They have been around for decades, but because we just invented a new way to describe one of our favourite dining deals we have the perfect excuse to celebrate them.
So, if you’re asked what is the latest dining deal to sweep Abu Dhabi let it be known that punches are an emerging trend.
Punches, or pub brunches to give them their full name, tend to be unpretentious, hearty and casual and are a refreshing alternative to more upmarket affairs.
Don’t get us wrong, they still combine the all you can eat and drink essentials with a party atmosphere. Or, to put it another way, you will still be presented with a mountain of food, live music, interesting drink promotions and a crowd of like-minded stomached people. But you’re less likely to have a cheese room.
All of which is all right by us.
Don’t feel pressured to dress up in a ball gown and jewels, just slip on your trainers and jeans with an elasticated waist band and check out this pick of nine of the best pub brunches in Abu Dhabi.
Why aren’t there more Wild West saloon-themed restaurants in the world? We can’t be the only ones who have been asking this question. The recently relocated Abu Dhabi stalwart 49ers is close enough to a pub to be included here and is aimed at fun-slingers who like an American edge to their brunch deal. That means sliders, fried chicken wings, pizzas and a variety of fried or breaded cheeses and a variety of brightly-coloured dipping sauces. House band the Groove Hearts provided the soundtrack and nobody will bat an eyelid if you wear that big cowboy hat, double denim and knee-high boots combo you have been trying to reintroduce to your weekend wardrobe.
From Dhs99. Fri noon-4pm. Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiya (02 645 8000).
Coopers Bar & Restaurant
Like all the best brunches, the Park Rotana pub’s signature Friday feast comes with a variety of drinks packages depending on how flush you’re feeling. Unlike others, though, it comes with the option of extending your frivolities to a full seven hours. It should be noted that it is only the drink that extends that long, food is served for four hours. That's fine though, as 240 minutes of chowing down on roast meats, beef brisket, nacho plates and more seems more than generous. We've said before that this is one of the most underrated brunches in the city and still hold this marvellous pub in high regard.
From Dhs165. Fri noon-4pm. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 65 3325).
The Al Ain Palace Hotel's bar is carving a reputation as a party spot and bookings may be required to get a seat at what could turn out to be one of the livelier spots in the emirate. The Friday feast is named Cheasy Tiger and promises to serve up 1980s and disco music as the musical soundtrack to your meal. Free-flowing drink and a spot of dancing seem to be the priority here and food is very much of a pub grub variety. Our suggestion is to pick a solid main course, burgers and over-sized sandwiches look to be favourites, and then graze the Tiger bites selection. That includes meat and mashed potato served in a martini glass and fried chicken served in a bucket. Novelty is on the menu at this fun brunch.
Dhs199. Fri 1-5pm. Al Ain Palace Hotel, Corniche Road (050 615 1064).
Fado Irish Pub
Not brunch as we've come to know it in Abu Dhabi, but this outpost of an international Irish pub chain has a cracking Saturday meal deal that it is calling a brunch and if it is good enough for them who are we to complain. Get a roast lunch with all te trimmings and a beverage for just Dhs75. As there is a happy hour from noon to 8pm you can build your own deal and maybe even enjoy the early Premier League kick off as well while you're at it.
Dhs75. Sat noon onwards. Oryx Hotel, Corniche Road (02 692 2218).
The chain now has outlets all over the world, but the Abu Dhabi outpost remains as consistent as ever. You will find a generous five hour seating with a la carte food, buffet and varied drinks packages at the multiple Time Out Abu Dhabi award-winner, but it is perhaps atmosphere where it most stands out. We reckon this is the best live music venue in the city and house band and DJ offerings make sure this day-to-night party really rocks. Stick around after the food service stops as we reckon the Irish favourite has one of the best after-brunch parties in the city.
From Dhs199. Fri 1pm-6pm. Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).
We awarded Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi's long-standing pub as the best pub and having the best pub food in Abu Dhabi, so you better believe its pub brunch is up with the best. It is certainly among the meatiest. Look out for grill and carving stations, roasts and a barbecue with masses of food. Entertainment comes from the Sweet Chilli Jam Band and the crowd are known to sing along and the atmosphere is vibrant. Grab a seat out on the sun terrace and you get the benefit of pub prices and vibes, but with a location fit for an upmarket lounge.
From Dhs199. Fri 1pm-4pm. Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street (02 674 2020).
Porter’s English Pub
The brunch ends at 4pm and karaoke starts at 5pm. Never has there been a more clearly defined statement of intent than this. It will act as an inviting call or warning cry depending on your views on platefuls of grilled and roasted meats before belting out a bit of Adele and Ed Sheeran until late. If that is your scene, and considering how busy and boisterous it could get here there are many of us out there that do like this vibe, then it is also worth noting you can extend the party for another three hours with a top up free-flowing drink deal.
From Dhs175. Fri noon-4pm. Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 495 3936).
The Sportsman’s Arms
It is in Sport City and you might see a few activities on the pitches below from the outdoor terrace or on screens dotted around the very impressive pub, but this is only a sporty occasion if you consider those ultimate eating championships to be a sport. Depending on appetite and budget you can choose to have just one substantial main course or keep going back for unlimited barbecue. The music is also good.
From Dhs150. Fri 1pm-4pm. Zayed Sports City (02 447 1066).
Victor’s Bar & Restaurant
It would be no exaggeration to call Victor's a fantastic all-rounder. We've shortlisted it as a top music venue, sports bar, after-brunch party venue and pub at the Time Out Abu Dhabi Music and Nightlife Awards 2020. So it would come as no surprise to hear it takes its pub brunch responsibilities seriously. With live music, carvery and tapas servings it certainly sets out its stall well.
From Dhs149. Fri 1pm-5pm. Millennium Capital Centre Hotel, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street (050 393 5529.