What. A. Final. France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in last month’s unforgettable World Cup only ramped up our appetite for football. Thankfully, the wait for the return of Premier League is nearly over. And, as Manchester United prepare to kick-start the season against Leicester City on Friday, August 10, we’ve been preparing this match-winning list of the city’s best bars to watch it in, using the Best Sports Bar shortlist from our recent Music & Nightlife Awards.
This bar might be named after an American racehorse, but it’s still a front runner when it comes to showing the footy. Not only does the venue have an array of big screens to catch all the goals, match-winning performances and, well, Manchester City’s peerless squad bulldoze everyone out of the way, but you’ll find an inventive food menu, too. Dishes include a seared tuna burger on a squid ink bun or a duck prosciutto salad. Beats a bowl of nuts any day.
Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Khalifa City, Al Forsan International Sports Resort (02 201 4131)
Blu Sky Lounge & Grill
The Premier League champions Manchester City have a home from home here, if you hadn’t noticed by the name. Inside, the sky blue décor reflects the club’s home kit. And although you’re unlikely to find any of the diehard Stretford End faithful drinking here, staff make sure all fans are welcome. There are also a string of promotions throughout the week to keep you entertained.
Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiya (02 818 4888).
Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant
Where better to watch the English Premier League, if we’re giving it its full title, than in an English-style pub. It seems no matter when you go to our Pub of the Year, it’s busy, which is obviously a good sign. Fresh off the back of a hugely busy World Cup, Cooper’s is raring to go with the club season. It boasts a pretty classic British food menu – sorry, no prawn sandwiches though. Oh, and happy hour runs until midnight – every night.
Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 657 3333).
This Irish stalwart – Highly Commended in this year’s Best Sports Bar category at our Music & Nightlife Awards – always guarantees a top atmosphere, hearty pub classics and pocket-friendly drinks deals, plus plenty of big screens to see the drama unfold on. There is also a number of food and drink promotions, too. And for Monday night matches, why not compete in the weekly bingo wings night (that’s games of bingo and unlimited chicken wings, for those not in the know) before the match starts?
Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).
NRG Sports Café
You don’t have to just watch the sporting action in this hangout spot, you can take part, too. There are plenty of bar games for you to pit your wits against your friends, including pool tables and a dart board. Although, if you’d rather sit back and watch the big game, there are a whole host of giant screens. There are decent drinks and food deals, too.
Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street (02 644 6666).
Porters English Pub
This corner of England in the Middle East is the perfect place to see the high-octane drama of Premier League football in full flow. Talking of full flow, there are plenty of beverage deals and a tasty menu to tackle while you’re there. The spacious venue is a favourite with music fans due to its evenings of live entertainment, but it also hits the right note with sports aficionados thanks to its selection of crystal clear TV screens hanging high on the walls.
Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 495 3936).
Hmm… with a name like this, you’re left in no doubt as to what the modus operandi is of this cool venue. Double checked with the VAR? Good, you can now head here and kick-back in homely surroundings. Think wooden tables, quilted leather armchairs and a dedicated game area, where sporting memorabilia adorns the walls. It’s great for your favourite bar snacks too. Think nachos, pizzas and fish and chips (and a cracking chicken wings challenge). It keeps us coming back for more.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta (02 654 3238).
Stars ’N’ Bars
Another Highly Commended sports bar at this year’s Music & Nightlife awards, Stars ’N’ bars is a brilliant choice for every game. Okay, it is American-themed, so don’t be alarmed to hear “soccer” bandied around and possibly the odd “jersey” with aging stars’ names on the back. Thankfully, the American-theme continues with the number of screens – there’s a supersized amount. Plus, you’ll find great deals and events on tap, including a chance to enjoy a different brunch every day of the week. It’s pretty much always fun and games at Stars ’N’ Bars.
Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 565 0101).
The Sportsman’s Arms
This Zayed Sports City gastropub is a classic of the sports bar genre. Housed in what is truly a world-class sporting hub, The Sportsman’s Arms is kitted out with wooden decking and features multiple widescreen televisions for live matches, including a huge projector screen for the truly big games. Staff know cheering/crying (delete as appropriate) your team on is hungry work, so don’t shy away from their classic pub grub.
International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City (02 447 1066).
As Pep Guardiola spearheaded City to their trophy-winning season, the same success was being masterminded at this venue, with, ahem, with the same Velocity. When we’re not here for the incredible Dhs12 pints on Thursday’s happy hour, you’ll often find us back here gawping at the wall-to-wall screens, giving the VAR headquarters a run for its money and then some. It’s our Best Sports Bar winner, so you know it comes recommended.
Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street (02 304 7777).