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Alcohol in the UAE



News Update:  Dubai has reversed ban on cooking with alcohol



The recent reports that Dubai banned the use of alcohol in cooking have been retracted with authorities claiming the notice was misinterpreted by restaurant owners.


In March 2010, Dubai reportedly banned Restaurants from cooking with alcohol and so an end to traditional European deserts, western & Japanese cooking techniques.  Restaurants in violation of the total ban, will be fined up to Dh 20,000 in reflection of the muslim country that they operate in.  However, since the international news reported on this disappointing news for restaurants, CNN reports that the authorities have retracted their intention to remove alcohol from menus.  The new guidelines are back on the discussion agenda and we will report the findings here shortly.


If you live in Dubai as an expat, you can apply for an alcohol license allowing you to purchase a limited amount of alcohol for private consumption in your home.  However, be aware that your license permits you only to carry the alcohol from the shop to your home and you’re advised to do this in the privacy of your own car, rather than a taxi or public transport.


Consider though that drinking or being drunk in public is illegal and will be viewed seriously by the locals and authorities.  We have received case reports of people who have been drinking at licensed premises (not to excess) and been reported by taxi drivers on the way home.  This can result in an overnight stay at the police station.  Taxi drivers are notorious for dropping you off at the station, rather than your home, particularly if you are loud or impolite.


Top Drinking in Dubai Recommendations:



  • If you buy alcohol, drive it straight home preferably in the comfort of your own car.  If you do take a taxi, keep your alcohol concealed, even if you have a license.


  • Do not leave your home after drinking, in case you are reported as being under the influence.


  • Avoid alcohol at venues other than your home.


  • If you are planning on drinking outside of your home, stay well within your limits & make plans in advance on how you intend to return home.  If catching a taxi, be polite & make sure you are not drunk upon entering the vehicle.


  • Do not “hang around” outside venues where alcohol is consumed as it has been known for people to be arrested randomly at these places.  Even one drink would be enough for police to detain you.


  • Even if you see others drinking in public, be aware they are risking prison & deportation.


  • Do not under any circumstances drink and drive in Dubai.  The limit is 0.  Even if you are simply moving your car from the lobby of a hotel to a car park, you can and will be arrested as someone recently found out.  You will be arrested, blood tested & detained.  The sentence could be anything from 1 month to 3 years and a large fine.  Deportation is highly likely.


  • Be even more careful and respectful during Ramadan, where you may be thrown in jail until the end of Ramadan for drinking related offenses.


  • Do not drink Alcohol in the Emirate of Sharjah, ever.

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