14 Countries Where Drinking in Public Places Is Banned

Countries where drinking in public places is banned

Consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages in open public spaces are banned in many countries throughout the world due to spiritual, cultural, and societal standards. Such regulations are upheld to maintain orthodox beliefs, restrain alcohol-related aggression, and ensure public safety. In this post, we will look at some of the countries where drinking alcohol in public is illegal and the rationale behind these limitations.

1. Egypt

Consumption of alcohol in public areas in Egypt, including streets and parks, is strictly prohibited. Despite this, the Minister of Tourism has granted permission for alcohol consumption in designated accommodations, bars, and tourist venues. The law also requires individuals to obtain written permission from Egyptian citizens before photographing them.

The reason for prohibiting drinking in public places in Egypt is to uphold conservative values and Islamic principles, as Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country. The consequences of breaking this law include fines and possible imprisonment. For example, in Hurghada, there are several bars, but it is always worth taking safety precautions.

2. India

Consumption of alcohol in public places is disallowed in states including Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, and Mizoram in India. These laws have been created to stop the escalation of violent behavior fuelled by alcohol as well as for public safety. Fines and incarceration are among the punishments for flouting this legislation. Nevertheless, it is still allowable to consume alcohol on sites with licenses, such as bars and hotels.

3. Indonesia 

In Indonesia, drinking in public places is illegal in the Aceh territory. The reason for this law is to enforce conservative Islamic values, as Aceh is predominantly Muslim. The consequences of breaking this law include fines and possible imprisonment.

4. Iran

Drinking in public is illegal in Iran. Production of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in Iran due to the nation’s Islamic regulations. However, home production of alcohol is legal for Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians. The consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran due to Islamic law, and the consequences of drinking can be dire, ranging from imprisonment and fines to even capital punishment.

5. Kuwait

It is illegal to consume alcohol in public places in Kuwait. Additionally, the purchase, consumption, and possession of alcohol are all prohibited by law in Kuwait. The nation has an absolute prohibition on operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, and consequences for violation can include incarceration, monetary penalties, and extradition of non-citizens.

6. Pakistan

Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited in Pakistan – it’s a strict no-no. However, license and barring areas may be set up, such as military bases and behind home gates, with prior permission from the relevant authorities. Businesses are allowed to serve alcohol, providing all guests on the premises obtain authorizing permits from the government beforehand.  

7. Saudi Arabia

Similarly, drinking alcohol in public remains strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Islam is the state religion, and unlike other Muslim countries, non-Muslims may obtain special alcohol licenses from the Sharjah government. But penalties can still be imposed if they fail to comply with the kingdom’s rules and regulations. 

8. Somalia

In Somalia, alcohol is strictly prohibited and considered an illegal act. This is due to the nation’s Islamic faith, which deems the sale and consumption of alcohol haram. Breaking this law can lead to serious consequences, such as big fines, jail time, and even public lashings. Alcohol consumption can be damaging to public well-being and moral values, so it is essential for those living in Somalia to respect the law and avoid buying or drinking alcohol.

9. Sudan

Alcohol consumption remains a controversial and divisive topic in Sudan, where it is illegal due to its prohibition under Islamic laws. As an Islamic country, Sudan punishes acts of alcohol consumption in strict adherence to Sharia law, which states that it is haram (forbidden). The consequences of consuming alcohol in Sudan can range from fines to imprisonment and even public flogging. 

10. Mauritania

In Mauritania, it is illegal to drink or possess alcohol, as these are seen as serious offenses. As the vast majority of people in Mauritania are Muslim and Islam forbids alcohol consumption, a ban on alcohol has been enforced there. It carries with it repercussions, including convictions that come with fines and potential imprisonment if caught breaking the law.

11. Libya

In Libya, drinking in public is illegal due to a ban on alcohol. Possession and consumption of this substance are considered serious offenses, with violators facing serious punishments, including fines, imprisonment, or both. This restriction on alcohol consumption in the predominantly Muslim country is due to Islamic law that prohibits its consumption. As such, even tourists or visitors must exercise caution and refrain from drinking in public to avoid coming into conflict with the law.

12. Maldives

In the Maldives, drinking in public is illegal unless in designated tourist areas such as resorts. This is due to religious reasons, as the country is predominantly Muslim, and the importation and possession of alcohol are heavily regulated clauses in the law. Anyone who violates this law risks fines and/or imprisonment. Guests in resorts and other designated tourist areas are allowed to drink as long as they comply with the regulations set by the respective resorts.

13. Brunei

In Brunei, the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages are disallowed by law due to the nation’s predominant faith – Islam – which forbids alcohol consumption. Violating this law could entail heavy repercussions, including hefty fines, imprisonment, or both. It is essential to show respect for religious customs and beliefs, and guests to Brunei should be conscious that drinking alcohol in public is a strict no-no.

14. Bangladesh

Alcohol consumption and sale are strictly prohibited in Bangladesh, and a legal permit is needed to consume or purchase alcohol. Permits are usually granted to non-Muslims; however, acquiring a permit to drink can be difficult and may require a lengthy application process. Those who are caught unlawfully consuming or selling alcohol can be subject to serious legal repercussions such as fines, arrest, and imprisonment. Additionally, there is a social stigma attached to the consumption of alcohol in Bangladesh, and those found drinking can face cultural repercussions as well.


Just like the saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” it is equally pertinent to abide by the laws and regulations while traveling to a different country. This holds in the case of consumption of alcohol in public places, particularly in countries such as Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Mauritania, Libya, Maldives, Brunei, and Bangladesh, where it’s strictly prohibited for cultural and religious reasons. 

This is why one needs to be aware of the laws concerning the consumption of the drink and obey the local regulations. Ignorance of the decrees can lead to dire outcomes, such as fines, imprisonment, or even the punishment of being publicly lashed. 

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