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Eating and drinking in Dubai and the Emirates
Dubai’s myriad immigrants have brought with them a huge variety of cuisines to the extent that whether you’re looking for vegetarian-friendly Pakistani food, rich Lebanese dishes, comforting American classics or rustic Italian offerings, you’ll be able to find them easily. Throughout the city there is a huge range of places to go – many hotels even have delicious restaurants in their own right. As with shopping in the city centre, you can spend as much or as little as you like on food. There are incredibly cheap and yet delicious Indian meals available for less than £2 per head. At the other end of the spectrum you’ll find gourmet restaurants serving up sumptuously decadent food at eye-watering prices.
Shawarma and falafel are both very popular and cheap fast-food style meals if you just want to fill up quickly. You’ll also be able to find all the brands you’d expect on a high street – branches of KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks are everywhere.
Drinking and Nightlife
Dubai has a far more relaxed attitude to alcohol than any of the other member states of the United Arab Emirates and indeed almost all of the Middle East. There are many bars and nightclubs and the nightlife can certainly be described as thriving. On any given night you can find sets by world class DJs and overflowing clubs.
Whether you’re looking for quiet, romantic drinks in a friendly place, a swanky bar serving cocktails or somewhere with an all-out party atmosphere, you don’t have to look far. Your hotel will likely have at least one bar/club attached to it. However, given all of this, it’s important to remember that Dubai still runs on conservative Islamic laws. Alcohol is only available on licenced premises, supermarkets do not sell alcohol. Alcohol is not sold on religious holidays or during the day on Ramadan to anyone, including non-Muslims.
Drinking in public is illegal – this is strictly enforced. It’s also worth noting that while drinking and driving anywhere in the world is a terribly bad idea, it is especially so in Dubai. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding people driving while intoxicated. Just being caught will incur a heavy fine and could even result in jail time. If you are involved in an accident while intoxicated you will be fined, serve a prison sentence and then be deported.
The holy month of Ramadan will be celebrated in the late summer (2 April-1 May 2022, 22 March-20 April 2023). During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours. As a result hotels in the United Arab Emirates have restrictions on alcohol, food consumption and entertainment between sunrise and sunset. At nightfall these restrictions are lifted and normal eating, drinking and entertainment policies are resumed.
Eid Al Adha falls between sunset on 9-13 July 2022 and 28 June-2 July 2023, and starts with a 24 hour dry day followed by a three day celebration. Please ensure you are aware of these restrictions, and that they are subject to change.