Is it legal to drink in public in Singapore?

In a fast-paced and heavily westernized country like Singapore, consuming alcohol has been a big part of many Singapore resident’s life. Before the 2015s, drinking in public was not exactly socially acceptable; but at the very least legal, until one fine day:

On the 30th Jan 2015, the Liquor Control Act (Supply & Consumption) Bill passed. Drinking in public at certain times is now illegal.


What is this new Singapore Alcohol Law about?

Under this new Alcohol Law, drinking is banned in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am. Alcohol retail shops are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am.

This new law caused major inconvenience to the majority of Singapore’s drinking population, it narrowed down a consumer’s choice to purchase liquor during late nights to only bars and nightclubs with an extended license. While still relatively convenient, many fail to keep up with this lavish lifestyle; they desperately look for a cheaper alternative to drink. See where you can buy alcohol legally after 1030pm. 

The new law also adversely affected the business of liquor shops, many have ceased business or converted to an online-only business ever since.


What is a Public Place

A public place is where a person has free access, like HDB void decks, parks, or beaches. These are the places you cannot drink alcohol between 10.30pm – 7am under the new Singapore Alcohol Law.

You can continue to drink beyond the stipulated hours if you have a valid permit to hold a barbeque party at the park by National Parks Board, which you can apply through an AXS machine together when you’re booking your BBQ pit.


Where Can I Drink After 1030pm

After the restricted hours, you are permitted to drink at Non-Public Places. According to the authorities, a non-public place refers to a place which members of the public have no free access to, which includes:

  1. Residential homes (excluding common spaces such as void decks)
  2. Private function rooms within privately owned premises (eg. Condominiums)
  3. Private rooms in hotels and Country clubs
  4. Office premises (in which employees have access to)


What Happens if I get caught drinking in public after 1030

If you get caught drinking in public during the restricted hours, a first-time fine can be up to $1000. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $2000 plus risk imprisonment of up to three months.

The first offender under this new law was a 52-year old Singaporean man, he was fined $1000 for the offence, find out what happened here


Why did this Happen?

Many people associated the government’s decision to pass the law to the Little India Riot that happened back in Dec 2013, but that isn’t the case. The review on liquor restrictions began in September 2012, the riot merely acted as a catalyst. Ultimately, it was due to the increasing number of public nuisance caused by intoxication.