The whole alcohol situation in the UAE is pretty difficult to get your head round. Certain bars sell it, while others don’t. Drinking in the street is an arrestable offence and the penalties for drink driving are severe.
In addition, these rules change depending on which Emirate you’re in at the time. In effect, if you stick a can of beer in the boot of your car and drive for a couple of hours, you’ll be a smuggler, then a law abiding citizen and then a silly Westerner with loose morals. All without getting out of your vehicle.
So when some friends invited me on a beer run to an out of town off-licence, I jumped at the chance. How does alcohol get sold to the general public in this country?
In a really seedy little shop around the back of an industrial unit. That’s how.
Thankfully, they’re very strict as to who they sell to…
The sales were done through a tiny, tiny window in the side of the wall. When my friends told me we were going to “the hole in the wall” I assumed it was a family nickname. No, no, that’s an accurate description of the shop itself.
My friend, as you can see, was really pleased with the beer…and the shopkeeper was dubious.