Where to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Dubai

Pubs and bars showing football games as well as fan zones showing the matches

World Cup

It only comes around every four years, and when it does it can turn the most cynical and jaded football fan into a hyper-excited child hopped up on way too much sugar.

This year’s FIFA World Cup is taking place in Russia, and thankfully the kick off schedule is rather forgiving for us here on Gulf Standard Time (unlike the 2014 World Cup in Brazil).

Generally, matches will be kicking off between 2pm and 11pm during the opening round of group stage fixtures (which takes place between Thursday June 14 and Tuesday 19). Matchdays two and three, held between Tuesday June 19 and Thursday 28, will see the vast majority of matches kick off at 4pm, 7pm and 10pm.

Up and down Dubai you’re going to find pubs and sports bars filling up for the occasion, and we’re going to be treated to an absolute festival of sport for one whole month.

Everyone at Time Out Towers is already getting the flag bunting up, the barbecue burning and the TV ready.

Get ready for a month of non-stop football, everyone. And roll on the final on Sunday July 15.

Here are the very best places across the city to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Fan Zones:

Atlantis The Palm
One of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks is going all-out for this year’s festival with what it’s calling “the ultimate” World Cup Fan Zone. Every match will be streamed in the Atlantis World Cup Fan Zone, which has capacity for more than 2,000 fans. With a whopping great 28sq m screen as the centrepiece, the fan zone will be split into two distinct areas. The Stadium will be the main viewing arena for fans, with the huge screen and more, while The Bench will have a chilled out vibe with a gamer’s corner, dedicated PS4 stand and even a chance to win a trip to the country that wins the World Cup. This is probably going to be one of the coolest places to catch the whole tournament. For big matches, booking a table is recommended and there’s a minimum spend of Dhs1,000.
Free (ladies), Dhs100 (gents, including two drinks). Open daily throughout tournament during matches. Atlantis, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, fanzone@atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 2626).

Barasti
Promising to bring “the best football experience Dubai has ever seen”, Barasti will be launching two fan zones for the World Cup. The Barasti SuperDome will have giant screens, live DJs, room for 8,000 fans and more, right down on the beach. Meanwhile, the middle deck will have its air-conditioned tent and giant, 12-metre-wide screen as per usual, so there are two areas to choose from.
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).

Fairmont Ajman
Slightly further afield, you can head to Fairmont Ajman, where you’ll be able to hang out in the hotel’s “World Cup Arena”, with tonnes of screens, promotions, shisha and more available. VIP tables and three private majlis are available for hire on match day, too.
Open daily, timings vary. Fairmont Ajman, Ajman (06 701 5757).

Fairmont The Palm Dubai’s World Cup Tent
A huge tent is being constructed at this top-notch hotel on the Palm – dedicated purely to showing every match of the World Cup. There’ll be two screens showing the games, and a range of promotions will be running throughout the month, along with a Dhs95 minim spend. Expect picnic benches, fake grass and all the other touches to make it feel like you’re in a proper fan zone.
Open throughout World Cup for fixtures only. Fairmont the Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 345).

garden on 8
Media types who are looking for a quick escape from the office in time for kick off should leg it straight over to garden on 8, where the bar’s massive terrace will be covered over to create a special World Cup tent. With loads of screens (and one huge one) dotted around the terrace area, and with tonne of drinks promos, events and more to celebrate the tournament, you needn’t look further.
Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).

Kickers

This cracking hangout in Dubai Sports City has put up some cracking fan zones for previous World Cups, so we’re looking forward to more of the same this time around. Think various footie mini-games you can play, tonnes of competitions to win, screens everywhere, foosball, pool tables and more knocking about. We can’t wait for this one.
Open Sun-Wed 1pm-2am; Thu-Sat noon-2am. Football Zone, Sports village, Dubai Sports City (04 448 1001).

Lock Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk
A dedicated fan zone called The Secret Garden is being set up at our Bar of the Year. With its own private bar, a grassy area, all the action and a bunch of food and drink deals, you’ll be set for the match. Throughout the tournament you’ll be able to get buy-four-get-two-free on bottles of hops, every Monday night for the tournament you can also join the curry club for Dhs79 which dishes up a whole curry, rice and naan bread with a house drink. The same applies on Wednesday, where you can pick select menu items with a drink for Dhs79, too.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am, Fri 1pm-3am, Sat 2pm-3am. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 392 7120).

Lock Stock & Barrel Barsha Heights
On the upper deck of this massive Barsha Heights bar you’ll find a dedicated fan zone with big screens, loads of fan gear plus drinks deals. With every match of the tournament being screened on every screen in this cavernous bar, you won’t miss any of the action. With buy-four-get-two-free on bottles of hops, you’ll be set for the match.
Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am, Fri noon-3am, Sat 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).

