I’m going to Dubai soon with my sister and two nieces. We are all over 25 and enjoy drinking alcohol socially, with a meal etc. None of us drink to excess or to get drunk. I’ve seen conflicting information about what is and isn’t permitted for foreigners regarding the consumption of alcohol. Are hotels allowed to serve alcohol to their guests? What about restaurants that are not part of a hotel?
Disclaimer: I have never been to Dubai, but all online sources I have found are consistent.
In Dubai, it is prohibited for resident moslems to buy and consume alcohol. Non-moslem residents and visitors above the age of 21 are allowed to buy and consume alcohol with restrictions similar to those in many western countries.
- Alcohol is sold at retail stores. Both the retailer and the customer are required to have a license. Such licenses are issued to non-moslem residents, but seem difficult or more or less practically impossible to get as a visitor.
- Alcohol is sold for immediate consumption at licensed bars and restaurants. Visitors are allowed to buy and consume alcohol at these venues.
- Alcohol consumption in public places (and it is obvious that this means 'outside licensed venues') is strictly forbidden and often prosecuted.
- Being under the influence of alcohol is prohibited in public, but there does not seem to be a clearly defined limit. Staggering around obviously drunk is probably not a good idea.
- Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.
Or maybe not.
It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed.