All you need to know about the restrictions around boozing outdoors and in common areas, which kicked in on April 1 2015
Come on then, hands up if you didn’t take any notice to the recent news about changes in law around outdoor drinking in Singapore. While we heard it may be introduced earlier this year, a lot of party-goers weren’t aware that the ban on alcohol in public places was definitely kicking in on April 1 2015. Over the public holiday in Singapore, of all times! (Good job we prepared this guide to early drinking at Singapore’s best happy hours, eh?)
Hence our pals’ surprise when, during a normal night out in Holland Village over the weekend, they were aghast to discover that our girly group couldn’t order a bottle of wine after 10pm. Plonked around a table outside at El Patio, we were technically ‘drinking in a public place’ and, thus, couldn’t be seen with vino after 10.30pm. It seemed as if the rest of Holland Village were also behind on the new regulations – with the crowd prematurely deserting the normally-rammed pedestrianised area by 11pm.
Having heard about similar situations in Boat Quay, Haji Lane and Joo Chiat via social media, we figured it was time for a quick reminder on how the new boozing legislation in Singapore will work going forward. Here are seven handy things you need to know:
What counts as a public place?
As the term suggests, this literally refers to any area the public has access to – whether inside or outside. This includes parks, beaches, pavements, many BBQ pits and any residential common areas, including HDB void decks and corridors.
Where can I still drink after 10.30pm?
You can continue the party inside licensed bars, restaurants and cafes – or, of course, at home/in a private residence.
Can I still buy alcohol from liquor stores after 10.30pm?
In short: no. While you can enjoy a few late-night vinos in your own living room, you won’t be able to buy takeaway booze anywhere after 10.30pm.
The government chose to wrap up alcohol sales at this time to coincide with noise and disturbance regulations around residential areas in Singapore.
What happens if you get caught?
If you’re caught drinking in a public place between 10.30pm and 7am, a first-time fine can be up to $1,000. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $2,000 plus risk imprisonment of up to three months.
Is there any way around it?
If you’re planning on hosting an event – say a BBQ in the park – that may involve hitting a few bottles past 10.30pm, you can apply for a liquor consumption permit. This also applies to getting together for a few late-night beers at common areas in your HDB.
Why did this happen?
Singapore’s new alcohol laws are not the result of the Little India riot in December 2013 – the review on liquor restrictions began in September 2012. It’s also worth noting that strict Liquor Control Zones have been specifically introduced in Geylang and Little India.