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Where to get beer? bars filled with alcohol limits in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Chris, a British fan in Qatar for the World Cup, was trying to order a beer with his lunch at a barbecue joint on Sunday. He was quickly rebuffed.

He sighed and settled for lemonade instead. “If I was a few years younger, I wouldn’t even have come to this World Cup,” said Chris, a 34-year-old sales manager from London, who declined to give his last name for privacy reasons.

The question of where to buy the drink in the conservative Islamic country, which is a standard part of sporting events around the world, was a major concern for many fans after Qatar banned the sale of beer in stadiums on Friday. in a stunning twist. As a result, many bars and nightclubs in Doha – one of the few places where fans can purchase alcohol – were packed with crowds and tables were fully booked on Sunday, when the tournament kicked off with a match between the host nation and Ecuador.

“We are very full,” said the hostess of the Aqua Lounge bar at the Marriott Hotel. “It hurts to refuse guests.” An Irish pub said it had been a “crazy” weekend. DT Nightclub on the Corniche, a palm-lined boulevard along Doha’s waterfront, advised fans to “arrive as early as possible or it will probably not be possible”.

“No, you have no chance of getting in,” said the landlady of the Belgian Cafe, another trendy place in town.

Doha’s bar rush reflects the tensions ripping through the Muslim nation and the challenges facing the tiniest host of the world’s biggest sporting event. Already packed with crowds for the FIFA Fan Festival, one of the few fans can now purchase beer outside luxury hotel bars. Qatari officials say the festival area holds 40,000 people – a small number of visitors expected at peak times during the tournament. On Saturday just after 8:00 p.m. the police let thousands of fans go.

The unusually high price of alcohol also caused consternation among many who had become accustomed to a tournament fueled by beer.

“Man, we don’t have enough beer,” said Fabian Cruz, 48, from Ecuador, as he wandered through downtown Doha. He said he wouldn’t try to squeeze into the fan zone again after the chaos the night before and couldn’t shake the thought of having a few $14 beers at his hotel.

As a result, he faced the very real prospect of attending the opening match – which pits his country against Qatar – completely sober. “We don’t even need a lot of alcohol. But we need some.”

The question of where and how to get alcohol dominated World Cup fan groups on WhatsApp and Facebook. Lots of advice on how to bring alcohol into the country. Some share success stories of pouring arrack, a strong anise-flavored liqueur, into empty hand sanitizer bottles that are placed in checked baggage. Others report that their bottles have been confiscated at the airport.

“Of course we’re disappointed,” England’s Ritu Mohan said of the stadium’s beer ban, adding that he would be scouring the streets for bars with an empty table on Sunday night. “But we should have known what we were getting into when we found out what Qatar was accepting.”


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