Buying Alcohol in Qatar
Where to buy alcohol in Doha
The only licensed shop you can buy alcohol at is the Qatar Distribution Company. They have only two shops in the country, one of which is in Doha. Nevertheless, the Doha branch, though hidden away in a dusty corner of the city (next to the Department of Islamic Affairs!), is superb. There is a large range of alcohol, though it is slightly weak on beer, the shop is large and cool and the staff extremely helpful. Prices do vary, but in general expect wine and beer to be a lot more expensive than the equivalent in Europe. (Check out our blog for regular updates on the cost of living.)
To buy alcohol, you will need an alcohol permit, which can be obtained at the QDC - see below for details. Paradoxically, you need to show an alcohol permit to enter the shop! You can also purchase alcohol (to drink on the premises) from hotels.
Qatar Distribution Centre: Contact Details
Address: PO Box 9483, Doha, Qatar
Directions (for Doha Branch of the QDC)
Drive along C-ring road from the airport. You will come to Ramada junction - traffic light signals with the Ramada hotel on your right. Turn left onto Salwa Road. Drive over the fly-over and along Salwa road. Eventually you will come to a roundabout with a sign pointing towards the wholesale markets.
Take the third exit off the roundabout. Drive along the road (whole market street), going straight ahead at the roundabout by the markets, for several kilometres. Eventually you will come to a building with black railings. Turn left straight after the railings, and just before the Qatar Technical College. Follow the road round and you will come to the Qatar Distribution Company.
Map to the QDC
To obtain an alcohol permit you need a letter from your employer written in English. (An Arabic letter accompanied by a stamped translation is usually also acceptable). This must be signed and stamped by an authorised person in your company and be addressed to the Qatar Distribution Company. It must state the applicant's position, basic salary (must be above 4000 riyals or 1100 dollars, and the letter must use the word basic), state if an accommodation entitlement is received or if the applicant receives free accommodation and whether the applicant is married. It does not usually have to state that the applicant has permission for an alcohol permit.
The applicant must also provide their ID/passport and residence permit (photocopies are acceptable) and a 1000 riyal (275 dollar) returnable deposit. You also have to complete an application form, and state your religion.
There are strict laws concerning alcohol. After alcohol has been bought it should be concealed from view in the car. The alcohol should be transported home directly. Alcohol may only be drunk at home or in a licenced bar or restaurant. You may not sell or give away alcohol, or drink while inebriated. It is illegal to be drunk in a public place.
Permit Office Sun - Thu 8.00 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.
Sat 10.30 a.m. - 7.30 pm
Shop Sat - Thu 10.30 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.