If you didn’t visit Barasti during the World Cup, you weren’t doing football in Dubai right. So, don’t make the same mistake again and head down to the colossal tents that sprung up over summer. They’re fully air-conditioned and played host to tens of thousands of screaming, crying, jubilant fans during the Russian tournament. There’s a huge projector beaming out games in the main tent, with dozens of smaller screens dotted around the terrace, restaurant and downstairs pool and beach area. Speaking of the beach and pool area, it’s totally free and you’ll often find footy fans (maybe us) floating in the deep end with a cold one.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-1am; Thu-Fri 10am-2.30am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 318 1313).
This sports bar has industrial-style interiors, plenty of big screens for sport, good deals and a menu of pub classics. Sitting on the main trunk of the Palm, just before the tunnel through to Atlantis, it operates outside of a hotel and has been a hit with residents for years. The gastropub boasts multiple screens showing all the matches. While its quieter climate means it’s perfect for those who prefer to keep their composure during the big game, rather than crying into their pints after a major loss.
Open Sat-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Palm Views East, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 4000).
The greatest-ever Socceroo Tim Cahill may have just hung up his boots, but the game goes on at this laid-back Aussie bar. With Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy flying the Premier League flag, and the occasional cameo from Mile Jedinak’s Aston Villa in the Championship, there isn’t too much for the ‘Roos to cheer on. However, the ocean breeze and relaxed bar beach vibes with multiple big screens is why we go. Better still are some of the deals, including the Palm Weekend offer on Fridays and Saturdays, with five drinks, or four drinks and a meal, for just Dhs145.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-midnight; Thu-Fri 10am-1am. Shoreline 16, Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).
One of our favourite sports bars, this antipodean spot in Business Bay has a load of screens and really livens up at kick-off. Expect deals on food and drink, with a range of different areas offering great views. There are happy hours every day between 4pm and 7pm and the compact food menu of burgers, sandwiches and appetisers is good value, with most of the plates coming in at between Dhs60 and Dhs100.
Open daily 4pm-2am. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
Crown & Lion
Reliably busy whenever there’s a Premier League football match on, this busy British-themed pub attracts a predominantly male crowd. There are eight TV screens beaming out every game, as well as a darts board and pool table for anyone looking to bring the competition to reality. The weekend Friday and Saturday happy hour runs from 6pm to 8pm, while the food menu is packed with colossal British classics such as home-made pies and fish and chips. The venue is laid-back and fun – and if you’re in the neighbourhood, hungry, and fancy watching a match, it’s perhaps the best option you’ve got.
Open daily 11am-3am. Byblos Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 448 8000).
Remember when match days meant getting up early on Saturday, meeting your pals for a full English before heading to your local for drinks before kick-off? Well, for us, Fibber Magee’s comes as close to recapturing that traditional charm as anywhere else in the city. Opening at 8am every day, you’ll find a menu bursting with fry-ups, plenty of the black stuff on draught and that lively, comforting atmosphere from home. Screens are dotted around the pub, although if you’re expected to be able to enjoy the match in a quiet setting look elsewhere – Fibbers seems to be a perennial home to a lively, Irish atmosphere.
Open daily 8am-2am. Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
Garden on 8
The atmosphere at this eighth-floor terrace pub was utterly electric throughout the World Cup, and long may it continue as the club season fires up again. With loads of screens (and one huge one) dotted around the terrace area, and tonnes of drinks promos, events and more, you needn’t look further. It attracts a strong British crowd, with many expat football fans gathering to roar on their teams. The food menu offers all the usual, yet top standard, pub fare – think burgers, pizzas and some of the best chips about.
Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
This JBR sports bar at the JA Ocean View Hotel is a little basic in décor, but you won’t be eyeing up the wallpaper come kick-off as it provides all the sporting action you could want. Grab a stool, choose your drink from the solid range of beverages and get ready to cheer on your team. Failing that, head to the the newly revamped Girders Garden. The overhaul comes with comfy lounge seating and benches for around 150 guests as well as a tasty menu packed full of barbecue bites. There’s also a range of happy hour deals at both venues. Winning.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am; Fri noon-3am; Sat 11am-3am. JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (04 814 5599).
ICON Bar & Lounge
If you find yourself in the office on Friday or Saturday you need to do two things: first, give yourself a pat on the back if your boss hasn’t. And two, head to this Radisson Blu bar in Dubai Media City for the match. The upstairs area is a smoky, atmospheric bar with plenty of big screens, swift service and solid 50 percent off daily 5pm to 8pm happy hour. Staff put on a tip-top performance for the World Cup – we expect more of the same throughout the season.
