It can be easy to forget that you’re visiting an Arab country at times, but when it comes to alcohol, there are strict rules in place. While you won’t have to stay dry for the duration of your visit, you will have to be careful about where you drink, and how much.
Only licenced premises can sell alcohol, and these are usually attached to hotels, but on certain religious holidays, and during the daylight hours of Ramadan, it is not sold at all. Drinking in public places is illegal, and al-fresco drinking comes in the form of designated patio or outdoor areas in licenced bars, clubs and restaurants.
There’s zero-tolerance towards drink driving: if you have an accident and any traces of alcohol are found in your blood, the consequences will be severe. A month’s jail sentence and a fine are the usual punishments.
Be careful about how you act in public: being, and acting, drunk in public places is offensive, and can you get arrested, so it’s best to take taxis directly between venues on a night out.
It’s possible to drink alcohol at home, but it can only be bought at certain places in Abu Dhabi. Most supermarkets do not stock alcohol – even food products with alcoholic ingredients.
However, there are beautiful bars and hotels all around the city, with fabulous views, top DJs and incredible service.