Reform Social & Grill
This proper Brit pub is going all out for the World Cup, launching “Your Local Fanzone” throughout the tourney. Straight off the bat, there’ll be a specially-constructed air conditioned tent with a big screen showing every match, There’ll be happy hour prices on tonnes of different drinks (for matches between noon and 7pm), plus loads of games and prizes to be won. You’ll also be able to get special dishes for less, with a World Cup menu featuring burger and chips, fish and chips or a British balti (all including a pint) for Dhs99, or a Dhs225 package including a tonne of British bar bites (think mini burgers, scotch eggs, fries et al) plus five hops during all matches on after 7pm. Booking in advance is recommended.
Prices vary. Daily noon-7pm. Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes, Emirates Living (04 545 2638).

The Courtyard
Head to Manzil Downtown for some fan zone action, where an outdoor air-conditioned tent will be opening up for the tournament. With a minimum spend of Dhs150 per person, you’ll be able to get your hands on some special drinks and bites to eat from a dedicated World Cup menu while watching the game on some huge TV screens. There’ll also be foosball, PS4 and face painting (intended for the little ones, we guess, but that’s not going to stop us).
Dhs150 minimum spend. Open daily noon-5am. Manzil Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

[u]bk
Want to win a keg of hops during the World Cup? Read on. With four different areas dedicated to catching the match, plus 19 TVs and two huge projector screens, you’re in for a treat at this funky JLT bar. Throughout the tournament you’ll be able to get an unlimited two-hour drinks package during each game for Dhs99, while there’ll also be a range of mini games and even a PlayStation tournament. Buy a tower of hops for Dhs125, and sign up for the tourney, where you can even win a keg of hops.
Open Sun-Thu noon-3am; Fri-Sat 9.30am-3am. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, JLT (04 438 0000).

XL Dubai
Usually a nightclub, this JBR spot is transforming itself for match day throughout the tournament, and is giving away some big prizes too. Daily prizes are being given away include free entry to any chosen match day plus a free drink, ranging up to a table worth Dhs5,000 for ten people to enjoy the final. There’ll also be live entertainment after the last match of each day.
Open daily, 4pm-3am. Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, JBR (052 634 1040).

Bars:

Areia Beach Bar & Grill
This cool little beach and pool bar will be dishing up some special food, drink and bucket deals throughout the World Cup, but what sets this place apart is something a teensy bit different. With TV screen lining the pool, and a floating bar, you’ll be able to watch all the games without having to leave the swimming pool. We’re getting ready to prune, because we probably won’t be leaving this place for a month.
Open daily 11am-11pm. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (055 166 8092).

Bay Club
This relaxed, poolside bar will be going big for the World Cup. Head along to Business Bay for a range of deals and promotions during the tournament. On top of the daily happy hour (offering food and drinks for Dhs30), you can get buckets of hops from Dhs159, a burger and a hops for Dh85 and a range of national cuisines during select matches from Dhs30. On top of that, correctly guess the score of the match and get two free drinks for the next game.
Open daily 10am-2am. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay (04 551 1544).

Bidi Bondi
Australia will be at the World Cup, so expect this place to be rammo for at least the first fortnight of the tournament. Found among the Shoreline apartments on the Palm, this Aussie-themed sports bar will do the trick. Home to some massive tellies, plus a decent brekkie and cracking burger, Palmies won’t be needing to head anywhere else for the month.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-midnight; Thu-Fri 10am-1am. Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).

Café Belge
Get ready for the big kick off party, as this classy 1920s-themed Belgian restaurant and bar cannot wait for the tournament to arrive. It’s keeping things strictly local, though, and Belgian nationals will be able to get a 40 percent discount (if you can prove your nationality) on food and drinks during Belgium’s matches.
Open daily noon-2am. The Ritz-Carlton DIFC (04 372 2323).

Champions Sports Bar
Throughout the entire World Cup, this fantastic underground sports bar at the JW Marriott Dubai in Deira is offering a whopping great 50 percent off specially selected food and drink items from noon until 9pm every day. That’ll see you right for pretty much every game of the tournament (barring a few exceptionally late kick offs). With live music, pool and a whole bunch of neon lights, this is a darkened sports bar hidey hole at its best.
Open daily, noon-3am. JW Marriott Dubai, Deira (04 607 7977).

DOME Dubai
Usually a pumping club twice a week, this gothic-looking party hotspot will be swinging its doors open from noon every day during the World Cup to screen matches. Get free entry and special rates on drinks from 4pm until 8pm.
Open daily (during World Cup) noon-2am. Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City (056 992 6774).

Harvesters
With eight screens, a giant projector and a tonne of match day offers, Harvesters is running a fan zone for the tournament. Open every day from Thursday June 14 until Sunday July 15, the bar will be offering 20 percent off your bill if you’re wearing your team’s shirt, get five bottles of hops for Dhs110, and if you can correctly guess the score before kick-off, you’ll win some cool prizes.
Open daily noon-2am. Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 276 963).

