Definition of shebeen in English:



  • 1(especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa) an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcohol and typically regarded as slightly disreputable.

    • ‘And they have had some success: 65 illegal telephone outlets have been closed by the police, who have also raided shebeens and drug operators.’
    • ‘The old actor could just as easily be any European but he is firmly located in the west of Ireland, with its distinctive dry-stone walls and vernacular shebeens in the middle distance.’
    • ‘Metal-cutting and demolition equipment were employed in the closure of illegal structures composed of spaza shops, telephone booths, repair or spray-painting shops as well as shebeens.’
    • ‘Because of laws prohibiting blacks from buying liquor, shebeens sprang up, the most famous being 39 Steps in Good Street, owned and run by Fatty Phyllis Petersen, known as Fatty 39 Steps.’
    • ‘Effective interventions include dealing with under-age access to alcohol, and decreasing access through a coherent liquor outlet policy, including bringing shebeens into a regulated framework.’
    • ‘While transporting Brennan to the assizes at Clonmel, his escort stopped to rest at a shebeen (an unlicensed or informal pub) and allowed him to enjoy his pipe.’
    • ‘Traditionally run by women and without licences, today's shebeens and taverns are a profitable option based on humanity's fondness for the occasional toot.’
    • ‘How can a pastor say that shebeens are income-generating?’
    • ‘He also said he had noticed that pool being played in taverns and shebeens in and around East London had in some measure contributed to cutting crime as it gave people something constructive to do.’
    • ‘Louw won the award for his outstanding work, which involved raids on illegal shebeens and clamping down on legal liquor outlets that contravened the Liquor Act and served under-age children.’
    • ‘They alleged that some senior police officials were running illegal taverns and shebeens, and said the raids were to ward off competition.’
    • ‘Anyone who has followed PJ's recent colourful response to the ban on smoking - he opened his own private shebeen at his home - would certainly agree.’
    • ‘In September, members of Women's Action for Development in Rehoboth petitioned local authorities to force shebeens and liquor stores to abide by the liquor laws.’
    • ‘‘We have also identified that most of these crimes occur at, or in the vicinity of, shebeens,’ she said.’
    • ‘‘Apparently there are many shebeens in the villages and villagers associated the high incidence of domestic violence with shebeens,’ she said.’
    • ‘It used to be a shebeen, it's now turned into a real bar, it's called the Hawthorn, it's a real classic bar, the last of the real bars.’
    • ‘Joe would hang out in the many shebeens (unlicensed drinking venues) in the area, and one of his early influences was the sound of Duke Vin, a local resident who introduced the first reggae sound system to Britain.’
    • ‘There in the shebeen they sold poteen and punch while in the pubs, beer and spirits were available.’
    • ‘He urged the community not to support shebeens and drug merchants and not protect the people who brought illegal substances into the community, but rather assist the police in busting them.’
    • ‘The joint operation started on Thursday evening and ran through until Saturday evening with the emphasis on illegal shebeens.’
    1. 1.1(in South Africa) an informal licensed drinking place in a township.
      • ‘Time to control the number of shebeens in the townships, and provide training to community members how to drink ‘responsibly’.’
      • ‘Mahog is brandy as served in township shebeens (many now legalized as taverns) and possibly from English mahogany.’
      • ‘In Southernwood's Nahoon View Road, which houses two shebeens, the mood was understandably subdued as so much had hinged on the decision.’
      • ‘In other cases members were drunk at shebeens or taverns when their guns were stolen.’
      • ‘The act allows shebeens to sell light liquor, not exceeding 16% alcohol by volume.’
      • ‘And complete with mannequins in Stetson hats, the gumba-gumba record player and the inescapable bar atmosphere, the shebeen comes alive.’
      • ‘Death caused by stabbing is usually caused by drunken arguments at certain bars, shebeens or night-clubs.’
      • ‘I am an alcoholic but have not had a drink for very many years, but as soon as I see these adverts or pass by all these shebeens, bottlestores and shops all I see is alcohol being advertised and I start thinking about booze.’
      • ‘Operation Night Life, with the Gauteng Tourism Authority, focuses on tourist's spots, taverns, shebeens and clubs.’
      • ‘Emotions ran high in packed taverns and shebeens with some fans literally drowning their sorrows to get over the disappointment.’
      • ‘The following day on the streets of Soweto, in school classrooms, over a beer in the local shebeen, discussions become increasingly more intense over who really is the world wrestling champ.’
      • ‘And this is not a problem for Windhoek shebeens only, but for shebeens in all 13 regions.’
      • ‘A detailed study of the situation might help explain why potential entrepreneurs prefer to invest in shebeens rather than other economically productive ventures.’
      • ‘Let us do it instead of wasting money in shebeens and taverns, saloons, barbershop and cosmetic shops.’
      • ‘In the end, we agreed to go to a shebeen for more beer and then try to sleep with each other's wives.’
      • ‘Nightclubs, shebeens and taverns in Rosettenville and Turffontein were targeted by Johannesburg's metro police on Friday night in a crime prevention operation.’
      • ‘Shap Stadium in Mofolo, Soweto, was turned into a gigantic shebeen this weekend as beer lovers came from far and wide to sample more than 40 different types of beer at the fourth Soweto Beer Festival.’
      • ‘Analysis of police statistics showed that common assault, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, were mostly committed at home or at places of entertainment, such as bars and shebeens.’
      • ‘The tour will end at a range of shebeens, including Wandi's Restaurant, the best-known in the township, where supper is available.’
      • ‘Later this will be expanded to include restaurants, shebeens and bed and breakfast establishments.’


Late 18th century: from Anglo-Irish síbín, from séibe mugful.