I won’t review anything and ruin it for everyone going to Weekend 2, but here’s a feel of what it was like being part of the 3-day magical experience that is The Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival. For more, follow me on Instagram
I won’t review anything and ruin it for everyone going to Weekend 2, but here’s a feel of what it was like being part of the 3-day magical experience that is The Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival. For more, follow me on Instagram
Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends in Beirut. Lots of those friends have now gathered under one roof to create what is my absolute favorite place in the city these days: Uberhaus. Among those dearest to my heart are the dynamic duo Ronin and Nesta, who over the years have gotten a lot of commercial success but have never, ever compromised their underground house music street cred. I have their sets dating back to 2006, and they’ve only gotten better with time and fame, not worse.
One half of that duo, Nabih Esta, or Nesta, is off to London for the next 6 months to push his music-making career even further. I am a huge fan of people pursuing their true dreams, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t that sad he’s leaving for a while despite being able to crunch out massive tracks right here from home alongside Ronin.
So, for the next few months, it’s goodbye Nesta and hello Technophile, his new alias. The track I chose to feature on the blog next, is called Smog Cut, which will be released April 11th. Here’s a 3-minute preview, which I have had on loop all weekend. This melodic, intensely deep track will have you goosepimply for hours as I made sure all my friends who came over this weekend or rode in my car did =P
As for what will happen to Groove Republic, Ronin and Phil are still here and will be going just as hard. Also, we are in talks to create a trio called Under and Below (as in Above and Beyond) that consists of Ronin, Phil and Gino (although Ronin and Phil are not as excited as I am about that venture =P)
Anyway, here’s the track I chose next for the Gino’s Blog features and if you ever wanna check out the previous ones, here’s the SoundCloud playlist that includes all the insane Lebanese artists that have already been featured on the blog.
So, good luck Nabih from all of us here! We’re expecting some massive music from you in the near future. And thanks for everyone at Uberhaus for making last Saturday awesome: Joanna, Nemr, Gus, Ronald, Tarek, Louay, Joana, Tres, Carol, Phil and everyone else <3
Wow. That would best describe Saturday night. The music, the sets, the people, the lineup, the hype, the everything was beautiful. As a member of the trance family since my early teens, I was extremely proud and happy and honored to be part of the 600th episode celebration of A State of Trance.
Today, with House music and its derivatives conquering the EDM world, it’s hard to reconnect with the beautiful, good-old, almost-spiritual Trance music that defined so many parts of my life growing up, and still does. Tough times, good times, awesome relationships, tough breakups, the ups and downs that music by titans like Armin van Buuren and Paul Van Dyk and Above and Beyond became the soundtrack to. The songs you listen to and get goosebumps all over your body and a numbness that starts at the base of your neck and radiates up to your skull and face and puts you in a real, state of trance.
Even Trance itself today has become slower, more House-like or Dubstep-like to sell more and appeal to today’s clubbing culture. Trance gets a bad rep from today’s clubbing aficionados and people might think twice before adding a classic like For An Angel or Shivers to their playlists in the car. ASOT 600 though, was a big fat protest to that and a resounding message from millions of people that make up the Trance Family all around the globe, that Trance is awesome, Trance is what we grew up listening to and it ain’t going nowhere.
Perhaps the biggest testament to this back-to-the-roots movement was Armin’s t-shirt that read “Who’s Afraid of 138?”. For the less-hardcore EDM fans, electronic music is defined by it’s beats per minute. House is usually somewhere between 123-128 bpm, Trance is usually 135-140 bpm, Psy-Trance is north of 140, etc. Trance has been becoming slower in recent years, closer to the House bpm range, and Armin as well as the full ASOT 600 Beirut’s DJ lineup, made sure the uplifting, 138 was back and celebrated hard!
