Considering it is an Islamic country, Dubai is a very tolerant country. Some products that are considered to be against Islam are allowed but they have what is called a “haraam” tax (’haraam’ means forbidden) which is 30% tax on anything that is against the Muslim religion. This includes bacon, pork products and obviously alcohol.
In Dubai it is illegal to sell or offer alcoholic drinks to Muslims. Dubai does have bars and nightclubs attached to hotels and you can also drink in your own home.
To buy alcohol in Dubai to drink at home you need either a liquor licence or you can buy duty free on your arrival in to Dubai. Duty free allowance for non-Muslims only is 2 litres of spirits and 2 litres of wine per person!
It is against the law to drink alcohol in public places e.g: in the street, in the desert or at the beach. During Ramadan, only hotels can serve alcohol and then it is only allowed to serve after 7pm.
Public drunkenness and driving under the influence of alcohol are punishable offences. In both respects there is a zero tolerance, you will be arrested.
How do I get a Liquor Licence?
To obtain a liquor licence you must be non-Muslim;
You must be resident in Dubai (have a Residency Visa);
You must earn a minimum monthly salary of 3,500AED;
You must be at least 21 years old;
If you are married – only the husband can apply for a liquor licence. However, he can send a letter to MMI or A&E asking for his wife to be allowed to buy alcohol on his licence. In order for her to purchase alcohol this letter and the licence must be shown. The letter will be signed and stamped by the manager of the store to allow it to be effective.
Alcohol in Dubai is only available to purchase for home consumption at one of 2 stores: African & Eastern Ltd. (A&E) – they have 5 stores in Dubai; Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) – they have 6 stores in Dubai.