Alcohol is sold in licensed premises, bars (usually attached to hotels) and most midrange and top-end restaurants. As a tourist, you cannot buy alcohol from a shop. The emirate of Sharjah, including its enclaves on the eastern coast, is completely 'dry'. For more local-style nightlife, head to a cafe and smoke shisha (water pipe) with a tea or coffee.

Alcohol Laws in the UAE

  • The legal drinking age is 21 except in the emirate of Abu Dhabi where it is 18. (Still, licensed premises in Abu Dhabi cannot legally serve alcohol to under-21s.)
  • Non-Muslim UAE residents can apply for a license which allows them to purchase alcohol from a designated shop and drink it in their home.
  • Non-Muslim tourists can only buy and drink alcohol in a licensed premise (hotels, bars, restaurants).
  • Drinking in public (anywhere except in a licensed premise) is illegal, as is public drunkenness.
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy in place for drink-driving.
  • Alcohol is completely illegal in the emirate of Sharjah.