The rub of the green in Abu Dhabi

How to make the most of St. Patrick’s Day.


It’s the time of year when everyone wants – or pretends to be – Irish.

Landmarks around the world are lit up in green to celebrate the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick’s Day.

Many people use the country’s national day as an excuse to let their hair down and catch up with friends.

While others deck themselves in 50 shades of green and riverdance the night away.

One thing’s for sure, though – there’s plenty of ways to embrace all things Ireland in Abu Dhabi on March 17.


If you’re anything like us, St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without sitting gazing at luxury yachts with an F1 track in the background… Okay, it’s not really how we remember celebrating them back home.

But, here in Abu Dhabi it’s absolutely possible and Aquarium is not only making it possible, but accessible, too.

On March 17, the seafood restaurant and lounge bar is offering a bucket of five bottles of hops for Dhs100. That sounds like a decent deal to us.

Open noon-1.30am. Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 565 0007).

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is home to an estimated 10,000 Irish expats and that number is rising every year.

The Abu Dhabi Irish Society is a community group dedicated to making life easier and more enjoyable for those who have swapped their lives back home for a new one in the UAE’s capital.

This year they are marking St. Patrick’s Day with a special black tie ball at the Dusit Thani.

They are promising a lavish drinks reception and five-course meal with traditional music and dancing to keep guests entertained.

Non-members are welcome too. Just be sure to email to reserve your place.

Dhs495 (members), Dhs595 (non-members). Thu, Mar 15, 7.30pm. Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street, (02 698 8888).


The rooftop venue at Marriott Downtown is bringing St. Patrick’s Day forward by a day.

The usual EAT.PLAY.LAUGH. Friday brunch is taking on an Irish theme on March 16 and the venue is offering the soft drinks and house beverage packages for half the usual price if you’re Irish, and house grape will be free for ladies at the after brunch party at the hotel’s sports bar Velocity.

Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs230 (house beverages). Fri, Mar 16 12.30pm-4pm (after party 4pm-7pm). Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi, Rashid Bin Saeed Street (056 406 2040).


This Crowne Plaza bar is getting in on the St. Patrick’s Day action with a string of promotions to celebrate.

Treble Time Out award-winners The International Playboys, who have picked up the Best Resident Band gong for the past three years, will be the stars of a fun-filled show.

The foursome often include Irish rock anthem Zombie by The Cranberries in their set, which is well worth a trip down to see them by itself.

Ladies get three free drinks on Saturday, March 17, while selected Irish beverages are included in the all-day happy hour, which runs from noon until closing in the early hours. 4am.

And you might want to go for the Shamrock Package to avail of a free flow of selected drinks and snacks for two hours between 7pm and 11pm.

Dhs150 (two hours of house beverages between 7pm-11pm). Heroes Bar, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi (02 616 6132).

Le Méridien

St. Patrick’s Day is a day for everyone of any nationality to enjoy, but there’s no doubt the Irish are the stars of the show.

On that theme, natives of the Emerald Isle can enjoy a free beverage on their big day at Le Méridien simply by flashing their passport.

But don’t despair if you don’t have one, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. Start with a bumper brunch on Friday, with Irish stew and traditional beef pie as live music from Once Duo puts you in the party mood.

See the night out at the Captain’s Arms, with a happy hour on selected Irish drinks until 7pm before a medley of the best Irish and international hit songs packs the dancefloor.

On Saturday, tuck into a hearty Irish breakfast to give you the energy to make the most of one of the most energetic national days in the world. Just don’t forget your lucky passport.

Brunch packages from Dhs139, kids under six eat free. From noon-1am. Le Méridien, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St, Abu Dhabi (02 644 6666).

McGettigan’s, Abu Dhabi
As you would expect from one of the most popular Irish pubs in the capital, McGettigan’s is going big for St. Patrick’s Day.

Expect not one, not two, but three days of celebrations in the ever-popular venue based in Al Raha Beach Hotel.

It kicks off on Thursday, March 15 with happy hour drinks from noon until 10pm, with two traditional Irish acts – Barry Casey and Suckin Diesel – entertaining the crowds from 6pm. Friday is brunch day, at a cost of Dhs229, from noon to 4pm.

Enjoy even more Irish tunes before from Barry Casey and Suckin Diesel before The Boxtones, who have performed alongside Liam Gallagher and Chemical Brothers, hit the stage at 9pm.

