Head to the Crown & Lion in Tecom for some homely grub and bar games Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Player of the match

The Underground, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina; 04 408 4221

It might not be the biggest, tallest or most impressive looking player, but it’s the highest goal scorer all season and that has to count for something when the big games are called.

The staff, promotions, food and screens are on the same page as all the players and this bar “just works”, according to its many fans.

Must-have dish: The hot dog and fries.

Starting eleven

The Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina; 04 399 0009

The ultimate goal zone with a view, Zero Gravity is the newest striker on the pitch. One of the year’s must-do venues, it is certain to go all out this World Cup. Zero Gravity will be transformed into a Brazil-inspired sporting stadium backed by adidas, PlayStation and others. The deals promise to be off the hook.

Must-try dish: The Golden Boot hot dogs and the Defender steak and kidney or chicken and mushroom pies, served with potato wedges.

Irish Village, Al Garhoud; 04 239 5000

A regular in the line-up, this one is a sporting legend and stalwart. It will always be there, you know what you’re getting — good service, serviceable food and reasonable prices — and it will never let you down.

Must-have dish: Has to be the carvery roast.

Barasti, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi; 04 399 3333

The beachfront bar has become famous for its giant 1,200-capacity air-conditioned mega dome. Inside, all the action is beamed onto a 12-metre screen — the equivalent of watching an area the size of 100 television sets. Entry is free and beverage bucket deals feature from kick-off until the final whistle blows.

Must-try dish: The fish and chips hits the spot.

The Arena, Jumeirah Beach Hotel; 04 406 8874

This popped up a few years ago and has fast become a fan favourite. Expect to queue up to get in for the popular games, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a family location. The Arena has seating for 600 people, a state-of-the-art 1,332-squaremetre screen and a supervised children’s zone. Entry is free but the annoying voucher scheme for food and beverages is a niggle.

Grand Hyatt, Garhoud, Dubai; 04 317 1234

This is the unofficial home of German football fans, and you’re guaranteed a great night of fun here. For Dh45 per person you get access to the tent and one beverage of your choice. Group packages starting at Dh135 per person include three beverages and a snack for a booking of a minimum of 30 people per table.

Frevo, Fairmont The Palm; 04 457 3388

It’s football Frevo for this all-new striker. As the hotel headquarters for the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse) welcomes all footie fans to watch live games on the big screen. There’s a minimum spend of Dh150, making things a little more exclusive than other venues.

Must-have dish: Brazilian-inspired bite-sized picanha (steak) skewers and fried calamari.

McGettigan’s, JLT and DWTC; 04 378 0800

With a Summer Sports Stadium at JLT and a VIP Football Fanzone at DWTC, the folks behind McGettigans are leaving nothing to chance. Indoor grass, a World Cup scoreboard, country flags, fun giveaways and even floodlights will set the scene, while the beverage promotions will keep things interesting.

Must-have dish: Bangers and mash — without a doubt.

Football Central, Emirates Golf Club; 04 380 2222

A luxurious air-conditioned, purpose-built chalet offering premium hospitality and live broadcasts in high definition of all the matches. Tables of ten can be reserved and for only Dh675 you and nine friends can enjoy optimum viewing, two deluxe snack platters and select beverages.

Goodfellas, Regal Plaza Hotel, Bur Dubai and Ramee Rose Hotel, Tecom; 04 355 6633 and 04 450 0111

These are lively venues, although Tecom is slightly calmer, but they have always ticked all the boxes when it comes to sports. Stay loyal to the year-round sports bars and you’ll be rewarded with price-busting beverage deals and hearty meals. And with the number of screens they have, every seat is a great vantage point.

Must-have dish: The Goodfellas pies are legendary and huge!

Loca, Dubai Marine Beach Resort, Jumeirah; 04 346 1111

Self-service beverages and decent Mexican food give this place an edge. Open daily from noon to 3am, there’s no need to worry about timings here.

Double Decker, Al Murooj Rotana, Dubai; 04 321 1111

A Fifa World Cup just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to this defender. An award-winning Brit institution, it’s guaranteed to be packed to the rafters. A fully air-conditioned tent for up to 500 fans boasts 13 LED screens.

Must-have dish: Hot shawarmas fresh off the grill.

The Reserves

Café Habana, Souk Al Bahar; 04 422 2620

Head to this undiscovered substitute for some of the best deals in town, including two beverages and Diablo Wings or Taquitos Caseros (Tacos) for just Dh110, a pitcher and a Diablo Sandwich or burger for Dh180 and — best of all — the Viva La Fifa Menu (two courses) and half a beverage for Dh125.

Must-have dish: The signature Cuban-Mexican sharing platter.

Voda Bar, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah; 04 453 0444

Try something new and do sports in style at this upmarket bar with Japanese-themed food. Who says sushi and sports don’t mix? There are bucket promotions and two-for-one offers every night.

Must-have dish: The Japanese style Wagyu burger.

Crown & Lion, Tecom; 04 448 8000

The Crown & Lion is a traditional British sports bar that offers homely grub and bar games. If you’re in the neighbourhood and don’t fancy venturing further, it’s a good option. It has eight large LED screens and is open from 11am to 3am.

The Huddle, Citymax, Bur Dubai and Barsha; 050 100 7065 and 04 409 8000

A lively international hang-out in Bur Dubai. Also check out the smaller Barsha alternative. Both will create a World Cup vibe with themed decor and beverages. The bar in Bur Dubai features a number of giant state-ofthe-art televisions and projectors with 32- to 80-inch screens.

Salero Tapas and Bodega, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates; 04 409 5888

A wide range of World Cup specials inspired by different regions and continents will be served daily from 8pm until midnight. Dh85 per food item, beverages from Dh40 to Dh65. Dh150 minimum consumption per person is applicable.

Must-have dishes: fish and chips, veal schnitzel, mini burgers and quesadillas.

Bidi Bondi, Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah; 04 427 0515

A friendly Australian hang-out (so pretty rugby focused), which will be showing all the World Cup games. Bidi Bondi brings together all the laid back ways of life that everyone loves about Australia and New Zealand.

Boston Bar, Jumeirah Rotana, Satwa; 04 345 5888

The atmosphere is boisterous, but not bewildering. Enjoy special deals on food and beverages. Support your favourite football team in Brazil at any participating Rotana hotel in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Al Ain, and you could win holiday prizes.

The Abu Dhabi Troops

Du Forum, Yas Island; 050 905 5580

This venue will be screening World Cup matches throughout the tournament. It has free entry for all ages, with food packages on offer. Visit www.abudhabisummerseason.ae

McGettigan’s, Al Raha Beach Hotel; 04 378 0800

All games will be shown live, and if a red card is shown to a player during a match, McGettigan’s will halve the price of beverages.

Rush, Viceroy; 02 656 0600

All games will be shown live on a supersized screen, with Brazilian menu and beverage promotions on offer. Available for individual and group reservations. Open sunset-2am.

The Shisha Subs

Al Hadiqa Restaurant, JBR; 04 399 5533

Watch the World Cup as you enjoy new shisha flavours such as Apple Zest and Caramel Cookie.

QD’s, Dubai Creek Golf Club; 04 295 6000

Chill out and enjoy the World Cup in a chic atmosphere with a shisha, pizza and snacks. Special table and Ramadan packages are available. Open from 5pm daily.

Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm; 04 426 2626

Shisha and football is a perfect combination here this World Cup season. Enjoy the pristine white beach and Mediterranean favourites from the kitchen.

— With staff inputs