Pearl-Qatar alcohol ban won't last - Gordon Ramsay

UK celebrity chef closed Maze restaurant after slump in sales following alcohol ban

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

UK celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has hit out at an alcohol ban introduced on the Pearl-Qatar in 2011 which led to the closing of his restaurant at the development, and said he does not see the legislation “lasting much longer”, it was reported.

Ramsay closed down his Maze Doha restaurant in March 2012 after just two years of operation, while many restaurateurs operating on the Pearl-Qatar development said they had seen revenues decline by as much as 50 percent in the six months immediately after the alcohol ban was introduced in December 2011.

“I think the legislation in terms of operating restraints - going out for dinner and not being allowed to have a glass of wine - I think it’s one turn-off for any local,” he was quoted as saying by Doha News, while on a visit to the city to open two new restaurants at the St Regis Hotel.

“We had to make sensible commercial decisions - you’re not going to run that restaurant and look stupid and lose thousands on a weekly basis.”

“When we look at the legislation with the alcohol ban, I’d much rather see a smoking ban than an alcohol ban,” the three Michelin starred chef added.

Several international firms have scrapped plans to open new restaurants in the wake of the ban. US-based Ruth’s Chris Steak House said in June it was about to sign a deal for the Pearl-Qatar, but pulled out at the last minute when the ban was imposed.

“In Qatar we are suffering – business has dropped almost 45 percent and unfortunately there is no indication about the ban being lifted. It is very unfortunate for us and for the entire Pearl [project],” Raffaele Ruggeri, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Italian chain of restaurants, Bice, said last summer.

While Ramsay said western restaurants must “respect the culture” he said change was likely to happen in the coming years as the Gulf state gears up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“If that’s their culture and it’s being governed by the ministers then, I’m sure that will be out for scrutiny and change. But the world is moving fast and once the World Cup is nearing I’m sure things will change. I can’t see that legislation lasting much longer.”

Hospitality analyst Guy Wilkinson warned in June 2012 that “restaurants that cannot easily adapt their menus and concepts to a clientele that appreciates a purely dry offer will only be able to survive a few months more. I feel sure that other restaurants will follow suit [and close down].”

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Posted by: Quantum Physics

@Hisham, I fully agree with you.. As expats and guests like me, let us not expect others to serve us.

As most expats (from all over the world) in Gulf region, were compelled to move in Qatar to make a living...

Posted by: Nirsly

I think many expats got me all wrong.

I am not against Alcohol being sold in the Pearl or anywhere else.

After all, anything that separates expats and their money can't be such a bad thing.


Posted by: Tolerant Muslim

Dear Friends (who are against alcohol), why have we lost this property of us called Tolerance. If we don't drink, we don't have to curse people who do. So selling it dont really matter to us. We cant force something just because we don't do it. We don't like the same if another culture/society does to us. So ?

Let us all grow up as wise men and women, accept the fact that Unity is Strength, and that Peace shall only thrive when we have Respect towards all Cultures and Religions.

Law of Karma "We reap what we sow". Why do we get hatred ?

Let us think.

God bless all of us !

Posted by: Steve

@ Nirsly, Qatari, Salwa. Great thinking guys. So once Gas has gone and Qatar has to stand on its own two feet as an economy, you seriously want to be banning something that is part of every other culture on the planet? Forget 'westerners' if you like, we're useless drunks apparently anyway, but the Chinese, Indians, Russians, Japanese, Brazilians etc all drink and it's just a part of all of our cultures. Not alcoholics, it's just everyday life and by and large we won't be keen to visit a country that forbids it. This will apply to those that dont drink as well, because people naturally like to be amongst there own. You push the majority away, the minority follow.

Posted by: Salwa

@ OzM, why do you whine and fret when you and your ilk are reminded that you are just guests in Qatar or the UAE or the whole Gulf for this matter and a guest must always conduct and comport himself in a more dignified and graceful manner abroad than he would have been if he was back home. Before trying to set in order your neighbor's house, why don't you fix your own which is in shambles? May be if you directed some of your frustrations towards your own countries then may be, just may be your countries can just try to aspire to be like the Gulf, just may be!!! I suggest you enjoy your fleeting days in the Gulf and swallow your bitterness or better direct it towards your countries. Peace!

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