Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dry night

Imagine this. You plan a fun night out. Friends around the table. Great restaurant. Nice dinner. Your favorite wine. As soon as you sit down and ask for the menu, the waiter breaks the daunting news to you: no alcohol served tonight.

This happened to me once and it was traumatic, to say the least. From then on, I always keep my eyes and ears open for the so called dry nights.

Yesterday, for example, as I made dinner plans with friends for tonight, I realized it was Isra’a Wal Miraj, the day that marks the journey of Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension. So, besides taking the time to book a table, I called around to ensure restaurants would not keep me thirsty.

Yes, the UAE is one of the most flexible Arab countries and, since there are so many expats around, there are rules and regulations in place to allow us access to a cold beer and a flute of bubbly from time to time.

However, on certain occasions, mostly holidays linked to religious reasons, the government orders restaurants not to serve alcohol – regardless of whether or not you are a non-Muslim.

Notices are given only a few days in advance and, sometimes, restaurants have to be extra creative and think of other ways to attract customers, who usually prefer to stay home (where they can pop up a bottle of champagne).

Good news this time is that dry night was over yesterday and I can now look forward to a delicious night ahead…

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