Then comes the main event – St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 17. Enjoy selected drinks for Dhs17 until 5pm with live music all day from Eamonn and Diarmuid, Gentleman Barstewards and the Sandtunes.

Then scrum down for an evening of rugby as the final round of the Six Nations Rugby plays out on huge screens as old foes Ireland and England clash at 6.30pm.

Various packages. Open daily noon-3am. Al Raha Beach Hotel, Channel Street (02 652 4333)

McGettigan’s, Al Ain

One of Ireland’s most promising traditional bands are flying out to the UAE to entertain crowds this St. Patrick’s Day.

The Knights, from counties Armagh and Tyrone, come with a big reputation and will be desperate to impress on their first shows here on Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16.

Kick off the weekend with the new pub’s brunch on the Friday.

Then start the big day itself with a full Irish breakfast – complete with all the carbohydrates you’ll need to see you through.

Brunch from Dhs152. Open 12.30pm-4am. Danat Al Ain Resort, Nyadat Street, Al Ain (00971 3 7046 000)

PJ O’Reilly’s

There’s a reason Ireland is so often associated with potatoes – and that’s because it stars in so many of the country’s traditional foods.

And there are few tastier native dishes than Irish stew. PJ O’Reilly’s have made the hearty, stodgy staple of the Emerald Isle the star of the show this St. Patrick’s Day.

The popular pub are welcoming visitors with their own mouth-watering take on the stew, which they are making with some traditional Irish hoppy brew. And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, try the Dublin steak and kidney pie or the bangers and champ (a creamy, buttery mashed potato dish with spring onion).

Bring the kids and let them loose in the ballroom area, which will include a bouncy castle, face painting and games.

Then sit back with a full plate and enjoy the craic (that’s Irish word for ‘fun’…).

Open daily noon-2am. Le Royal Méridien, Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi (02 674 2020).

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort

The hotel has offers in two of its venues in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day.

At the Tavern the fun starts on Thursday, March 15.

There’s loads of Irish food, drinks and music all day long for three days. From 10pm, if you wear green you’ll be in with the chance of winning a dinner for two, as well.

Meanwhile, Flavours is hosting a Paddy’s Day brunch on Friday, March 16, with loads of Irish favourites at the buffet.

There’ll be plenty of themed drinks, too.

From Dhs216 (brunch at Flavours). Fri, Mar 16 12.30pm-3.30pm. Corniche Road (02 677 3333).

Stills Bar & Brasserie

How many pints of the Black Stuff do you reckon can fit on Abu Dhabi’s longest bar?

If ever there’s a day to find out it’s St. Patrick’s Day. From 12.30pm until 6.30pm there’ll be drinks from Dhs17 as well as a green burger and Irish stew available.

A DJ will be playing the finest tunes from the Emerald Isle and the Six Nations ruby will be playing.

There’s also a chance to win prizes throughout the day.

Open noon-1am. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 3066).

The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa

If Irish pubs aren’t for you, this plush resort could be just the ticket instead.

A themed brunch starts proceedings on Friday, with a fine array to choose from.

Continue the party with Be on the Grass from 4pm to 1am, which includes food trucks and live band The Saga while you soak up the sun outdoors.

Saturday is also a fun family day out, with a petting zoo, pony or camel ride and a string of other kids’ activities from 10am to 8pm.

From Dhs348 (brunch packages). Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl, Abu Dhabi (02 616 9999).

Various venues

If you’re a fan of the Black Stuff there’s a dozen venues you’ll want to check out in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day.

In fact, from March 1 to 16 you can get a free pint between 7pm and 8pm every night.

All you need to do is buy one and slurp it to leave a foam moustache behind, then show it to the bar staff.

We can’t promise they won’t think you’re mad, desperate or worse, but they will give you a free drink.

Those of you that upload a picture of it to Instagram and tag the Irish brand will also be in with the chance of winning a perfect Paddy’s Day party for you and your mates.

The venues talking part include: Appaloosa, Blu Sky Lounge & Grill, Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant, Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant, Heroes, McGettigan’s PJ O’Reilly’s, Porters English Pub, Sports Café, Stars ’N’ Bars, Victor’s Bar & Restaurant, Y Bar.

Mar 1-16, 7pm-8pm. Various venues.

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