Although the UAE is an Islamic country, alcohol is readily available in hotel bars and clubs. You can expect to pay somewhere in the region of AED 25 for a glass of beer or house wine.
There are laws regarding alcohol consumption that any visitor to Dubai should be aware of:
- It is against the law to drink alcohol in any public places.
- The legal drinking age is 21.
- There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
- It is illegal for Muslims to drink alcohol.
The law states that UAE residents are only allowed to consume alcohol if they have an alcohol license. This rule is generally ignored in hotel bars and clubs. However, if you do get into any trouble with the police and they discover that you have been drinking without an alcohol license, this offence may be added to any other charges.
An alcohol license is essential, however, if you want to buy alcohol to consume at home. You will need to submit the following documentation to your local MMI or African & Eastern (A&E) alcohol store:
- a copy of your passport with a valid residence visa
- a letter of no objection from your sponsor
- passport photographs
- an application form which can be obtained from your local MMI or African & Eastern (A&E) alcohol store.
- the annual fee of AED 160.
When your license is issued, you will be given an alcohol allowance based on your salary. This will typically be between AED 500 and AED 1,000.
You will then be able to buy alcohol at any MMI or A&E store. These can be found in most neighborhoods and are the only places where alcohol is available for home consumption. The selection is adequate and they are generally well-stocked. However, you should be aware that the staff are unlikely to be able to make recommendations.