Where to watch your team in Dubai
People from all over the world means football fans from all over the world. Pretty much all the major clubs from the major global leagues are represented in Dubai and, as a result, Saturday and Sunday evenings gathers them together to watch the action from back home – whether that’s England, Spain, Germany or elsewhere.
If you’re on the hunt for fellow travellers in time for the next game, here are where fans of some of the most popular clubs meet.
Where: Wafi City
Fans of: Barcelona
Perhaps the most popular club in the region – if not the world – Barcelona consistently draw huge crowds to their games, especially in the Champions League and any encounter with Real Madrid. Seville’s in Wafi City has the dual benefits of an enormous outdoor space and a chef who knows his way around a paella dish. More people watch football here on TV than live at the nearby FC Nasr stadium.
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
Fans of: Manchester United
This has got everything you want from a pub: a big, open space, loads of TVs, mammoth portions of food that might make your doctor start planning for an early retirement and a riotous atmosphere on matchday. Manchester United might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying their global appeal, which is reflected in the multicultural crowd. Hey, you might even spot someone from Manchester.
Casa de Tapas
Where: Dubai Creek Yacht Club
Fans of: Real Madrid
A recent addition to the football fan circuit, this superior tapas place overlooking the Creek is certainly one of the posher places to watch the game with an entire section given over to private booths each with its own flatscreen TV. Obviously geared up towards Spaniards, fans of Real Madrid have made it their own in recent months. If you don’t like football, the range of paellas is an attraction in its own right.
Where: Dubai Marine Hotel, Jumeirah 1
Fans of: Chelsea (and, for the time being, Crystal Palace)
This could be one of the smarter venues to watch football in Dubai. With a micro-brewery feel, including industrial pipes to chart the progress of your chosen beverage, a mexican menu and poolside views, it's certainly a cut above the usual dive-bar bunker. But then Chelsea fans have become accostomed to five-star surroundings...
Where: Ramada Plaza, JBT
Fans of: Arsenal
Although it's styled as an "American" bar, it has all the ingredients you'd want to watch the Premier League, and it has quickly become the regular haunt for Dubai-based Arsenal fans. The opening times of 12.30pm to 3am will be enough to catch their Champions League escapades, too.
Where: Ramee Rose Hotel, Tecom, Dubai
Fans of: Liverpool, Leeds United
A long thin strip of a bar perched on the Mezzanine level of the Ramee Rose Hotel in Tecom, it’s a little surprising that this has become the home for fans of not one but two English clubs. Liverpool are the more recent arrival but with every game televised and with a larger local fanbase, they can lay a stronger claim to the space than Championship club Leeds, who still have dibs on the wall space when you first walk in. Great atmosphere when both are playing at the same time.
Where: Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City
Fans of: Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday to Thursday, this is the one of the principal hang-outs for the media set, as most of us at Shortlist know only too well, but on weekends it becomes the focal point for fans of the north London club – the number of whom still takes us by surprise. We look forward to it being renamed the Harry Kane bar by the end of the season.
The Centre Circle Sports Bar
Where: Ramada Chelsea Hotel, Al Barsha
Fans of: Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Rangers
This must get pretty busy on a Saturday considering three different sets of supporters of three historic clubs have chosen to make it their home in Dubai. And, with their respective fortunes in recent years in mind, we can only conclude misery loves company. Still, new season and all that?
Juventus: Lounge Cafe Italiano, Dubai Media City
Celtic: The Dubliners, Le Meridian Airport Hotel
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Garden on 8, Media One Hotel
Everton: Double Decker, Murooj Rotana
Southampton: Barasti, Mina Siyahi