singles knockout darts nights starting at 8pm. Rugby fans won’t be bored here, that’s for sure.
Open daily noon-2am. DWTC, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 378 0800).
Looking for a lively spot to catch all the rugby action? Irish pubs make cracking sports bars, and this JLT one is no different. The big space never fails to draw in the crowds, and with 30 different screens dotted around it’s hard to see why. Head here from Saturday to Thursday and you’ll be able to get drinks from Dhs30 from noon until 8pm, and until 9pm on Thursdays.
Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J, JLT (04 356 0470).
McGettigan’s Souk Madinat
The DWTC and Souk Madinat branches will be offering a free beverage to everyone wearing their countries rugby jersey during the matches, as well as extended happy hours to cover all the rugby games. The two branches are also offering one lucky rugby fan the chance to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan – including flights and accommodation. Just purchase three drinks over three matches to enter (and enter as many times as you want) and the winner will be chosen on Sunday October 20.
Sun-Wed noon-2am, Thu noon-3am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am. Umm Suqeim (04 447 0219),
Chances are the locals at this positively antipodean rugby bar will be cheering on anybody but the English during the Rugby World Cup. Allegiance notwithstanding, this is a top place to catch any match, especially rugby, thanks to its mass of screens, wall-to-wall rugby paraphernalia, cuisine of the tri-nations and cracking deals.
Open daily noon-2am. Souk Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888).
Nezesaussi Grill Dubai Marina
Nezesaussi Grill is gearing up for the rugby with its dedicated fan zone kitted out with big screens and bean bags. In addition to its regular menu, there are going to be special food combo deals and hops bucket and tower offers. Worried about going hungry during the morning matches? Fret not as there’s also a special breakfast menu to tuck into as well.
Open Sat-Wed 3pm-2am, Thu 3pm-4am, Fri 2pm-4am. Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 888 3444).
Offside, which recently replaced the much-loved Girders Garden, offers up what appears to be the complete sports bar experience. Of course, you’ll get a whole bunch of pub grub, but there’s also a whopping great, 200-inch screen dominating one side of the venue. There are also eight other big screens around the bar, showing pretty much every single bit of live sport going, including the Rugby World Cup 2019. You can also get drinks from Dhs26 to Dhs32 on a daily basis, firstly from 4pm until 9pm, and then again from midnight until 1am.
Open daily 4pm-3am. JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (04 814 5599).
Perry & Blackwelder’s
Enjoy a special weekend breakfast menu on game days and brekkie dishes include the all-day all-American breakfast and a limited-edition Webb Ellis “manwich” – a meaty breakfast sandwich packed full of sausages, bacon and shredded meat. Other deals included unlimited chicken wings for Dhs199, a bucket of six bottles of hops for Dhs135 or 12 bottles for Dhs250 and pitchers of hops and mixed drinks for Dhs99.
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am, Thu-Fri noon-3am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6197).
Reform Social & Grill
This family-friendly gastropub is always popular with the gang, and will be streaming all the games live, during which fans can get a bucket of five hops for Dhs110, while enjoying a two-one-deal on all burgers. It’s also not a bad spot for parents to enjoy the scrum while the kids tuck into an ice cream.
Open daily 8am-midnight, The Lakes, Emirates Living District (04 454 2638).
Located in the funky Zabeel House by Jumeirah hotel, Social Company will be airing all the rugby matches on a huge cinema-style screen and also has some top deals that are guaranteed to keep rugby fans well-fed and well-hydrated. Get unlimited chicken wings for Dhs89, bottles of select Irish hops for Dhs36, three pints of dark Irish hops for Dhs99, or a wagyu beef burger and a pint for Dhs89.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-midnight, Fri-Sat 10am-2am. Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens (04 519 1111).
There’s nothing quite like coming off the course after a masterful back nine and heading straight into the bar for a knees up, pint and a spot of rugger. With 16 screens dotted around the bar plus an extra-large three-metre screen showing live footage of sporting events from around the world, a sprawling terrace and a daily happy hour with reasonable discounts on selected beverages, this is a lovely little spot to watch the Rugby World Cup. Plus, there’s a daily Dhs89 burger and a pint deal.