Classics like As The Rush Comes, Lethal Industry, Shivers and relatively newer-but-not-so-new classics like Till the Sky Falls Down, Sun and Moon, Tuvan, Man on the Run were some of the highlights of the sets. Each DJ created a beautiful, non-partisan melange of sweet nostalgic tracks, coupled with new, some even never-before-heard tracks that Armin generously graced the ASOT 600 Beirut crowd’s ears with. It was magnificent.
Antillas, Andrew Rayel, Dash Berlin, Armin, John O’Callaghan and MaRLo all shined bright with their sets ranging between 1 to 2 hours. An awesome surprise was Armin’s 1-hour warm-up set before the show began, which a few thousand lucky fans who came early got to witness and I am utterly jealous of! Another really awesome touch was Andrew Rayel’s inclusion of “Ya Hawa Beirut” in his Expedition Intro remix, just for us! (I’ve embedded his set at the bottom, give it a listen and relive the amazing moments of that night).
The “giant container” Armin dubbed Forum as was also the biggest set-up I’ve seen there, since all of it was used when usually it’s just a compartment or two. VIP areas flanked the sides, with the VVIP sections in front of them, sandwiching the main arena section. I spent most of my night in the Golden Circle are just in front of the Main Arena right at the stage’s foot.
As for how many people were there, according to MixFM, 3000 people showed up from abroad, and I saw flags from Australia, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iran and of course several Lebanese flags, one of which Armin carried and waved and wrapped around his neck during his set, like he always does honoring his legion of Lebanese fans. It was beautiful. Flags of nations that might not necessarily be friends, raised side-by-side, by people brought together by love for the music and each other. We often forget that people in other countries are like us. They’re normal people, who love music, who love life, who love to have fun and Trance music has the power to create that global family feeling that I must confess, was the first time I feel at an event, live. I don’t know the exact number, but I am fairly certain it’s way above the 15,000 mark (just checked, official number is 20,000+ according to MixFM!) 25 million people tuned in live from across the world, and Armin did a Google+ Hangout with several of them live on the big screen from all over the world, which was also extremely touching.
All in all, it was absolutely spectacular. I’ve been to hundreds if not thousands of hours of raves and stadium events like this. This, was by-far, the funnest, most fluid, most-touching one where the hours flew by like minutes. No hiccups, all the sets were amazing, there was a perfect balance of old classics and new soon-to-be-classics. There was enough exits and bars to accommodate everyone, even though parkings were full by 11:00PM! The interaction between the DJs and the fans was also amazing, with banners held by many, like my dear Nour’s “A State of Beirut” which Armin saw and waved at us for! Dash Berlin’s green ASOT heart and “Ashkorakom” on his iPad marquee. The thousands of heart-shaped hands that shot up from the crowd and answered dutifully by the DJs. All in all, tears of joy were in fact shed, and my gas-mask did hide most of them.
It was amazing seeing all of you there, and meeting some of you for the first time live. Nour, Madeleine, Bebe, Lori, Liliane, Jim, Haig, AbdulRahman, Jow, Najib, Justine, Elle, Rita, Joelle, Omar and everyone else, you’re all awesome! I had a blast with all of you throughout the night.
On Sunday night, I went through the #ASOT600BEI feed on Instagram and found a few cool photos fellow trance family members had uploaded I thought you guys might find awesome/hilarious/touching!
Here are over a 100 photos I snapped. Sorry for the poor quality of some, but I couldn’t stop moving long enough to take proper ones sometimes =P
Andrew Rayel’s set for ASOT 600 Beirut with the “Ya Hawa Beirut”
Dash Berlin’s Set
AND THIS is the first track from Armin’s new Intense album. We were the first to hear it, from this new album!
Those of you who have been reading what I write for a while, know I am extremely picky when it comes to music. House music is unrivaled in my mind, and its many shades and flavors are the key ingredient to any good night, drive, chill and of course party. Uberhaus has the word house in it, plus uber, so naturally, it’s bound to be my kind of place.
