13 places to watch Euro 2016 in Dubai
No sooner do you start to miss the end of the football season than an enormous beast of a major international football tournament rolls around to get the blood pumping again. Euro 2016, which is being held in France this summer, is the biggest ever European Championships, with 24 teams and 51 matches required to find a winner in Paris on July 10.
For us in the UAE, that means a solid month of matches to help keep us entertained. Helping out is a pretty healthy list of places that will be showing the games, from the traditional pubs and cafés that have become Saturday evening favourites during the regular season to tented mini stadia with hosts, big screens, fussball tables and a load of beanbags to trip over on your way back from the bar.
Here is the ShortList guide to where you might want to be heading with your mates to catch each of the 51 kick-offs.
Casa de Tapas
Home to Real Madrid’s Dubai-based fans between September and May, this classy tapas joint overlooking Dubai Creek will be looking to become Spain supporters’ base for the summer – although they’re keen to stress everyone is welcome to their 14 TVs and large projection screen.
There are also plenty of promotions to take advantage of throughout the games.
If this bar were a team: Italy. Plenty of passion, lots of noise and probably a late, late finish.
Where: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Contact: +9714 416 1800
Qube Sports Bar
There is an awful lot to get stuck into at Qube in the Meydan Hotel this summer – making the drive out to Nad Al Sheba totally worth it. For regular punters, there is a daily happy hour between 8pm and 10pm (not during matches), there are 16 screens and four cube screens in the bar area, a match-by-match fantasy game and a penalty shootout, with hotel, food, drink and golf prizes all up for grabs.
On the upper level, special packages can be booked by the match: groups of up to six can get 24 drinks for the price of 12, unlimited soft drinks and finger bites all for AED900. For up to eight guests, you can double the drinks and food for AED1,750. You’ll also have your own dedicated team looking after you.
If this bar were a team: Iceland. It might be off the beaten track, but this could be a surprise contender.
Where: Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba
Contact: +9714 381 3780
Lock, Stock & Barrel
This raucous, high-ceilinged New York-style bar – all exposed brick, industrial touches and a mammoth speaker wall – has burst onto the scene in 2016 to become one of the go-to places for music and sport. In addition to their 10 screens, including what we assume is the biggest non-projector screen in any bar in the country, they have also entered into a deal with a major drinks supplier (from Holland, if you want to guess) to create a special fanzone for the Euros.
Upstairs, on the balcony-like mezzanine level, are two semi-enclosed areas that can be booked out – ideal for any England fans who want to wallow in misery in private after another penalty defeat. In fact, there will be a special roast dinner deal whenever England play.
If this bar were a team: Belgium. It’s come from nowhere to be a genuine favourite.
Where: Grand Millennium Hotel, Tecom
Contact: +9714 514 9195
Story rooftop lounge
We should really start referring to this place as the Story Stadium, which is what it will become for the duration of the Euros. The venue in Knowledge Village will completely transform from a lounge bar into a football fan palace, including fake grass, a tiered stand, hospitality boxes with their own TV screens and even an “away end” for when multiple games are on. There will also be special packages on Thursday and Friday nights – AED250 between 8pm-11pm – and a stack of deals and loyalty point schemes for repeat visits.
For large groups, or even corporate entertaining, there are four hospitality booths for up to 14 people each. For AED5,000 a pop, there is all-inclusive food and drink for three hours – and your own TV.
If this bar were a team: Wales. Unfashionable? Come on, there’s some genuine quality in there.
Where: Holiday Inn Express, Knowledge Village
Contact: +971 55 773 0010
This one is primed to see some major action this summer. The newly opened bar in the ever-popular Amwaj Rotana at Jumeirah Beach Residence has four high definition screens and they are promising to serve up plenty of deals during the matches. They’re even keeping the outside terrace open, if you fancy braving the evening temperatures when the games are on. If you want food, they’ve got a special deals for groups with big appetites.
