Can You Drink Alcohol in Dubai? Where to Buy, License, Age… Complete Guide

Can You Drink Alcohol in Dubai? Where to Buy, License, Age… Complete Guide

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai? This is a complete guide on drinking liquor in Dubai

Dubai is famous for its glamour and extravagance with massive shopping malls, exhilarating sights, plenty of things to do, and beautiful beaches. If you are a tourist who craves a vibrant lifestyle and unique holiday getaways, Dubai is the perfect place for you.

While Dubai has so much to offer regarding nightlife and entertainment, especially for tourists, people usually ask such specific questions as is drinking alcohol legal in Dubai, is alcohol available in Dubai, what is the legal drinking age in Dubai, Dubai alcohol license, where to drink alcohol in Dubai, et cetera.

Foregoing questions are neither fortuitous nor out of place as laws on drinking booze in Dubai were rather draconic from a non-Islamic perspective. This article answers the questions and more. Here is a run-through of what you need to remember if you want to drink alcohol in Dubai.

Read also: Can unmarried couples have sex in Dubai?

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?

Yes, one can drink alcohol in Dubai. However, it’s essential to know that laws on alcohol consumption in Dubai are different from other countries. While Dubai is tolerant of alcohol, there are UAE drinking laws that should be adhered to, and breaking them might have hefty consequences.

In other words, the UAE has strict regulations for alcohol consumption, and one could end in prison if one breaks the drinking law in Dubai. While emirate is tolerant of non-Muslim tourists and foreigners who want to drink alcohol in Dubai’s many bars and pubs, they shouldn’t consume ethanol drinks in Dubai public places as this is illegal.

What is the legal drinking age in Dubai?

The legal drinking age in Dubai, including Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and the rest of the UAE, is 21 years old and older. If you’re 21 or older, you’re legally eligible to drink liquor in Dubai, although not indiscriminately and these conditions will be touch on further in the article.

As mentioned earlier, although UAE implements the Sharia Law that prohibits the purchase and consumption of alcohol, authorities are aware that drinking alcohol is popular among the vast expatriate population, so they have established specific rules for purchasing and consuming alcohol.

Taking alcohol into Dubai

Is taking alcohol into Dubai allowed? Yes, if you are a traveler, you’re allowed to bring in four (4) liters of alcohol or two (2) cartons of beer. Each carton of beer should be 24 cans each and not more than 335 ml. According to the official Dubai Customs website, this rule is applicable regardless of purchased goods.

Where to drink alcohol in Dubai

Where to drink alcohol in Dubai
Lady drinking | Credit:

The question on where to drink alcohol in Dubai is imperative, as you can’t drink alcohol in public in Dubai, even though a liquor license in Dubai is no longer necessary for the consumption of ethanol drinks. Places to drink alcohol in Dubai include your home, hotel room, licensed bars (including hotel bars), resorts, restaurants and clubs . Buy alcohol in Dubai from licensed Dubai alcohol shops, although it shouldn’t be displayed or carried and, to reiterate, drunk in public.

If you want to have alcohol in Dubai in the comfort of your own home, delivery is already available. Dubai loosened its liquor laws to allow tourists to purchase alcohol in state-controlled stores. Alcohol delivery in Dubai costs 50 Dirhams ($13.60) per transaction. 

Delivery of alcohol in Dubai adds revenue to the stores, bars, and restaurants even if there will be restrictions again that will force them to remain closed.

Most major hotel bars serve for guests alcohol, although you have to ensure that you cannot be intoxicated or ‘look drunk’ when walking around or hanging out outside your room or hotel.

On the other hand, if you want to drink alcohol in Dubai’s restaurants, it is essential to know that these are expensive places to drink in Dubai. A pint of beer in a bar costs around AED30, a glass of wine costs around AED40, and basic cocktail costs around AED50. Some restaurants offer vouchers, happy hours, and discounts. Moreover, if you bring alcohol from duty-free or licensed stores, you can save money.

Buffets with alcohol in Dubai

With the foregoing established, here’s a quick list of buffets with unlimited alcohol in Dubai:

Nido Restaurant & Bar

This hidden gem has a friendly ‘Spanish style’ ambiance and features traditional favorites such as Empanadas, Chorizo, and Gambas. They also feature a selection of drinks, including sangrias, piscos, draft beer and more Latin-based cocktails.

