04 414 3000 Business Bay

We wrote about the transformation of staid sports bar Velocity last month. Now it’s the more modern and interesting Bridgewater Tavern. Plenty of screens show lots of sports, there’s live music every Wednesday and Thursday and there are happy hours every day between 4pm and 7pm.

A terrace overlooking the canal serves shisha, but it’s indoors that offers the most authentic sports bar experience.

The menu is quite compact, with half a dozen appetisers, five sandwiches, a couple of salads, two burgers and two desserts. Then there’s a selection of “All Black Signatures” that seem to be based on the New Zealand Rugby Union team (and we presume all have some black colouring). Everything is good value, with most of the plates coming in at between Dhs60 and Dhs100.

From the All Black menu we order the black wasabi shrimp. They’re striking, as if incinerated, but the colour comes from black sesame seeds. There’s a real kick of wasabi, too, and the shrimp themselves are plump and sweet. Carrying on the deep-fried theme, we try the calamari. There’s a real hit of heat with these, the batter is good and the portion is generous. Both choices make for top bar snacks.

Chicken wings are served with a flourish here. The waiter brings a selection of sauces. Pick one and he’ll mix it theatrically with the wings in a metal shaker (think Tom Cruise in a certain ’80s movie). Again, the portion is big and they taste great. The chef here knows his way around bar food.

In an attempt at a balanced diet, we try the hot salmon salad, which shows the kitchen is just as good at turning out light dishes as heartier stuff.

In Bridgewater Tavern, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel now has a sports bar to rival the best in the city.

The bill (for two)
1x Fire Cracker calamari Dhs55
1x boneless chicken wings Dhs60
1x black wasabi shrimp Dhs60
1x hot smoked salmon salad Dhs60
Total (including service) Dhs235

The bottom line
Bar food to take on Dubai’s best.

04 701 1127 Festival City

There are three of these venues across Dubai and we’re fans of all of them. The atmosphere is always good, the selection of hops (Belgian, of course) is wide, and the food is consistent. For fans of mussels, meat and cheese boards or ribs, we recommend them highly. Our favourite is the Festival City branch, with a lovely outdoor area looking over the Creek. Look out for themed deals throughout the week, too.

Bar & pub food 04 332 2400 Sheikh Zayed Road

A venue that proudly serves up proper pub grub such as fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, pies and burgers and does them all very well, with little fuss or fanfare. Portions are huge, especially the steak pie, which has an enormous puff pastry top hiding rich, slow cooked beef underneath. Breakfasts are excellent (and available throughout the day) and the cheeseburger is another monster. Not one where Dubai’s glamour set will be heading, but all the better for it.

British 04 559 5355 Dubai Marina

A rustic, homely little bar and dining room that is modelled on its big brother in Speyside, Scotland, Copper Dog is a low-key venue. The selection of food and drinks is also distinctly Scottish. Food-wise, the menu is filled with classics –think fish and chips, pies and soups. From the “Wee” Bites menu (that’s small, for anyone not familiar with Scottish English), we’re delighted that the “chips” in the chips and dips are big, fat and golden brown. The shepherd’s pie is also a winner, with deep, rich gravy, lots of meaty goodness and fluffy potatoes on top. The cheeseboard is perfectly put together, too. This is food and a venue perfect for the chilly climes of the British Isles rather than the baking hot desert, but Copper Dog creates such a cosy atmosphere, it can transport you to the Highlands of Scotland with ease.

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