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For footie fans, it’s probably the best 30 days to come around every four years. As we all know, Dubai excels during massive sporting events, and the World Cup is no exception. Several massive fan zones are popping up for the tournament, with iconic institutions like Atlantis The Palm and Barasti getting in on the action with huge tents. There’s plenty to look forward to when the action kicks off on Thursday June 14, so swipe through the gallery above to find the city’s best fan zones and deals.
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Atlantis The Palm: One of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks is going all-out for this year’s festival with what it’s calling “the ultimate” World Cup Fan Zone. Every match will be streamed in the Atlantis World Cup Fan Zone, which has capacity for more than 2,000 fans. With a whopping great 28sq m screen as the centrepiece, the fan zone will be split into two distinct areas. The Stadium will be the main viewing arena for fans, with the huge screen and more, while The Bench will have a chilled out vibe with a gamer’s corner, dedicated PS4 stand and even a chance to win a trip to the country that wins the World Cup. This is probably going to be one of the coolest places to catch the whole tournament. For big matches, booking a table is recommended and there’s a minimum spend of Dhs1,000. Free (ladies), Dhs100 (gents, including two drinks). Open daily throughout tournament during matches. Atlantis, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 426 2626).
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Barasti: Promising to bring “the best football experience Dubai has ever seen”, Barasti will be launching two fan zones for the World Cup. The Barasti SuperDome will have giant screens, live DJs, room for 8,000 fans and more, right down on the beach. Meanwhile, the middle deck will have its air-conditioned tent and giant, 12-metre-wide screen as per usual, so there are two areas to choose from. Open Sat-Wed 10am-1am; Thu-Fri 10am-2.30am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 318 1313).
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Fairmont The Palm Dubai’s World Cup Tent: A huge tent is being constructed at this top-notch hotel on the Palm – dedicated purely to showing every match of the World Cup. There’ll be two screens showing the games, and a range of promotions will be running throughout the month, along with a Dhs95 minim spend. Expect picnic benches, fake grass and all the other touches to make it feel like you’re in a proper fan zone. Open throughout World Cup for fixtures only. Fairmont the Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 345).
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garden on 8: Media types who are looking for a quick escape from the office in time for kick off should leg it straight over to garden on 8, where the bar’s massive terrace will be covered over to create a special World Cup tent – and of course it’ll be air-conditioned. With loads of screens (and an extra giant screen being constructed specially for it) dotted around the terrace area, and with tonne of drinks promos, events and more to celebrate the tournament, you needn’t look further. Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat noon-3am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
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Harvesters: With eight screens, a giant projector and a tonne of match day offers, Harvesters is running a fan zone for the tournament. Open every day from Thursday June 14 until Sunday July 15, the bar will be offering 20 percent off your bill if you’re wearing your team’s shirt, get five bottles of hops for Dhs110, and if you can correctly guess the score before kick-off, you’ll win some cool prizes. Open daily noon-2am. Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 276 963).
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Lock Stock & Barrel Barsha Heights: On the upper deck of this massive Barsha Heights bar you’ll find a dedicated fan zone with big screens, loads of fan gear plus drinks deals. With every match of the tournament being screened on every screen in this cavernous bar, you won’t miss any of the action. With buy-four-get-two-free on bottles of hops, you’ll be set for the match. Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am, Fri noon-3am, Sat 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).
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Lock Stock & Barrel JBR – The Walk: A dedicated fan zone called The Secret Garden is being set up at our Bar of the Year. With its own private bar, a grassy area, all the action and a bunch of food and drink deals, you’ll be set for the match. Throughout the tournament you’ll be able to get buy-four-get-two-free on bottles of hops, every Monday night for the tournament you can also join the curry club for Dhs79 which dishes up a whole curry, rice and naan bread with a house drink. The same applies on Wednesday, where you can pick select menu items with a drink for Dhs79, too. Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am, Fri 1pm-3am, Sat 2pm-3am. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 392 7120).
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Reform Social & Grill: This proper Brit pub is going all out for the World Cup, launching “Your Local Fanzone” throughout the tourney. Straight off the bat, there’ll be a specially-constructed air conditioned tent with a big screen showing every match, There will be happy hour prices on tonnes of different drinks (for matches between noon and 7pm), plus loads of games and prizes to be won. You’ll also be able to get special dishes for less, with a World Cup menu featuring burger and chips, fish and chips or a British balti (all including a pint) for Dhs99, or a Dhs225 package including a tonne of British bar bites (think mini burgers, scotch eggs, fries et al) plus five hops during all matches on after 7pm. Booking in advance is recommended. Prices vary. Daily noon-7pm. Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes, Emirates Living (04 545 2638).
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XL Dubai: Usually a nightclub, this JBR spot is transforming itself for match day throughout the tournament, and is giving away some big prizes too. Daily prizes are being given away include free entry to any chosen match day plus a free drink, ranging up to a table worth Dhs5,000 for ten people to enjoy the final. There’ll also be live entertainment after the last match of each day. Open daily, 4pm-3am. Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, JBR (052 634 1040).