Bar Vyvyans – SAMPSACOM Recommended
Opens: No idea, got there like 20:45
Closes: Again no idea, left around 3 am-ish, Santana’s ideas of a “double” having led
me to being harrowingly close be totally off my tits.
Food: Chou ya3ni food? I was there to get drunk
So after a particularly tough 2 weeks, I needed a catharctic boozing session
and headed down to Mar Mikhail, the newly (well newly and newly, I last got
drunk in Beirut around like 2010, when Gemmyzeh was in) trendy bar district
at the eastern end of Gemmayzeh.
It’s not so much a district as a block with about half a dozen bars from what
I can tell and thankfully despite being trendy, the people are actually cool
and the bar staff doubly so.
After usual round of “mexican” al-Mazas I perused their tequila (El Patron Añejo
Reserva) and mezcal (forgot brand name) collections, and was beginning to fall in
love with the slightly hipsterish but extremely cool DJ, Yara. Example convo:
Me: “You know what’d go GREAT with this? Journey”
Her: “Shit you’re right, but I don’t have it in my CDs”
Me: “I’ve got it right here on my iPhone”
Yara: I think I’m in love.
[She proceeds to wire my iPhone into the sound system. Yara, if I wasn't already
engaged, I would be asking you to marry like, you know, right now]
Why did leave before closing time? Well, “Santana” decided to pour me a double
vodka to go with my two cans of Red Bull (had been up since like 8 am running
around getting blood tests and then my daily Arab 101 class):
A “double” vodka. WTF?
All in all great little place (seriously, it’s tiny, like 15-20 sq m + 2 tables
outside) that’s always packed with a prety mixed but cool as fuck crowd, the bar
staff are awesome (esp. “Santana” with an entirely irony-free 1970s beard+moustache)
The owner’s hilarious too, this Irish looking dude who insists on drunknely hugging everyone (cf Maronite pancake night post)
BO 18 – Well you HAVE to see it really for the novelty value, I suppose, but that’s about it.
This is abotu as interesting as the club itself.
Where: Underneath a parking lot in Qarantina.
Opens: Again, no clue. Late I would assume
Closes: No idea, left way before. See below for reasons
Food: None that I could discern
Drinks: Fucking expensive, didn’t stick around to try the cocktails
Atmosphere: 1.5/5. The .5 for the relatively strange part that this is in fact
a bomb shelter with a roof that opens.
Music: 2/5, typical uninspiring house bullshit
Basically, was on my way home from Vyvyans, but my taxi decided to turn itself
into a “Servees” about a block from my flat in Furn el-Chebbak, and the young
gentlemen who go in wanted to go to BO 18. So I decided to tag along, much to
their confusion (they lost no time losing me at the parking lot, figured a
drunken Scando wouldn’t increase their chances of getting in. They needn’t have
Yup, BO 18. The famous bomb shelter they turned into a nightclub – apparently
at first by merely adding a bar and a sound system to it. Sounds cool right?
Sadly it definitely no longer is. Basically, whilst the bouncers look menancing
(shit, we ARE in Beirut after all) they don’t seem to apply any kind of entry
policy beyond “keep the ajnabis happy and get their dough”.
This leads to a club COMPLETELY devoid of anyone in possession of a set of
XX chromosomes, rather an impressive feat in a place where women in the 18-35
demographic outnumber men by something like 3 to 1.
The roof for some fucking weird reasons opens (why a bomb shelter needs a roof
that can be opened up is beyond me) and everyone claps, accompanied by a chorus
of unenthusastic “wooohs”. Then they close it again 5 mins later since everyone
is freezing to death.
The drinks are really expensive for Beirut (like 10 or 15 USD for a Vodka Red
Bull – WTF, this is Qarantina, not South Ken?!?) and the bar staff borderline
The clientele consisted mostly of foreigners ranging from the retarded (English
public school boy, quote of the night: “Who the fuck are the SSNP?”. I wish him
a long and happy life in Beirut with that level of insight) to the weird (“Oh sure,
I work in Damascus, the drive’s not too bad”) to the stereotypical (Asian guy
from Dubai turning yet another part of the desert into apartments nobody wants.)
Highlight of the night: Palestinian guy (STRONG American accent) who had no
issues with the fact that this area used to be a Palestinian town ethnically
cleansed in the Civil War (and then mostly turned into parking lots with clubs
I don’t think he’d be as enthusiastic about clubbing in say Tel Aviv,
but you know, Palestinians are funny that way.