My understanding of the alcohol license was that it allowed residents to consume alcohol in their homes - and to purchase at legal alcohol outlets such as MMI and A&E. Probably it did not allow you to drink in hotel bars but that's a bit of a grey area. The original intention many years ago was that hotels had bars for their visitors to use, not residents.
Gulf News article today ("Man acquitted of charge of drinking alcohol" by Bassam Za'za', 14 November 2006) had a court report about a British man who was acquitted of drinking alcohol in a bar in Dubai because he had a "liquor permit" (alcohol license), which appears to clarify any murkiness over the issue.
"The Dubai Court of First Instance acquitted the 56-year-old Briton, identified as F.F., who works as a general manager, of drinking liquor because he had "a written permit which allowed him to purchase and consume liquor". A police report said the man was caught drunk and was referred to the Public Prosecution which charged him with having beer at a Bur Dubai pub."
It appeared as though the lush ended up in court in the first place because the arresting officer "said the Briton's written permit authorised him to drink at home" according to the Gulf News (not a direct quote).
Please use the forum for questions, not the PM system.