According to the alcoholic beverage law, it is illegal to purchase and consume alcohol without a liquor license. Drinking in public and driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable offense and to drink in a bar or a restaurant you need to be 21 or older. Abu Dhabi is relatively liberal towards the alcoholic beverages and its consumption. Only hotels and sports clubs are authorized to serve alcoholic drinks in their bars and restaurants. Only Licensed liquor shops can sell alcohol to consumers with liquor license for home consumption. Supermarkets or normal shops never sell alcohol in the UAE.
Muslims are prohibited by religion and law from using alcohol. You are required to hold a liquor license by law in order to purchase alcoholic beverages legally from an alcohol shop. If you are a resident of Abu Dhabi and a non-Muslim, applying for a liquor license in Abu Dhabi is straightforward. A new government office will now be responsible for issuing liquor licenses in the emirate and the special license office will accept applications only online at its website www.auhsl.ae. The licenses are to be delivered to the preferred liquor outlet indicated in the application form. The application form can be downloaded from www.auhsl.ae and the applicants need to attach scanned copies of their passport, including the visa page, plus Emirates ID, a passport-sized photograph and a no-objection letter from their employer confirming their salary. A non-employed spouse can request a supplementary license using the same process, but must submit a no-objection letter from their sponsor in lieu of an employer. Further details can be obtained by calling 800 5353 from 8am to 4pm on weekdays. Only non-Muslims are allowed to obtain liquor license.
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