Alcohol during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: Where and How Much.
The FIFA World Cup is the second-largest sporting event on the planet, and in 2022 it will take place in Qatar. Fans all over the world are planning to attend. Not surprisingly, one of the most asked questions so far is Will there be alcohol at the 2022 World Cup?
Short answer: Yes, there will be alcohol available during the 2022 World Cup, but it will be slightly (or, for some, considerably) different from what everyone expects.
For the long (and much more interesting answer), keep reading. I’ll provide some needed context and valuable tips based on my experience living in Qatar for several years.
Alcohol in Muslim Countries
Muslims are not permitted to consume alcohol under Islamic law.
However, there is a wide range of attitudes toward its use in many Muslim countries and societies. In terms of openness to alcohol consumption, we can divide Muslim countries into four tiers.
- Tier 4 — Completely dry countries, where alcohol is prohibited for all citizens. This tier includes Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
- Tier 3 — Nearly dry countries where foreigners can import small amounts of alcohol for personal consumption. Examples are Brunei and Iran, where only Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are allowed to produce alcohol for their own consumption, but not commercially.
- Tier 2 — Dry for Muslims, but non-Muslims may purchase alcoholic beverages in a limited number of establishments. Examples here are the Maldives, Bahrain, and Pakistan.
- Tier 1 — Alcohol consumption is permissible and legal for all adults. Tunisia, Morocco, and Syria are examples of Muslim countries where any adult can drink.
Can You Drink Alcohol in Qatar?
Qatar is on the 2nd of the 4 tiers mentioned above, meaning that alcohol is legal for non-muslims, which comprise a large share of the residing expatriate population.
Where to Buy Alcohol in Doha?
Non-Muslims can purchase alcohol in upscale restaurants, bars, and clubs; nearly all of these establishments are located within five-star hotels or resorts and charge exorbitant prices. There is also only one alcoholic beverage shop in the entire country, known as QDC (Qatar Distribution Company).
QDC is Qatar’s sole licensed retail distributor of wines and spirits. The store, located on the outskirts of Doha, sells a wide variety of beverages to licensed hotels (which you can find here) and qualifying private individuals.
Take note of this phrase: qualifying private individual. This means that only certain non-Muslim foreigners will be able to purchase a beer at the QDC. Fortunately, my flatmate had a license to buy at the QDC when I lived there. (At least I never missed a cold one during the years living in Doha.)
So, yes, alcohol is legal in Qatar. However, getting it is not easy. Or cheap.
And when it comes to prices…
What are the prices of alcoholic beverages in Qatar?
Below are some prices at the QDC I saw last time (the price may have changed since then), in QAR (Qatari Riyal), USD (American dollars), and BRL (Brazilian Real, which is my home currency), using the current exchange rates.
- Heineken 330ml (Case with 24 bottles): 242 QAR, 65 USD or 344 BRL.
- Amstel Light (Case with 24 bottles): 240 QAR, 65 USD or 341 BRL.
- Whisky Chivas 12 Years (1-liter bottle): 417 QAR, 113 USD or 592 BRL.
- Aperol (700ml bottle): 164 QAR, 44 USD or 233 BRL.
- Gin Bombay Sapphire (1-liter bottle): 229 QAR, 62 USD or 325 BRL.
|Heineken 330ml (Case with 24 bottles)||242||65||344|
|Amstel Light (Case with 24 bottles)||240||65||341|
|Whisky Chivas 12 Years (1-liter bottle)||417||113||592|
|Vodka Skyy (1-liter bottle)||164||44||233|
|Aperol (700ml bottle)||113||31||160|
|Gin Bombay Sapphire (1-liter bottle)||229||62||325|
If the prices above don’t look that pricey for you (not my case, since I would already consider them expensive), imagine that the QDC in Qatar is the equivalent of a supermarket. Therefore, you can expect much higher prices in bars, clubs, and hotels.
Below is a small sample of what you should expect to pay to drink in clubs and bars. These are the prices from the Sky View, a bar in the La Cigale hotel, close to the price where I used to live (it is an average bar for Qatar’s standards):
- Absolut Vodka (Glass): 55 QAR, 15 USD or 78 BRL.
- Absolut Vodka (Bottle): 800 QAR, 216 USD or 1136BRL.
- J.W Red Label (Glass): 55 QAR, 15 USD or 78 BRL.
- J.W Red Label (Bottle): 800 QAR, 216 USD or 1136 BRL.
- A Caipirinha, Mojito or Pina Colada: 65 QAR, 18 USD or 92 BRL.
- A Glass of Heineken, Budweiser, Corona or Becks: 45 QAR, 12 USD or 64 BRL.
|Absolut Vodka (Glass)||55||15||78|
|Absolut Vodka (Bottle)||800||216||1136|
|J.W Red Label (Glass)||55||15||78|
|J.W Red Label (Bottle)||800||216||1136|
|A Caipirinha, Mojito or Pina Colada||65||18||92|
|A Glass of Heineken, Budweiser, Corona or Becks||45||12||64|
Yes, right now, still far before the World Cup 2022, you can expect to pay 12 dollars for a beer in a bar.
BUT… (brace yourself for some bad news): in Qatar, most hotels use revenue management (the science behind airlines increasing their price during high season) for nearly everything. Therefore, prices will go up.
What are the expected prices of Alcohol during the 2022 Qatar World Cup?
You can expect to pay for a drink even more during the World Cup than the prices listed above.
It will not be a surprise if a long neck of Heinecken goes above 15 dollars. Maybe far above. Hotels in Doha are nearly full and there will be no lack of consumers for the city’s tourism industry.
There will be a price hike in alcoholic beverages at least comparable to the price increase that hotel rooms had.
Sorry for curbing your enthusiasm.
But keep in mind that the answer to the question that prompted me to write this article is YES! There will be alcohol at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Only in restricted places, for prohibitive prices, but there will be! When England, once again, disappoints everyone by being eliminated from the play-offs, you will soak your sorrow with a cold beer.
Where will alcohol be allowed at the Qatar World Cup?
Besides hotels, clubs, and bars (all of them in Doha are fancy, so forget the concept of the neighborhood pub), drinks will also be available at designated fan zones.
Qatar is a very safe place, and the government considers that this is in part due to its strict alcohol controls.
It is still unclear whether alcohol will be sold inside the stadiums, unless in very specific sectors.
Besides having a drink, there are a few other things that you can do when visiting Qatar, and they are not as expensive as alcohol, check below.
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