Open daily 7am-2am. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 366 9111).
Being so close to a FitRepublik gym, the international cricket stadium and football and rugby pitches, Kickers is usually filled with sporty types debriefing after a game over a few drinks or refuelling on the pub’s rather decent grub. Sports fans are catered for first and foremost here. Those who haven’t been playing a game are often here to watch one on the many big screens dotted about the space. Local residents also come to take advantage of the good happy hour deal that offers a 33 percent discount on selected food and beverages. It’s well worth a visit, we’d say.
Open Sun-Wed 3pm-2am; Thu-Sat noon-2am. Sports Village, Dubai Sports City (04 448 1001).
Le Petit Belge JLT
With sizeable screens dotted around the bar area, you won’t find it hard to get the perfect view of the match here. If you’re struggling to convince your better half to watch the mid-week matches, then cross your fingers the fixture falls on a Wednesday where ladies get three free drinks or unlimited drinks for Dhs100. With the Premier League bursting with Belgian talent you can channel the nation with mussels from Brussels, steak and frites or croque monsieur. There are also two other branches – in Business Bay and Motor City.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat 10am-3am. Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, JLT (04 242 7794).
Since opening back in October 2009, Loca has become a go-to for football and Mexican food fans alike. While many others have since opened in the city to stake a claim on the casual Latin American bar scene, few have matched this Jumeirah institution’s success. Prices are reasonable, particularly during the daily happy hour from 5pm to 8pm. While you can enjoy unlimited tacos during Premier League ties for just Dhs90. Chelsea expats consider this bar home – we’re not sure top tacos and Mexican fiestas scream Stamford Bridge, but we can definitely be sure this place is a winner for footy.
Open daily noon-2am. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, JBR (04 346 1111).
Lock, Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk
It’s our Bar of the Year for a reason, and this JBR hot spot was absolutely heaving during the World Cup, so you know it’s going to be a top place to catch all the footy action. Since most matches kick off on Saturdays and Sundays, head over and bag yourself a cracking deal where Dhs135 gets you a full roast dinner with your choice of two meats from either beef, chicken or lamb – as well as a house beverage. On top of that, there’s a daily happy hour running from 4pm until 8pm with two-for-one on house beverages. There are tonnes of TVs, including one massive projector screen downstairs.
Open Mon-Sun 4pm-3am; Sat-Sun 4pm-3am. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR, The Walk (04 392 7120).
Irish pubs make cracking sports bars, and this JLT one is no different, because with more than 30 different screens dotted around inside and out, McGettigan’s is one of the top places to catch any match. Particularly huge clashes are also shown on the massive screen inside The Baggot, the conjoined venue bolted onto the side of this popular Irish haunt. Head down for the daily happy hour running until 8pm, with drinks available from Dhs30.
Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Hotel, Cluster J, JLT (04 378 0800).
Nezesaussi Grill Downtown Dubai
A former winner of Best Sports Bar award at Time Out Dubai’s Music & Nightlife Awards, this antipodean bar in Souk Al Manzil is a cracking place to catch the game. It’s dark, it’s cosy, it’s got some whopping great screens and a tonne of personal tellies on your table for your preferred match. There’s also a similar branch in Dubai Marina, should you be in that part of town and prefer a non-smoking option (see our review on page 42 for more).
Open Sun-Wed 4pm-2am, Thu noon-2am, Fri-Sat 9am-2am. Souk Al Manzil, Shiekh Mohammed Bin Rasid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888).
Perry & Blackwelder’s
You’ll be able to catch all the football action you want at this American-style sports bar and restaurant. There are loads of screens, some great bar bites (oh hello there, mozzarella sticks…), and a decent happy hour deal where you can get your hands on selected drinks for just Dhs29. That runs daily from 5pm until 8pm, and from noon until 2am on Saturdays – doesn’t that coincide with kick-off perfectly?
Open daily noon-2am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 432 3232).