Links
Over at Address Montgomerie, club house bar-meets-pub Links is going big for the World Cup, and you can watch the match with the awesome Dubai Marina skyline in the background, along with the club’s driving range. Head along from 5pm on match days and enjoy some pre- and post-match happy hours and food deals.
Open daily 5pm-11.30pm. Address Montgomerie, Emirates Living (04 390 5600).

McGettigan’s JLT
It’s a crying shame that the Irish aren’t at this year’s World Cup (you can thank a Christian Eriksen-inspired Denmark for that), because this place would have somehow been even more awesome if the chaps from the Emerald Isle had made it to Russia. With more than 30 telly screens indoors and out (you might prefer indoor by the time summer rolls around), plus a whopping great projector at The Baggot, you will be hard pressed to find a better watering hole for the occasion.
Open daily noon-3am. Bonnington Hotel, Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 378 0800).

Neighbourhood Social House & Eatery
Head over to Courtyard by Marriott, Greens Community, and you’ll be able to get your hands on some selected drinks for Dhs40 during happy hour from 6pm until 8pm with which to enjoy the game. Head over at 5pm for the day’s earlier kick off, and you’ll be able to enjoy the bar’s “power hour”, with another 20 percent taken off happy hour prices – coming in at a very reasonable Dhs32 each.
Open daily noon-2am. Courtyard by Marriott, Greens Community (04 885 2222).

Nezesaussi Grill Downtown Dubai
A former winner of Best Sports Bar at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards, this funky antipodean spot is offering up two beverages, plus chicken wings and a mysterious “special World Cup themed gift” for Dhs99. Its sister bar in Dubai Marina is also running the same promotion, so head along to either branch and get involved with the action.
Dhs99. Open daily noon-2am. Manzil Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888). The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).

Player Sports Lounge
This brand-new bar at the Sofitel Downtown recently opened, and there’s a good chance this sports bar has the best views of any sporty spot in the city. With screens available on practically every surface, you’ll always have a great view of the match.
Open Sat-Wed noon-2am; Thu-Fri noon-3am. Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 503 6128).

The 44
If you’re after a sophisticated spot for catching the game, with some cool tunes, a decent 50 percent off happy hour from 4pm until 8pm, some bar sports and even a game of bowling while you watch the match, then look no further than The 44. This sports bar-meets-gentleman’s club at the Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City has a load of screens and tonnes going on.
Open daily noon-2am. Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City (04 437 3333).

The Big Easy
Named after golfing legend Ernie Els, The Big Easy is going to be showing all the matches this year, and has got a Dhs125 minimum spend in place for the group stage matches. For the knockout stages it’ll be Dhs3459 per person, but on Tuesdays both guys and girls will be able to get five glasses of bubbly or mixed drinks for just Dhs100 from 5pm until 8pm.
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm, 5pm-11.30pm. The Els Club, Dubai Sports City (04 425 1000).

The Tap House
This gastropub on the Palm Jumeirah’s Club Vista Mare is going all out for the World Cup. With one massive screen and loads of smaller tellies knocking about, the bar already has the hardware for it, but it’s also going to be running something called the Rewards Passport. Spend Dhs200 at the bar until the end of the tournament, and you’ll get 50 different special offers on food and drink to use daily during the World Cup until the final on Saturday June 15.
Open daily noon-2am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 514 3778).

The Underground
We think it’s the Best Sports Bar in Dubai – so much so that we gave it that very title at our Music & Nightlife Awards earlier this year. With dozens of screens dotted around this London Underground-themed pub in JBR, this is one spot where you’ll never miss a kick. There’s a strong daily happy hour (with drinks available for Dhs27), plus great grub, pool tables and more. With a huge projector screen in the middle of the bar, this will be one of the most popular spots in town during the tournament.
Open daily noon-3am. Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, JBR (04 408 4257).

Tr!BeCa Kitchen + Bar
This New York-inspired bar (based on the neighbourhood of the same name) is running a really cool promotion during the World Cup. You’d want to hope to be Brazilian or German, because throughout the tournament, Tr!BeCa is offering a free drink to everyone whose national team wins. Bring your ID to prove your nationality, and if your boys have only gone and done it, you’ll get a free bevvie.
Open daily noon-3am. JA Oceanview Hotel, JBR (050 345 6067).

Trophy Room
This brand-new bar only opened a fortnight before the World Cup kicks off, so expect a super shiny finish and wide-eyed enthusiasm from all the bar staff. Not only will the bar have a special set of promotions running for the World Cup (coupled with what it’s calling the “longest happy hour on Sheikh Zayed Road”), but the bar will also serve a bunch of high-class bar snacks – think golden fries, and the like. With 11 screens in total,
Open daily noon-2am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).

Vantage
Head along to this lofty bar at the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates, where you’ll find some big screens ready to show the game. For every match during the tournament, you’ll be able to get unlimited select drinks during each match for Dhs150 per person. If all the action gets too much, head out on the terrace for some perfect views northwards towards Downtown Dubai.
Open daily 11am-2am. Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 377 2356).

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