Drinking Wine in Dubai: 7 Tips for Expats


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to fast on alcoholic beverages the moment your feet touch the city of Dubai. Local regulations do allow non-Muslims and expats to drink alcohol as long as they are within the prescribed limits.

If you are an expat who loves wine, here are a few tips on buying wine in Dubai to help you make the most out of your drinking experience.

1. Apply for a liquor license

When you have your own liquor license, you are allowed to buy, transport and consume wine and other alcoholic beverages in Dubai. Keep in mind that the license is only valid within the emirate where you applied. If you plan to buy or transport wine in another emirate, you will need a license in that location as well.

2. Do not get drunk in public

Tourists and residents of Dubai are allowed to drink but there are stringent rules when it comes to alcohol. For one, people are not allowed to drink in public places, including beaches. The only areas where you are allowed to enjoy alcoholic beverages are in bars, restaurants and hotels that have their own licenses.

Tourists can also buy wines from Duty Free shops at the airport. However, the wine must be brought to and consumed at the hotel where the person is staying.

3. Stay for happy hour

Alcohol can be quite expensive in Dubai. To get more bang for your buck, attend happy hour. There are bars, restaurants and some hotels in the city that offer them as a means of getting more people to stay and drink.

Just be mindful of the days and times when they are being offered as not all happy hours are held during the weekend. Some are offered mid-week to offset the low attendance. For instance, some establishments allocate Tuesdays or Wednesdays for women while Mondays are for men.

4. Visit different spots

Dubai offers a wide variety of areas where expats can drink, so shop around. A common trick that expats like to turn to when going out to drink is referred to as the “Pier 7 Shuffle.” Inside the Marina is a popular nightspot filled with various bars and restaurants that offer alcoholic beverages. There, you can have a few drinks in one bar or restaurant, then move on to another floor or establishment once you have tried out their offer.

5. Drink as a group

Besides events like Ladies’ Night or Gents’ Night, there are also promotions offered by establishments that provide discounts for groups. Look out for these bars and restaurants and invite your friends or co-workers to come along. By going out and drinking as a group, you can split the bill and enjoy bigger savings.

6. Go out for brunch

In Dubai, brunches are not just for people who didn’t have time early in the morning to get a proper breakfast. Brunches here are also the best time to purchase bottomless alcoholic beverages.

By taking a tour of the different establishments, you can find bars, restaurants and hotels that offer unlimited access to house beer, wine, cocktails and even champagne for a set price and time.

7. Take advantage of coupons

There are websites, apps and other places that offer voucher books and apps. These printed or online vouchers may offer you free glasses or bottles of wine, cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. Look for these vouchers to make the most of your wine drinking experience in Dubai.

8. Become a loyal patron

Finally, licensed drinking establishments are not the only ones that offer deals for wine aficionados. There are hotels, banks and several other companies based in the region that offer loyalty programs to entice more people to do business with them.

Dubai may have stringent regulations when it comes to liquor and drinking, but there are ways for you to enjoy a few drinks without getting into trouble with the law. By following these tips, you are on your way to discovering the local bars and the excellent wines in the city.


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