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Can You Drink In Dubai? Your Guide to Alcohol in Dubai

With over 80% of Dubai’s population made up of expats, many of them from non-Muslim backgrounds, the rules around drinking alcohol are often discussed. Add to these high volumes of holidaymakers wanting to enjoy a luxurious break in the Emirati city and many people are left wondering if there are Islamic laws and customs surrounding alcohol consumption.

Dubai drinking laws

On the 7th of November 2020 a federal law change took effect in Dubai. Alcohol consumption was no longer deemed a criminal offence and a license was no longer required for visitors to be able to do so. Alcohol can only be consumed in private (such as your own home or hotel) or in licensed public places.

Anybody wanting to consume alcohol in Dubai must be at least 21. ID should be carried at all times as proof. Anyone caught selling alcohol to a person under the legal drinking age of 21 will be punished.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?

If you’re 21 or over, expat or holidaymaker, you can legally drink alcohol in Dubai. However, you will need to purchase alcohol from a licensed premises, such as a shop, and enjoyed in the privacy of your own accommodation.

Alternatively, there are a number of licensed venues, including restaurants, hotels, bars, and nightclubs that are permitted to serve alcohol to those aged 21 and over.

You may see some shops or venues with signs saying ‘dry’. This means they do not sell alcohol.

Is alcohol allowed in Dubai?

Many people wonder why Dubai has different laws and rules around alcohol compared to other countries. Alcohol is allowed in the country but can only be sold in approved venues. The reason for this is because Dubai is an Islamic location. Muslims do not drink alcohol and thus expats and visitors are expected to respect Islam and abide by Arabic laws and customs during their time in Dubai.

Can I take duty free alcohol into Dubai?

Those who land in Dubai are permitted to bring 4 litres of alcohol in. This must be consumed in private, such as your home or holiday accommodation.

Dubai drinking laws

You cannot drink in the street or be publicly drunk in Dubai. Its an offence under UAE laws. In fact, behaviour that you may associate with being intoxicated, such as making rude gestures, swearing, and public displays of affection will also be punished if caught.

There is zero tolerance for underage drinking, public drunkenness, and drink driving in Dubai. Therefore, if you’re enjoying alcohol whilst out it is sensible to not go beyond your limits.

Where to buy alcohol in Dubai

If you’re wanting to enjoy an alcoholic beverage whilst out and about in Dubai you will need to look for a licensed premises. If you’re staying in a hotel, they will likely have a bar or restaurant that is approved to serve alcohol. You can buy alcohol here but it will need to be enjoyed at the venue.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a dink at home, or in your hotel room, there will be stores approved to sell alcohol. However, these will not be the same as supermarkets you have at home. They are typically known as liquor stores and are for purchasing alcohol only. Keep your eye out for African + Eastern or MMI stores:

  • African + Eastern – Marina Mall
  • African + Eastern – Burj Views
  • MMI – Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • MMI – Bur Dubai
  • African + Eastern – Marina Walk
  • African + Eastern – Jumeirah

Enjoying alcohol in Dubai is perfectly legal, as long as you are respectful of the local laws and customs. Remember, alcohol can only be enjoyed in licensed venues, or in the privacy of your hotel room or accommodation. Keep yourself safe whilst living in Dubai with International Health Insurance or International Travel Insurance if you’re visiting temporarily.

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