If this bar were a team: England. This year, there’s a fresh, dynamic face to the long-established brand.
Where: Amwaj Rotana, JBR
Contact: +9714 428 3084
This looks set to be a popular place for the Springs-Meadows-Greens-JLT dwellers this summer. Their designated fan zone offers a ridiculous 22 TVs and two giant screens – both indoor and outdoor – and food and drink packages such as a drink and a burger for AED99. For AED80, there’s also a fan package that will get you two drinks, a snack and a t-shirt. Ensuring people won’t get bored at half-time, there is a giant Jenga, floor fussball, predict-the-score games and even a dribble challenge. Score.
If this bar were a team: Ukraine. What happens between the games might just be more interesting than what they deliver during them.
Where: Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills
Contact: +9714 417 9999
Barasti Beach Bar
Do we really need to describe this place? Is there any possible way you won’t end up here for at least one game over the coming weeks? The sprawling bar-by-the-beach is going undercover for the Euros, with a giant canopy covering the middle deck and air-conditioning units keeping everything at a cool 22 degrees. Go down, grab a spot and spend the entire first-half waving to everyone you know. No one does it quite like them.
If this bar were a team: Spain. It might be a little long in the tooth now, but this is a proven winner.
Where: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina
Contact: +9714 399 3333
Although the name and reputation implies a Southern Hemisphere, rugby-obsessed place, this is gearing up for the Euros with a range of drink-bucket-and-food specials during the tournament. With 19 giant TV screens and some neat sporting arcade games, there are not many better places in Downtown to catch the action.
If this bar were a team: Turkey. Not really Europe but they always bring their A-game to the table.
Where: Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown
Contact: +9714 888 3444
This slick, split-level newcomer to the sports bar scene is going all out for the Euros. On the upper level is a fan zone, with giant screen, PlayStation console football, fussball table, photo wall and a nightly happy hour from 12am-2am. There is a AED50 charge on the door but that can be redeemed on food and beverages when you’re settled and singing.
If this bar were a team: Poland. Red and white and plenty of fire power up top.
Where: JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay
Contact: +9714 414 3000
A whopping 23 HD screens are on offer in this popular spot in Bur Dubai, but most eyes will be drawn to the one-of-a-kind 165-inch digital wall and a 100-inch diamond screen. There is also a stack of special offers, including a five brews and a bucket of wings for just AED89.
If this bar were a team: Croatia. Might not win it but there won’t be many better kitted out.
Where: Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai
Contact: +9714 407 8000
Dhow and Anchor
Among all the attractions on offer in their special Euro 2016 tent, they are offering the chance to win free drinks every time England win a game – which is either patriotic pride or confidence in another limp tournament performance.
If this bar were a team: Northern Ireland. An old favourite making a welcome return.
Where: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Al Sufouh
Contact: +9714 432 3232
Reform Social & Grill
The ever-popular gastropub in The Lakes is creating a special “lads den” for the Euros, with a full gaming zone as well as all the live sport on their 60-inch screens. There are plenty of prizes, too, including a trip to London. Don’t miss the family too much, eh guys?
If this bar were a team: Czech Republic. The quality ensures this will be the neutrals’ favourite.
Where: The Lakes
Contact: +9714 454 2638
The three pubs that make up the McGettigan’s chain will be absolutely rocking this summer as both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have qualified for the tournament – the first time that’s ever happened. The JLT venue, the original and some might argue the best, has a special tent in the garden area to cope with the crowds, as well as two giant screens and 20 plasma TVs. Beverages will be served from 8pm onwards, with a happy hour running until 9pm, Sunday to Thursday in Dubai and 8pm-10pm daily in Abu Dhabi. Even if your blood doesn’t run green, it’s one place you really need to sample this summer.
If this bar were a team: Republic of Ireland. The craic will be mighty, whatever the result.
Where: Bonnington Hotel, Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Contact: +9714 378 0800