The legal drinking age is defined as the earliest age that an individual is legally allowed to buy alcohol. This age can be higher than the age at which they may be permitted to drink alcohol at home in private.
The legal drinking age is different from country to country; those in Europe tend to allow drinking from 16-18 years of age whereas in the USA, the legal drinking age is 21. Some Islamic nations prohibit the drinking of alcohol altogether, others restrict prohibition to those of the Muslim faith.
For many years, the legal drinking age in Malta was 16, but in 2009, this was raised to 17.
The nighlife area of Paceville is very popular with teenagers and younger people. Other areas known for night life are Bugibba, Sliema and St. Julians. Bars throughout Malta should ask for ID (passport, driving licence or ID card) if a person appears to be below the legal age. Malta bucks the general trend seen in other Southern European countries, with teenagers often found drinking in Paceville bars and clubs, emulating the British culture of binge drinking. Recent studies show that alcohol consumption in Malta exceeds that of the UK.
In addition to bars, restaurants and clubs selling alcohol, there are also a number of bottle-shops in these areas that sell wines, beers and spirits, as well as soft drinks. Drinking alcohol purchased from these outlets in public has caused a lot of media attention over recent years, with a clampdown on drinking in the streets. At village feasts, bar owners set up street stalls selling drinks to the revellers and tourists visiting from overseas, and this is tolerated more than in popular nighlife areas such as Paceville.
In most countries, the legal drinking age often goes unheeded, as teenagers often drink and eventually, some of them would need alcohol addiction counseling before they even reach the age limit.