Open daily 10am-12.30am. Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 417 9842).
Alongside its daily happy hour from 4pm until 8pm that sees select drinks coming in at Dhs29, this gastropub is running a load of other deals that take place on match days – get a bucket of five bottled hops for Dhs125, select juniper for Dhs35, two-for-one chicken wings, two-for-one breakfast muffins, and lastly, a deal that Saffers will appreciate – a bunny chow (curry served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread) and a South African hops for Dhs99.
Open daily 6pm-11.45pm. Trump International Golf Course, DAMAC Hills (04 245 3939).
The Duck Hook
This English-style gastropub at Dubai Hills Golf Club welcomes golfers and non-golfers alike and will also open from 6.30am on the days of morning matches. Catch all the rugby action with a midweek happy hour from 11.30am onwards, three nibbles for Dhs99 and a buy four, get one free deal on select hops with the chance to be entered into a draw to win a table for six for the final.
Open Sat-Wed noon-midnight, Thu-Fri noon-1am. Dubai Hills Golf Club, Dubai Hills Estate(04 432 3232).
The Dugout is a little sports cave tucked away in Bur Dubai. With dark interiors, multiple screens showing all manner of sports, pool tables and cracking drinks deals, this little cavern is ideal for settling in and watching the matches. There’s a daily happy hour, firstly from noon until 8pm, and then again from midnight until 3am, as well as a load of other drinks deals including buckets of select hops from Dhs99 and a one-litre pitcher of German hops for Dhs69. A low-key sports bar and top hops deals, what’s not to enjoy?
Open daily noon-3am. Grand Excelsior Hotel, Bur Dubai(04 355 2220).
The Eloquent Elephant
This feels like a bit of a classier take on your local bar, with salted popcorn to munch on to your heart’s content (no peanuts here). It’s a great place to watch the match, thanks to several large TV screens and excellent hearty, gastropub dishes. Rugby fans can enjoy the popular ‘Elephant Curry’ paired with a pint for Dhs199 or tackle a half-metre sausage and pint for Dhs99.
Open Sat-Wed 3pm-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 526 0849).
This London-inspired gastropub and sports lounge features an outdoor terrace for when the weather cools down, live sport from all around the world on the big screen and a decent yet rather confusing happy hour – get 40 percent off select drinks on Sunday from 5.30pm until 8.30pm, Monday from 6.30pm until 9.30pm, Tuesday from 9.30pm until 10.30pm, Wednesday from 10.30pm until 11.30pm, Thursday from 5pm until 8pm and on Saturdays from 5pm until 3am.
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-3am, Fri-Sat 1pm-3am. Mercure Dubai Barsha Heights (04 381 8888).
The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill
This is no frills, with a good happy hour, ever-friendly staff and about 30 screens around the bar, which include three massive tellies on one side and a projector on the other. It’s also home to some decent bar grub, affordable pints and a double daily happy hour with deals from 4pm until 8pm and then from midnight until closing. There’s also a second branch, in Bur Dubai, which is offering up 25 percent off the total bill daily from 4pm until 8pm.
Open daily noon-3am. Citymax Hotel Al Barsha at the Mall (050 100 7065) and Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai (04 407 8075).
The Irish Village
PUB OF THE YEAR!
We all know, and love, the 23-year-old Garhoud institution that is The Irish Village, with its massive outdoor garden, screens and craic, and how it’s a top spot for catching the rugby action (though you don’t have to guess who they’ll be cheering on). Now there’s an extra Village to go and check out, because a third branch is now in full flow at Studio One Hotel in Studio City.
Open Sat-Wed 7am-1am, Thu-Fri 7am-2am, Garhoud (04 526 0494). Open daily noon-1am. Studio One, Dubai Studio City (800 788 346).
