With a few of the big guns now on the plane home (farewell France, Greece, Italy et al) and the top teams planning their tactics for the final rounds, it’s time to start considering where you’ll watch the crucial World Cup matches. The quarter-finals will be played on July 2 and 3, with the semis to follow on July 6 and 7, and there are plenty of bars willing to open their doors to enthusiastic fans.
But for footie with a twist, we’ve scouted out a few alternative venues that offer all the action, plus something a little different.
For fancy dress
While this Palm venue is a pretty standard footie-watching spot, the crowd is likely to be… interesting. The folks at Bidi Bondi are giving away a Dhs1,000 food and drinks voucher to the person best dressed in their team’s colours. With such a sum at stake, we’re expecting more crazy hats per square inch than goals at an Argentina match.
Shoreline Apartments 1-5, The Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515). Free entry
To truly evoke the feeling you’re at a real football match, Long’s Bar has set up an Astroturf pitch and goalposts where guests are encouraged to try out their own kicking skills. Fancy footwork may not lead to a contract here, but it will lead to lots of prizes and drinks promotions.
Towers Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 312 2202). Free entry
For kids’ activities
How many venues can offer footie alongside face painters and clowns? Granted, the Stargate kids’ entertainment centre is showing the game mainly for families and the under-20s set. Still, it promises to be
a good time for all, especially as the games are being shown in 3D from a 103-inch screen. Viewers will also be able to participate in football-themed games, where they can show off their prowess in exchange for prizes.
Za’abeel Park (04 325 9988, ext 139). Free entry
For footie on ice
What can be stranger than watching a football game both in the desert and on an ice-skating rink? Not much we’d wager. While it’s a bit random, The Dubai Mall ice rink – which is showing the game on a 10m x 20m screen, complete with comfy beanbags – is attracting a good crowd. We suppose it makes sense in these sweltering summer months to watch from a spot that plunges as low as 17°C. And cheering for the home team does get a bit sweaty.
The Dubai Mall (04 448 5111). Tickets are Dhs25. Special seating is available some days for Dhs50
For added extras
Only in Dubai would half time mean a DJ set. Guests at Hush Lounge are not only treated to shisha and views of the Burj Al Arab, but can play games consoles if the match starts to lag. There will also be a face painter for adults (under 18s aren’t allowed).
Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730; jumeirah.com/football). Free entry. For VIP booking, call 04 366 6162