Among the few things I pride myself on knowing well and having extensive experience in is the stuff we do at night. No, I’m not just talking about sex. I’m talking about what happens before (if ever) we copulate: the rituals we perform as we drink and move to a calculated sequence of synthetic voices and beats.
The thousands of hours I’ve clocked in at clubs have been some of my best and of course some of my worst. I’ve been to the most underground hell-hole of a party, to the stinky rich glam-fests that your ears are drilled with every time you turn on your radio.
I don’t really drink alcohol and apart from Coke (as in Coca Cola) my only fix is clubbing. It is, as the wise Maxi Jazz (Faithless) put it “this is my church, this is where I heal my hurts.” I’m also fascinated by the many types of music, venues and of course people which engage in these nocturnal activities that separate us from our purely evolutionarily-driven animal relatives, and of course religiously-paralyzed neighboring countries.
After this elaborate display of my night-time pedigree, I’ll move on to the main course. I am, as of now, Blacklisting Sky Bar Beirut. Yes, take a few seconds to let that sink in… Readers who are by now accustomed to my writing, know I take pride in destroying the things people hold sacred and untouchable for silly purposes. It seems Sky Bar has become one of those things, and like every other person and thing who think they’re sacred, have become sloppy and stupid with their dealings.
I have been going to Sky Bar since 2009. This bastion of needless displays of extravagance and overly-absurd door policy was the go-to place if you wanted to be someone in the Lebanese clubbing world. Their notoriety at the door though, was simply that, notoriety. The fables you’d hear of the tragedies of not being let in, or blacklisted or whatever, were overly exaggerated. That worked well for Sky though, for if you heard that Sky Bar was like Fort Knox, you wouldn’t bother trying to get in except if your nose was held pretty high, or you enjoyed a slightly above average IQ to know that at the end of the day, its the dollar that speaks best, not your beauty genes. This made life a lot easier for the management.
Bit by bit, Sky Bar became more and more of a sacred temple that would always be awesome, always be the best, always be the biggest. The same happens with people who own Macs (myself included): if a mac crashes, we keep it to ourselves and pretend it was divine intervention, but if a Microsoft-powered machine hiccups, we burn it at the stake. That’s exactly what’s happening with Sky Bar.
I’m sad I’m the one that has to bring this up, but it seems no one else has the guts to do it. Why? Because those who get in covet their access like a prized possession, and those who don’t, suddenly pretend to be socialist heroes who are champions of humility and opposed to the lavish lifestyle Sky Bar represents.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up. I’m definitely not a socialist, for starters. And the reason is because I have been denied access to Sky Bar three times this year. Here’s a detailed description of each time.
The first time, I came to Sky Bar at 12:30AM and my friends were already up. The new shell of a human being they’ve assigned to guard the door didn’t like the idea I was, according to her, “late” and “without a date.” This of course was said, as she let in groups of guys wearing glittery t-shirts. She was new to me, so I hopped back into my car and went to party elsewhere that night, not wanting to make a fuss.
The second time, I sinned and showed up wearing a polo shirt, pants and birkenstocks. Yes, horrible, I know. But, they had a point, it does not comply with Sky Bar’s dress-code. So, I was a good boy, shut up and went to change, came back a little while later. That’s when the incredibly intelligent female door master and her equally gifted muscly friends with iPads decided they were smart and witty enough to sell me “sa7eb el ma7al halla2 2alna ma baddo 7ada yfoot” (the owner just told us he doesn’t want anyone to come in).
Yes, they actually said that to me... They actually expected me to believe that the mythical owner sent them his thoughts and wishes telepathically, or better yet, came down his throne to physically inform them he didn’t want anyone going in anymore. Of course, some people did go in despite the royal order. Allow us to stoop to their level for an instant and believe that the owner did in fact give this order. Wow, brilliant order, denying paying customers that have a reservation and are abiding by your door policy!
The third time, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t my fault, and dressed in the same clothes I wore to my grandfather’s funeral and was there at 9:30PM. A shirt, suit-pants and formal leather shoes, could it get any more formal? We had a reservation and I made sure there was more estrogen than testosterone in our small group before going down. Yet, even this third time, the genius with the iPad decides I dont qualify for the dress-code. When asked which part of the dress didn’t fit the code, the answer of a person who never had the satisfaction of getting past the sixth grade was given.
Now, this is coming after my history last year in the club. There were some weeks in 2010, where 6 days out of 7, we’d be at Sky Bar. Heck, we even knew most of the waiters on a first-name basis. We grew accustomed to the playlists, our regular tables and seats and the whole Sky Bar experience which made summer in Beirut what it is.
This year, we’ve been graced with the new White venue and a brand new club, Pier 7, which rival Sky Bar on several aspects. Before you dismiss this as if you were some enlightened nightlife fairy, consider the differences between these 3, or better yet, what Sky Bar has to offer that the other two don’t have? I’ll admit Pier 7 is fairly new, and several hiccups have set it back somewhat in our minds. But White, well, in terms of capacity, entertainment, venue and clientele, it’s every bit as good as Sky Bar. Sky Bar’s feeble attempt at revamping its venue with the LED-screen walls, though wicked-awesome, pales in comparison with White’s transformation.
Anyway, we’re not here to compare the three, but deep down you know I’m right about Sky Bar not offering anything special anymore. Proof of this is plentiful, if you would just bother to look at the past “accomplishments” of the club:
- Sky Bar was NEVER, EVER, EVER number 1. There isn’t a chart in the world that lists it at the top, ever. I challenge anyone to find it.
- Sky Bar first entered DJmag’s rankings last year as the world’s number 51 club. It now stands at 62, tumbling an embarrassing 11 places, while clubs like B018 sky-rocketed from #68 to #40 (read more here + sources)
- You might say that DJmag’s polls are a bit old? Not recent enough? Well, the results of the poll I ran on the blog a couple of weeks ago corroborate the claim that Sky Bar isn’t really all that anymore (scroll up a bit)
What’s more important is that I’m confident I am not the only one that has had to put up with this deteriorating door policy, where the door staff are rude enough to admit the only reason you’re not getting in is because they don’t want you to, not based on something you’ve done wrong. That’s why, to avoid me looking like a child with a grudge, I am adding this poll for you to relate, or not relate to what I have explained above.
A club is an establishment aimed at entertaining, feeding and pouring drinks for paying customers. If someone has reserved and meets the requirements, the club has no right whatsoever to deny him or her entry. Moreover, they can teach their door staff manners.
(Rumor has it that the female at the door was bitch-slapped by an angry customer for denying her entry, too bad for the doorwoman the woman trying to enter was related to someone higher up. If the rumors are true, I salute the woman who dealt the slap, cheers to you my good lady!)
Till then, I strongly recommend you steer away from Sky Bar. There are plenty of other, funner venues where you are treated as a human being and where they know how to properly treat their customer, instead of denying a longtime Sky Barer friend of mine the table he wanted because he was a “child” and later sending the higher-ups pleading for his cold, hard cash again a day later. I am disappointed by this year’s performance, which is manifesting itself slowly, especially with the 9-DJ lineup dwindling and Sky Bar’s excuse for being liked: their dedication of Mondays to charities, slowly giving way to MixFM’s “decadance” events. Shame on you Sky Bar.
So, I am never setting foot again in Sky Bar except maybe on a Monday, when the door goons have no jurisdiction and the money is going for a good cause (not MixFM).
Rating: 5 fingers, and the only reason I didn’t add a sixth one, is because I encourage you to go on Mondays and support the charities!