When it comes to watching live sport, a fan’s choice of sports bar is very often as important as their choice of team. You can’t go and cheer your football team on while sipping cocktails and nibbling foie gras; you need a pint glass, several widescreen TV’s, sports shirts nailed to the wall, and of course, lots of bunting.
The next time you plan to head out to watch Chelsea take on the Chennai Super Kings at Yas Marina Circuit, give on one of these bars a try.
1. The Underground Pub
Why? Bar-goers may be surprised to see that a London Underground 1996 Rolling Stock has crashed through the bar, trapping the bar staff inside. No matter, this is by design. The bar resembles a London Underground station, with red-brick interior and general darkness. Unlike the real Underground, though, it doesn’t smell awful and is air conditioned.
The atmosphere Being themed around one of London’s proudest engineering fetes, the bar is ideal for those of you who follow London-based teams, be that Arsenal or Harlequins. It’s no surprise, then, that it is usually full of Liverpool fans.
Location Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, JBR Times 12pm to 3amdaily Happy Hour 4pm to 8pm, Dh25 on selected beverages Phone 04 408 4221 Website Underground
2. The Locker Room
Why? Al Barsha isn’t short of bars that like to show live sports, so for us to choose The Locker Room implies that it must be worth it. There are a brace of pool tables and lots of available seating. We lost count of how many TV’s are mounted to the walls, but that just means you can watch multiple sports simultaneously.
The atmosphere The fact that there are myriad TVs littering every square inch of wall means that pockets of fans can congregate together in their own huddles. The various partitions mean that those wanting to watch football can watch football, those wishing to watch cricket can watch cricket, and those who like to argue can fight over what is shown on the big screen at the end.
Location Golden Tulip Hotel (not the Golden Tulip Hotel Apartments), Al Barsha Times 1pm to 2am daily Phone 04 341 7750 Website The Locker Room
Why? Before we jump the gun here, we should mention that Barasti isn’t a dedicated sports bar, despite the many screens and regular promotions. However, when there’s something big on, think the World Cup, then this popular semi-open air bar goes the whole nine yards. They usually set up a massive screen, so even the tiniest jockey can still follow the action.
The atmosphere For a loud and enthusiastic atmosphere, it’s hard to top Barasti on a big night. The crowd and seat economics usually suggest that unless you camp out the night before, you’ll be standing. It’s a non-stop party.
Location Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road Times 10am to 2am Happy Hour 4pm to 7pm on selected beverages Phone 04 399 3333 Website Barasti
4. Crown and Lion
Why? If you’re British, then the chances are you will want to watch live sports in a pub, and it doesn’t get much more homely than the Crown and Lion. The wood panelled walls and earthy aromas are welcoming, it’s the kind of place you can go wearing your football shirt and not feel like you’re out of place.
The atmosphere The Crown and Lion has a wonderful “pubby” atmosphere complemented with several screens and lots of seating. There’s enough standing space to squeeze in for big games – it almost feels like home.
Location Byblos Hotel, Tecom Times 11am to 3am Happy Hour 6pm to 8pm Phone 04 448 8000 Website Crown and Lion
Why? While McGettigan’s isn’t exclusively a sports bar chain, they know their conversions from their offside rules. The popular Irish chain is a great place to watch live sports, particularly Premier League football and any form of rugby. A word of advice, though: if the Six-Nations is on, you’d be advised to wear green…
The atmosphere McGettigan’s offers a great atmosphere and the clientele is generally Irish – surely the nicest possible clientele. This means that if you’re looking to catch rugby or GAA, you’ll be doubtless carried away with the night.
Location DWTC and the Bonnington Hotel, JLT Times 12pm to 3am Happy Hour 2pm to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday Phone 04 378 0801 (DWTC) & 04 378 0800 Website McGettigan's
Why? Harvesters Pub is the home of the Manchester United UAE Supporter’s club, so by default if nothing else this homage to the English “local” is a fine place to watch live sports. It may not be the most spacious of places, but its urban pub feel makes watching sports feel that little more intimate.
The atmosphere If you’re there to watch Manchester United try and restore some honour, then by joining fellow Red Devils you won’t find a better atmosphere. Despite its average size, it still feels gentlemanly.
Location Crowne Plaza, Trade Centre Times 12pm to 1.30am Happy Hour 5pm to 8pm Phone 800 276 963 Website Harvesters
7. Fibber Magee’s
Why? For those who like to pack into a tight, crowded pub, then it doesn’t get tighter or more crowded than Fibber Magee’s. The back-alley pub is a little slice of Ireland, with barrels, posters of toucans, and a stairway to nowhere. If you want to watch sport in the same way as you do in Eire, then Fibber’s is the place to go.
The atmosphere Due in part to its more intimate proportions, Fibber’s always has an electric atmosphere about it, whether they’re showing the Premier League, IPL, rugby, or of course, GAA. You’ll queue at the bar like you do back in Dublin on a busy Saturday – if nothing else it will cure your homesickness.
Location Saeed Tower One, Trade Centre Times 8am to 2am Happy Hour 4pm to 7pm Phone 04 332 2400 Website Fibber Magees
8. The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill
Why? Ok, all sports bars do bar food, but few do it quite so well as The Huddle. Both locations – Bur Dubai and Al Barsha – are large bars, meaning that for bigger broadcasts the atmosphere is superb. It’s not outrageously priced either.
The atmosphere The Huddle usually draws groups of friends to its bar, and the openness makes it one of those places that’s easy to mingle. There are enough screens to keep warring sports apart.
Location Citymax Hotels in Bur Dubai and Al Barsha Times 12pm to 3am Happy Hour 12pm to 8pm Phone 050 501 5952 (Bur Dubai) Website The Huddle
Why? Girders is an industrial themed sports bar located at the JA Ocean View Hotel in JBR. Instantly, then, it makes sense on many levels. Its location at the end of The Walk means that you can shop around or grab a light bite to eat before you head off to catch the game. Oh, and draught taps on the table, that’s another great reason.
The atmosphere It can get serious, depending on the game and the teams playing. But overall Girders is a great place to watch sports. Its industrial theme will help things stay cool when you find yourself 6-1 down against Stoke City.
Location JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR Times 4pm to 3am Happy Hour 4pm to 7pm Phone 04 814 5599 Website Girders
10. Quantum Sports Bar
Why? If you like to watch your live sports surrounded by horse brasses, hops sacks, and Left wing views on economics, then you won’t fit in at Quantum. This bar puts a far more sleek and polished angle on the type. This well-appointed, contemporary bar is lined with vinyl ceiling tiles, Formica strips, strip lighting and a silver finish.
The atmosphere It’s a much more sedate vibe at Quantum, with the focus being more on the actual watching of sports rather than the boisterous chanting that normally goes with it. If you want to catch a game in more sophisticated surroundings, then here’s the place.
Location Melia Dubai, Mankool Times 2pm to 2am Phone 04 386 8111 Website Quantum