Location: 3 Sheikh Zayed Road 5th Floor, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai 123979 United Arab Emirates

Pergolas Restaurant

If you want to enjoy international cuisines along with alcohol in Dubai, Pergolas is a perfect place for you. This restaurant’s interior is designed with several buffet and cooking stations that feature daily specialties for each guest. Pergolas is also ideal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner al fresco because of its beautiful terrace. Pergolas is one of the best places to drink alcohol in Dubai and enjoy Arabic to Indian and Italian to Japanese cuisines.

Location: Roda Al Murooj Al Saada Street, Dubai 117546 United Arab Emirates

Spice Island

Spice Island is a perfect place to elevate your dining experience if you want to go beyond drinking alcohol in Dubai. This restaurant features over 200 dishes created at interactive live cooking corners. Spice Island is also famous for its Friday brunch and all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffet daily.

Location: Salahuddin Road Crowne Plaza Deira, Dubai 8668 United Arab Emirates

Saffron Restaurant

Saffron Restaurant is Dubai’s most enormous buffet, with more than 220 dishes and 20 live cooking stations that feature cuisine from Southeast Asia and India. Head to Saffron for a party brunch on Fridays and dine on an international buffet for breakfast. You can also enjoy sumptuous dishes at dinner and drink some of the best-selling drinks in Dubai.

Location: Crescent Dr. Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai United Arab Emirates

Amwaj Rotana

Amwaj Rotana Hotel is located in “The Walk” at the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), famously known as Dubai’s leisure and retail strip. It features award-winning restaurants that offer Italian, Japanese, and international cuisines. After dining, you can also enjoy a long scenic walk around Dubai Marina Promenade. Amwaj Rotana can be your go-to place if you want to have a fun night while drinking alcohol in Dubai. As a plus, a complimentary shuttle service is available from the hotel to prominent malls in Dubai.

Location: Al Sayorah Street Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai United Arab Emirates

Can I drink alcohol in Dubai airport?

Can I drink alcohol in Dubai airports? Adult tourists can consume alcohol on Emirates and Etihad flights, including flights to airport hubs. However, it is still illegal to publicly drink alcohol or be intoxicated in public.

If you are a tourist and you are planning to purchase alcohol in Dubai for less, here are some reminders: the duty-free allowances for passengers to carry:

  • Duty-free allowances permit purchasing gifts with costs not more than AED3,000.
  • For purchasing alcohol in Dubai, you can purchase liquor and beers not more than 4 liters of alcoholic beverages or two (2) cartons of beer. Each carton of beer should have 24 cans and not exceed 355 ml for each can or its equivalent.

Cost of alcohol in Dubai and tips to drink for less

You should be aware of the expensiveness of booze in Dubai. Alcohol in Dubai is pricey because the local government places high taxes. The local government officials realized how much alcohol sales could be earned mainly from tourists because of Dubai’s popularity as a tourist hub. As mentioned previously, if you want to drink alcohol in Dubai, you must prepare at least AED30 to AED50 since a pint of beer in a bar costs around AED30 and a glass of wine costs around AED40. Moreover, the basic cocktail costs around AED50.

To drink for less, here are some tips that you can use buy alcohol in Dubai cheaper:

Buy alcohol from the airport duty-free. There are many stores in Dubai airport where you can purchase goods without paying tax for imported goods. Dubai International Airport sells a selection of liquor, wine, and beer at its duty-free store.

Taking alcohol into Dubai duty-free

According to the Dubai Customs, you can bring up to four (4) liters of alcohol into the country without duty-free, but you have to keep your receipt and bring your liquor straight to your accommodation. If you are seen carrying alcohol in public, you can show your receipt and inform the police officers that you are transporting it to your place.

Avail of complimentary house wine. If you want to drink alcohol in Dubai restaurants, make sure to avail their promotions every week, even in buffets. Some restaurants have a buffet option every night and offer a complimentary glass of house wine.

Try all-you-can-drink — free alcohol in Dubai

You can save when you drink alcohol in Dubai bars and restaurants with their all-you-can-drink and brunch deals. For instance, you can pay for a pizza set and get bottomless drinks for free.

Cheap alcohol in Dubai

If you want alcohol in Dubai cheap, avail your restaurant’s “happy hours”! Check your favorite restaurant’s Brunches happy hours with which liquor is inexpensive. Brunches are widely popular in Dubai, and they often include great cocktail deals.