The Lion by Nick & Scott
This top British gastropub has got the match on along with a load of promotions running throughout the tournament. Wednesdays mean an all-day happy hour, on Monday get a main course and one-hour of unlimited drinks for Dhs99 and a buy four, get one free deal on select hops. There’s also a slap-up roast every single day from 5pm until 10pm for Dhs95, but for an extra Dhs15, you can pair it with a house pint from the bar. Winning.
Open daily 8am-3am.
The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
The Red Lion
The current Red Lion is the remodelling of one of Dubai’s oldest pubs. It may be newer now, but the vibe remains the same, and it’s still a top place to watch the rugby thanks to loads of screens throughout. Head to this award-winning spot (it took home the Highly Commended award for Best Sports Bar at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2019) for a daily happy hour with two-for-one drinks from 5pm and 8pm and a Saturday breakfast brunch starting from Dhs50 – choose between a roast or an American breakfast with the option to pair with select drinks.
Open daily noon-3am. Metropolitan Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 0000).
The Rose & Crown
This Al Habtoor City pub is showing all the matches and there are a range of deals during the games. You’ll get the mixed drink of the week for Dhs45, while there’s also a daily happy hour from 5pm until 8pm with drinks for Dhs29. Every Monday you can get unlimited wings and hops for Dhs150, while every Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s a roast for Dhs90 or Dhs250 for two roast dinners and a bucket of hops or bottle of grape.
Open daily 11am-2am. The Atrium, Al Habtoor City (04 437 0022).
The Scene by Simon Rimmer
The Scene, a proudly British restaurant, is supporting all the nations with the launch of its “Home of Nations Fan Zone”. Rugger fans can catch all the matches on the five huge screens along with cracking breakfast and lunch deals. From 8am until noon, nosh on eggs on toast with a cuppa for Dhs29 or with a select house drink for Dhs69 and if you’re really hungry get a full-English and a house drink for Dhs99. From noon until 5pm enjoy a beef, chicken or halloumi burger paired with a drink for Dhs99 and daily until 4.30pm enjoy a special drinks menu from Dhs35. During key games there will also be face painting, hat customisation and a live DJ during half-time and post-match.
Open daily 8am-2am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 422 2328).
Last year’s winner of Best Sports Bar has carried on where it left off: as a top spot. There are more than 20 screens around this English tube-themed bar, with a large projector, a few big TVs and countless smaller screens positioned to give you a view from every conceivable angle so you’ll be able to see every inch of the scrum. There’s a daily happy hour offering drinks from Dhs27 from 5pm until 8pm, and some top British pub fare.
Open daily noon-3am. Al Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, JBR (04 399 5000).
Grab a leather booth and order up a curry and pint at this swish Sheikh Zayed Road sports bar which is usually open daily from noon until 2am but will set up shop from as early as 7am whenever there’s a morning match. There are plenty of screens beaming out plenty of sports and to top it off there’s a well-stocked board games corner – perfect for your mates who prefer to live the action. There’s a happy hour from Sunday to Thursday from 5pm until 8pm with selected drinks at a discounted rate, Tuesdays equal buy one, get one free tacos for Dhs27, while Wednesdays mean Dhs4 wings from 5pm until closing.
Open daily noon-2am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
This popular JLT bar is a top spot to catch all the rugby action. Every day, you can get your hands on select drinks starting from Dhs30 and during all games there’s a deal that sees groups of six or more (when booked in advance) get unlimited select drinks and snacks for Dhs185 a head. There are also pool tables, live music, a PlayStation booth and more than 17 screens.
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am, Thu-Fri noon-3am. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 438 0000).
Looking for a stylish spot to catch the scrum? This lounge bar has a load of big screens for sports and sofas to lounge on, while outdoors it has a fabulous terrace looking north towards Downtown Dubai. Being attached to a mall means it’s a perfect spot to catch the rugger mid-shopping spree and while you’re there, get five bottles of hops for Dhs135 or one pint and a bar bite for Dhs65.
Open daily noon-2am. Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Al Barsha (04 377 2356).
The first-ever Rugby World Cup took place in 1987 and has been held every four years since. This year the tournament will be held in Japan – its first time being held in Asia.