Goose Island Tap House is Dubai’s newest sports bar / gastro pub. Located on the side of the swanky FIVE Jumeirah Village in JVC, its interior is (as one would expect) dominated by a very well stocked bar island with at least a dozen draft levers on either side promising everything from crafts to IPAs. Being less than a week old, the impressive regiment of spirits behind the friendly troop of bartenders were all full (presumably unopened). I saw more than a hint of Stars N Bars throughout the establishment but that may be because of the vast floorplan and the number of screens everywhere. If there was an element of its home city of Chicago to the décor and ambiance, I couldn’t tell. I must say that it’s a much better interpretation of a bar/pub than The Nine, the last new pub I visited. In addition, there is a lounge (of sorts), private cubicles, private dining room, billiards tables – overkill? This is Dubai, baby.
The menu is typical pub-grub, highlighted by a full-page pork section. Canadian Head Chef Tobias Kaelble says he’s still fine tuning the menu…and kitchen. Our Chicken Wings certainly needed fine tuning. That said, the Drunken Salmon Fillet which is grilled and broiled in Goose IPA needed no finetuning whatsoever. Nor did the perfectly sauced, cotton tender Jim Beam & Honey Baby Back Ribs. Chef Tobias has recommended I try the Tacos, Braised Beef Short Ribs (which he boasts are so tender you can spoon rather than fork them off the bone) and soon to be launched pub classic, Fish and Chips. I can’t wait. Drinks are not cheap – a pint costs Dhs55, however, at happy hour which runs from 4pm-8pm they’re basically half price as part of their buy one, get one promotion – now that’s good value. Lucky residents of JVC.
Service is excellent. But it didn’t start well. Upon arrival I had an issue with one of the hostesses at the entrance. Within minutes of being seated, pub manager Jamie Smith was sitting with us and a minute later had us smiling and happy; no discount, freebie or VIP table was necessary – just good natured, old fashioned PR – brilliant. Throughout our meal a bubbly Filipina by the name of Rachel looked after us as if we were returning regulars – I have nothing but praise and thanks. If there is one criticism it is that the music was as bad as it was LOUD (and I am of a generation who dozed off listening to Deep Purple, Judas Priests and Led Zeppelin as a lullaby when going to sleep). That aside, my wife, friends and I had a great time. The FIVE is already a happening venue. There were no less than four Lamborghinis parked outside! I can see Goose Island contributing to its success. Worth a visit.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join him on his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.