Check out Ladies’ and Gents’ Nights. Usually, ladies’ nights are on Tuesdays, while gents’ nights are on Mondays. You can have discounts during these days and ladies can drink for free on Tuesdays.

The foregoing information should be enough on the price of alcohol in Dubai. We move on to the next point.

Where to buy alcohol in Dubai

There many places to buy alcohol in Dubai

You can either buy alcohol in Dubai online or at licensed Dubai alcohol shops. African +Eastern, and MMI networks of ethanol drinks and wine shops from which you can legally purchase alcohol in Dubai. African + Eastern and MMI have alcohol shops across Dubai. Find African + Eastern alcohol stores in Dubai here and MMI liquor shops in Dubai here. The Cellars Doors is another option and you can find them in the Depachika Food Hall, in Nakheel Mall. Please note that The Cellar Door stocks only wine.

You can also buy alcohol at Dubai airport and this is duty-free. Dubai International Airport sells a selection of liquor, wine, and beer at its duty-free store. Further, you can buy drinks in Dubai at licensed bars, clubs and restaurants. Lastly, some Dubai hotels serve alcohol. Ask your hotel whether it does; there would be no cause for concern as a license for alcohol consumption is no longer needed in Dubai.

Things remember when purchasing alcohol in Dubai will be discussed further in the article.

Can I consume alcohol in Dubai without license?

Yes, you can consume alcohol in Dubai without license. A myriad of online journals still say you need a license to consume alcohol in Dubai, but there’s been an update. Thanks to the new Dubai drinking laws which is also the UAE alcohol laws, you no longer need a license to take liquor in the Emirates. This law update was made in November 2020 as part of the UAE’s interest to not constrict people’s personal freedoms.

In the license era, drinking without an alcohol license in the UAE could result in a penalty (say, fine) or six months imprisonment or both.

An alcohol license in Dubai permitted the license holder to consume, store, transport, or possess alcohol. While you don’t need an alcohol license to drink liquor in Dubai, it’s worth reiterating that it’s illegal to drink alcohol in Dubai’s streets and public places, more so being drunk in Dubai’s public places.

It’s been established that alcohol license is unnecessary in Dubai, but the following is information on the application for it. If you wouldn’t read it, kindly move on to the best point.

How to apply for alcohol license in Dubai

Applying for a Dubai liquor license is easy and fast. Here is a quick run-through of the documents you need to prepare and the steps you need to take:

First up, the monthly limits for alcohol are now more flexible so that the customers can set their limitations. The license costs about Dh.270 annually to buy an alcohol license, which is given as vouchers.

The following are the documents required to secure an alcohol license:

  • Passport Copy
  • Visa Copy
  • Emirates ID Copy
  • Passport size photograph
  • Tenancy Contract (optional)

You can still get an alcohol license even though your company doesn’t give you the NOC letter or your original salary certificate. Here’s the step-by-step procedure in securing an alcohol license:

  1. Go to and fill up an application form online. You can also go to any 17 African+Eastern stores located conveniently across Dubai to get an application form.
  2. Obtain your liquor license application form from various alcohol outlets throughout UAE such as MMI, Spinneys, African + Eastern. You can also apply at the Special License Office online.
  3. Secure a copy of the documents mentioned above when submitting your application form.
  4. Prepare a fee of Dh.270 and wait for four weeks to process.

Penalties for breaking UAE drinking laws — drink and drive fine

Driving under the influence of alcohol in UAE is illegal. To avoid penalties, avoid driving while drunk or having alcohol in your system. If the police caught you driving drunk or under the influence of liquor, you may pay a fine and/or serve a jail term as ordered by the court. Additional penalties may also be imposed; your driving license, for example, may be suspended for a certain period. Your vehicle could also be confiscated for two (2) months.

As we draw close to the end of this article, please be aware that if you are working in Dubai, drinking liquor in your workplace is a serious offense. If you are caught drinking liquor or under the influence of alcohol at work, your employer can fire you without advance notice.


Having a fun night out over a can of beer or a glass of wine while overlooking Dubai’s dazzling skyscrapers or splendid views is undoubtedly exhilarating! But having fun doesn’t need to be reckless and costly, so make sure to drink responsibly.