Headliners is an Indian American-themed sports bar and restaurant at the ibis Hotel World Trade Centre. Are you hearing this? An Indian American-themed sports bar. Talk about a cultural hodgepodge. But somehow it works. The interior, which looks very much like a cross between The Huddle at City Max and Rock Bottom at the Ramee Rose, is bigger and slightly more upmarket than both; the chopper at the entrance making it perhaps a little more like Rock Bottom. There’s a dedicated stage where I am told homegrown and expat bands play English, Indian, Arabic and even Russian music…later in the evening than I have visited.
Where Headliners makes a clean break from similar American sports bar propositions is in its unashamedly Indian menu. Sure, you can get a steak, pasta, wings and even some horrible nachos but the rest is pure desi cuisine. Sadly, my experience has been limited to the nachos. I usually don’t eat at bars. I drink. But I must admit, the thought of a hot curry with some cold beer is very tempting. My friends and I have been to Headliners a couple of times, each straight from playing table tennis at the Dubai Sports World down the corridor of the Trade Center. And each time, except the first, we’ve been in time for their almost fantastic happy hour! Almost fantastic because, while it’s great for spirits (I consider AED32 for a double Bombay Sapphire and tonic good value), some conjus there has limited the beers to bottles – no draft, no pints – boo, down with the management.
That said, Headliners is a happy place. The staff are friendly, the pretty girls, placed at the front entrance to lure you in, especially so. My go-to guy there is a cool Indian dude called MD. He’s always been on hand to welcome us and to find us a good table, not terribly difficult considering we usually go there in the late evening, not at peak times, but still, it always feels good to be fussed over. I’ve written this review to make this point: one would think, with Dubai Sports World over and closed till next summer, we would similarly forget about Headliners till next year. But just yesterday the boys and I agreed that we miss the place and now plan on going back for a drink…or six. It’s one of those places which grows familiar on you quickly and that, for me, makes it well worth a visit.
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Xerxes physically visits (and dines at) each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat and drink. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews. What you have read was not influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org