04 428 3084 Dubai Marina

Set at the far end of The Walk, JBR, JB’s Gastropub is nestled behind a hedge just off the main thoroughfare – meaning it’s usually busy, attracting both tourists and JBR residents.

In an area that is fast-becoming a go-to spot for bars and clubbing, this casual gastropub was a trailblazer, in as much as one can be when it opened in 2016. The décor is low-key, industrial and cool and we love the hanging filament lighting and quirky bottle soap dispensers in the bathrooms.

There’s a decent selection of hops and short beverages, and it’s the ideal place to pull up a stool by the bar, or at one of the high barrels, and have a laid-back chat with your mates.

Happy hour is good (from 5pm until 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 5pm to 9pm on Thursdays) plus a ladies get three free drinks from 6pm until midnight on Wednesdays.

Being a gastropub, it’s certainly worth trying the food, and we recommend the burger or fish and chips (proper grub).

We hope some of the newer, shinier versions that have arrived in the area don’t have a detrimental effect on the crowds, as it’s a relaxed pub that’s deserving of its punters.

The bottom line
Chill out with a pint, a burger and your mates on a weekend afternoon.

04 425 1000 Dubai Land

This bar at Ernie Els’ golf club is both quaint and ideally placed to be a great local for those who live in the neighbourhoods of Sports City, IMPZ, Motor City and Jumeirah Village Circle.

The bar overlooks the course, and the best way to make the most of the rolling green views (in cooler weather) is to take a seat out on the balcony. Inside, tables are spread out enough across the spacious interiors to give diners a decent level of privacy for a relaxed catch-up.

It’s a cosy familiar space, and the friendly, helpful staff here are some of the best around – within a few visits they’ll soon know your order and make you feel right at home.

Considering the bar sits in a luxury golf course, prices are pretty keen – you can get a glass of grape for Dhs45 and a pint for Dhs42. And during happy hour, from 5pm to 8pm during the week and from 12.30pm to 8pm at weekends, there's 33 percent off house drinks.

If you’re hungry, don’t miss South African staples such as boerewors and lamb shank bunny chow, plus game meats including guinea fowl and even ostrich.

Ernie Els’ Big Easy offers a laid-back introduction to the flavours of South Africa. Time to get acquainted.

The bottom line
A relaxed slice of the Southern Hemisphere.

+971 4 331 1111 World Trade Center Area

PERMANENTLY CLOSED

Oscar’s is old school. It’s cave-like and rustic and has low lighting, and – being a grape bar – a large selection of bottles. It’s intimate and rarely attracts a hip crowd, but we like the cosy nature of the place. The menu won’t be winning any awards for innovation, but for retro stews, soups and cheese platters, the kitchen does a good job.

French +971 4 444 7444 World Trade Center Area

A grape bar that has always maintained a great level of service and quality, Cave continues to be a highly recommendable venue. The menu is tasty, and we’d particularly recommend the French onion soup – which comes loaded with nuclear levels of cheese and onion, and a great side of bread to mop it all up – and pan-seared foie gras, which comes with a lovely, tart chutney. But where it comes into its own is its terrific trifecta of décor, grape and cheese. The former, as the name would suggest, is all wood and cave walls, giving off a seriously intimate, cosy feel. The grape list, meanwhile, is diverse and interesting, and the selection of international cheeses to accompany them is the stuff of overly vivid dreams. It’s not cheap – far from it – but as a place to either start or end an evening out, Cave gets a big old thumbs up from us.

Newsletters

Follow us