Makar

A Scottish pub in Business Bay (if you can find it)

Scots seeking a taste of home have limited options in this city, but Makar, a newish Scottish bar in Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, is sure to help ease any homesickness.

The homely bar is decked out with authentic paintings, dark leather furnishings and a fully-stocked bar. The Scottish term makar refers to a poet, although we’re not sure of the relevance of this in a pub, but Scottish music rings out at an inoffensive volume and the theme is strong without being gimmicky.

It’s all very relaxed and warm, though the intimate vibe is killed slightly by the harsh overhead lighting, which could do with being cranked down a few notches. But there’s a petite hidey-hole to the rear of the room, which has mellower lighting and comfy leather sofas, which is our chosen spot.

The main problem with Makar, however, is that it’s incredibly hard to find. Set on the second floor of the Business Bay hotel (which is also home to FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar – equally difficult to locate – and Gotha, more mainstream yet still fairly well hidden), there’s absolutely no signage for Makar. Tucked away behind meeting rooms and through even-more-brightly-illuminated corridors, it’s almost as remote as the Highlands – and has the head count to match.

Once you do find it, though, you’ll be rewarded with a decent happy hour deal, which includes half-price drinks from 8pm until 1am, and some top bar snacks. But despite the fact it’s almost empty it’s surprisingly hard to get service – who is that mixed drink they’re studiously making actually  for? – although the staff are friendly and polite.

The drinks menu boasts, as you’d expect, a large range of malt beverages, as well as some interesting craft hops and a selection of cuban rolls.
The bar snacks menu, meanwhile, is also worth sampling, starring plenty of traditional dishes including a bridie (a bit like a Scottish pasty) with brown sauce gravy, Angus sliders, cured salmon and of course haggis, neeps and tatties if you’re after something more substantial. Don’t miss the Scotch eggs with piccalilli – which are huge and meaty, showcasing gloriously glossy yellow yolks.

There’s lots to love about Makar and with a few tweaks – and a lot more patrons – it has potential to become a decent pub to get tae.

WHAT IS IT...
A Scottish pub in Business Bay (if you can find it)

WHY GO...
For the decent all-night happy hour and cracking bar food

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