Ribs & Brews
If video and pub games, a food menu of tender meat, meat and more meat, plus multiple screens beaming out sport until the early hours doesn’t scream blokey bar to you – then perhaps Ribs & Brews’ (formerly known as Cook Hall) dedicated “Man Cave” will. There are always tonnes of deals to be found here, as well as a three-hour Friday brunch for boys with burgers, hops, pool and video games – perfect for the return of Friday night fixtures. Delicious items on the menu include one of Time Out Dubai’s Best Dishes of 2017 the shrimp po’boy – a buttery, toasted brioche bun packed full of plump, spicy prawns. Perfect for soaking up the tension on match days.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am.Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
Imagine this: you’re on the 18th, you’ve got a 3ft putt to make birdy and card your best ever round. You sink it, the metaphorical crowd goes wild. Then you find out that your team are about to kick off at the upstairs sports bar, Spike –what could be better? Bask in the glory of success at this classy bar with tonnes of screens, a relaxed vibe and a sprawling terrace with a view out over Emirates Golf Club, where there are yet more screens. Plus, there’s some pretty tasty grub, especially the curries from chef Hari Ghotra.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-1.30am. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 503 6128).
Stars ’N’ Bars
What a brilliant new arrival this American sports bar is. This trendy spot, which also has outlets in Monaco and Abu Dhabi is two floors of awesome times just waiting to be had. From the many screens dotted around the bar, to the foosball tables and arcade machines, to the regular live music and moreish bar bites, there’s plenty to keep you going throughout the match. And how could we forget the pour-your-own-pints area?
Open daily 10am-3am. La Mer, Jumeirah 1 (04 439 9903).
Another entry in the list of cracking new sports bars is this lofty hangout, perched on the 44th floor of Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City. A 50 percent off daily happy hour deal supplements the two-lane bowling alley (which is apparently the highest bowling alley in the world), pool tables, darts board, outside terrace and a wealth of TV screens showing the match. All that, with a gentlemen’s club vibe that’s classy yet lively.
Open daily noon-2am. Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City (04 437 3333).
This Irish spot has all the nooks and crannies you’d expect from a proper homely pub, with a whopping great projector and tonnes of screens dotted around, so you’re going to be hard-pressed to miss the match. It’s also the home of the Celtic fan club, so expect it to get pretty lively when kick-off comes rolling around this season.
Open daily noon-2am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2455).
The Irish Village
A worthy multiple award-winner of Time Out Dubai’s Pub of the Year accolade, and perfectly entitled to being called something of a Dubai institution having operated at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium for the past 20 years. This place is cracking for a match, and even built its own footy stand complete with terrace for the World Cup, which was packed out. Don’t expect it to be quite so extravagant for the regular season, but with plenty of viewing options and a daily happy hour with drinks from Dhs35 you’re in for a storming start to the season here.
Open daily 11am-1am. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
The Lion by Nick & Scott
Pretty much the first thing Nick & Scott (of folly fame) did when they took over what was formerly The Black Lion was shove up plenty of TV screens in to get this pub ready for the World Cup and new season of footy. There’s a daily happy hour, plus get your hands on a match day roast, accompanied by a pint, every Saturday and Sunday for Dhs100 – that’s a pretty cracking deal for kick-off even your team don’t win.
Open daily 8am-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
The Tap House
Up there as one of the top bars for catching footy on the Palm, The Tap House has a wonderful range of craft hops (if the name didn’t give it away already), some decent bites to eat and a number of different screens showing the latest match. Get there early and baggsy a seat in front of the ludicrously large projector. All of that, with beach vibes just the other side of the door. And it’s non-smoking inside, which is a bit of a Brucie bonus.
Open daily noon-2am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 514 3778).
It’s our Sports Bar of the Year, because this place is cracking for kick-off (and it’s perennially rammed for Premier League fixtures, so you might want to book ahead). There are more than 20 screens around this English tube-themed bar, with a large projector, a few big TVs and countless smaller screens positioned to give you a view from every conceivable angle. There’s a daily happy hour offering drinks from Dhs27 until 8pm, and some top British pub grub, too.
Open daily noon-3am. Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, JBR (04 408 4257).
A brand-new bar to land on the block, Trophy Room at Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road arrived just in time for the World Cup, and offers a slightly more refined option for catching the game. It’s a clean-cut, gold-trimmed sports lounge, with loads of TVs lining the main bar area and large screens dotted around the venue. That’s not to mention the master screen made up of nine individual screens at one end. If you’re peckish, try the gold-dusted chicken nuggets (far fancier than a usual half-time snack), but there’s also a range of promotions including a seven-hour happy hour from noon until 7pm.
Open daily noon-2am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).