As Christmas gets closer, most of us will start making plans with friends to meet up.
Whether you want to see your pals before you all go your separate ways over the festive period, or see your buddies who will be staying in the city for the holidays, a cosy pub decked out in tinsel and playing cheesy tunes is the perfect place to head.
Here are our top ten pubs in the city, as shortlisted in the Time Out Abu Dhabi Music & Nightlife Awards 2019.
Germans do Christmas well, don’t they? Well apart from the opening of presents on Christmas Eve, that is (we’re joking!). But the markets, the drinks, the cakes and decorations are brilliant at this time of year. Brauhas is especially cosy, making it one of the best places to meet up for a few ahead of December 25.
Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Ak Zahiyah (02 697 9011).
It doesn’t come much more traditional that Captain’s Arms. If you’re after a proper English pub vibe, then this is your place. It also has great deals on every day and tasty grub to go with them. Get on your best jumper and find out for yourself.
Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 644 6666).
Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant
Another great venue if you want to book a big table to hold all of your pals and sing along to Christmas songs until the small hours. The atmosphere is always great in here, but over the festive period it gets turned up a notch. Now with a lovely outdoor area if you want to put on a jacket and have some alfresco time.
Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 657 3325).
If the International Playboys don’t do a rocking version of Wham’s Last Christmas then we’ll eat our Santa hats. This subterranean venue has lots of charm and plenty of cheap drinks to go with it. Add in regular sets by Abu Dhabi’s best band and you have a winning combination.
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziyah (02 616 6132).
A popular spot for Christmas parties, this Irish bar has lots going for it all year round, but over the holidays it has an extra-warm glow about it. McGett’s also does a mean roast dinner and is the perfect venue to pull a few crackers with your mates.
Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).
As with McGettigan’s, this is a super venue to visit over Christmas, there’s just something about Irish pubs that feel extra festive. The winner of our Bar of the Year and Best Pub Food awards in 2019, PJ’s won’t let you down.
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street (02 695 0515).
Porters English Pub
Filled with wooden tables, booths with stain-glassed windows and low-key lighting, this venue at the Grand Millennium Al Wahda has all the classic makings of a British watering-hole. This includes big screens showing all the Premier League football action over the packed festive schedule, and has a house band that will be well-versed in Christmas hits.
Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 443 9999).
The Sportsman’s Arms
Another venue that does a very good roast dinner, making it perfect to catch up with your friends over a few pints and a bowl of gravy. This venue is a good option if you and your buddies have kids, too, as it’s family friendly.
International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City (02 403 4235).
As one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest pubs, there’s definitely an old-school charm to this place. With a low ceiling and busy bar, entering feels like you’ve somehow travelled thousands of miles to Britain (and back a few years…). Drink prices drop to as low as Dhs25 during happy hour and the Wednesday ladies’ night is often packed. For live music, sports and a proper laugh, this is a top venue.
Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road (02 677 3333).
Victor’s Bar & Restaurant
We love coming here for a few drinks with friends. The prices are keen, the pub food is great and the entertainment is always spot on. Do you need any more reasons to choose it as the venue for your festive night out? We didn’t think so.
Hilton Capital Grand Hotel, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street (02 666 5508).