It is is virtually impossible to buy alcohol to take home with you in Dubai. You can’t find it in supermarkets, malls or anywhere else. It is just simply forbidden. It is only allowed to consume alcohol in designated bars which have to be located within hotels or malls. These bars need special permits. But don’t be mistaken, once you’re in (and this is something I wasn’t expecting), the alcohol flows freely.
To begin with there’s no doorkeeper to check your ID. Also at the bar, when ordering, there’s no need to prove legal drinking age. Just open your tab and go ahead. And coming from the US, this feels pretty awkward, especially when you realize you’re in an Arab country. It even got ‘worse’ (or better if you like 😉 ). We were standing in a club, in the middle of the dance-floor and the bartenders just come walking up to you (while you’re dancing) in the middle of the crowd, to ask if you need some more drinks. That would not even happen that often in Belgium.