A high-end sports bar? Does such a thing exist?

Is there really such a thing as a high-end sports bar? Sure, we love the gourmet indulgence of Nezesaussi’s burgers and platters, but to watch the match don’t you need a little, well, grit? A smidge of spit, sawdust,
stink and soul?

The Meydan folk don’t seem to think so, and in an attempt to shake off all those smelly sports bar clichés they’ve founded The Qube: only in Dubai will you find a sports bar with a giant bottle of bubbly and an espresso machine behind the bar. In any other city this place would be considered pretty swish – the glowing gold bar is like Calabar has gone to the races. Rip the flatscreens from the wall and you could even go as far as to call it chic.

But it’s more than a smattering of TVs that reminds visitors they’re in a sports bar. The name Qube may boast one of those annoying misspellings we thought had gone out of fashion in the mid-’90s, but it’s based on cold, hard fact. Or rather a bright, gleaming, pixellated fact: in the centre of the doughnut-shaped bar stands a magnificent cube screen, its four huge surfaces giving every corner (or rather curve) of the bar a great view of the game. Or in most cases, two views of the match at funny angles.

But for all our initial scepticism, within a few minutes you’ll be enthralled; the screen is both a handy gimmick and a sports lovers’ dream. Rather than a congregated mass focused on one end of the bar, punters are spread evenly around, their combined gaze staring inwards. And for the true sceptic there are still normal TVs dotted around pillars, as well as a slightly intimidating row of eight screens (showing every sport under the sun) above the length of the bar. Itchy or conversationally stunted fans can relieve the half-time lull on the darts boards, pool tables and some bizarre game called ‘shuffle’.

A word on the layout: the circular bar hangs suspended above the lobby of Meydan’s new golf course, The Track. We like the open-plan feel, but it does give the impression of an airport departure lounge, a fact not helped by the overpowering use of the colour orange (chairs, furnishings, everything), which calls to mind a certain European budget airline.

This minor niggle is not Qube’s main enemy, though. Geography is the only aggressor it has to worry about, with the out-the-way location a potential hindrance to would-be visitors. We say the mammoth screen makes it worth the trip. 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.


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