I missed the opening and first 6 months while I was away, but as soon as I was back, I was at Uber and it has been two weekends now partying there with a third one definitely on the way.
The closing down of The Basement and the difficult hours of B018 made quality house music limited to party crew events every now and then. But, that lacked the consistency and certainty you need to plan out your weekends properly revolving around a kickass party with kickass music and kickass people. Uberhaus has finally become home, and we are no longer homeless when it comes to weekend nights.
Fat Dutch, Romax, Richard Kahwagi, Ronin and Nesta, Phil and CAB are the residents there and switch between nights of Romax and Friends (Romax), Groove Republic (Ronin and Nesta and Phil), Inocuous (Fat Dutch) and Katapult (Richie). This absolutely mind-blowing lineup of resident DJs, all of whom are extremely good friends, aren’t the only talents which grace the decks under the custom-built LED light wall though. Every week, talents from Lebanon and across the world including giants like M.A.N.D.Y. spin their stuff and make the venue earn its name of Uberhaus.
The club is underground and has the beautiful beton-brute, underground feel to it which is littered with furniture, wallpaper and decorations that seem straight out of the Baroque. On one side runs a bar, on the other a series of couches and tables on an elevated platform. On one end is the DJ booth and on the other is a wider area with more tables for when the club gets a higher than average tidal wave of revelers.
There are a few perks you might not immediately catch on to so I’ll tell you here. On your way to the bathrooms, there’s a wall that will be riddled with lollipops of different shapes and sizes. Grab one, for free, before they run out. Another thing I absolutely love is that water is for free. Last Friday, I asked for a bottle of water and got one, with no bill. This is awesome, and I really love a club which offers water for free that’ll help water down your blood alcohol levels and keep you hydrated and ready to dance till the wee hours of the morning (EDIT: the water isn’t officially free, it depends on how lucky you are with the people behind the bar and how drunk you are. Sorry guys about the inaccurate information EDIT 2: after the guys at Uberhaus saw the review and that you guys would love the free water idea, it’s official, water is now free at Uber!). Last but not least, if you come before 11:00PM, entrance is free!
The music is sublime. I am sure you all know most of the DJs and have partied to their sets before. Imagine what it’d be like combining them all under one roof every Friday and Saturday. Beautiful, deep house, tech-house, nu-disco and indie dance and all the subtle nuances and flavors of the 123-128bpm variety (the best, ever).
All in all, Uberhaus is uberawesome. I loved it and was definitely not disappointed after building up hype for it for half a year! It’s virtually a certainty I’ll be there every Friday and Saturday to be part of this movement, not just a club, of good music, good people and real parties, the kind where no one drowns in make-up, douchy silk shirts and 21 centimeter heels.
Check out their Facebook page for schedules, awesome photos, the sets and custom pages for each theme night
Location and venue: Out-of-the-way, nice underground venue yet just a few minutes walk from the heart of Hamra
Music: A delicious variety of house music (house, nudisco, indie)
Atmosphere: Party hard, movement-like following, hassle-free
Wheelchair accessible: No
Staff: Friendly and courteous
Smoking: Indoors, sometimes but nothing compared to the old days of clubbing (You lazy smokers! Go up the stairs! =P). Easy access near the door outside for a cig or two
Prices: Free before 11:00PM, 20USD plus 1 drink after 11:00PM
After Alacazar’s re-opening this past weekend, I looked through the blog’s archives and realized I had never reviewed it, even though it was probably the venue I was at most in Gemmayzeh. So, after it’s relaunch and an awesome Friday night there with Nour, Mari-Joe, Celina, Fida, Samer, Karim, Gaelle and Hashem I decided it’s time for this long-overdue review of perhaps my favorite Gemmayzeh venue.
Alcazar is located on the St. Nicolas Stairs, famous for the continuous art galleries, installations and festivals that happen on this historic staircase that connects the vibrant Gouraud Street with the truly magical Sursock Street, home to some of Beirut’s most beautiful and well-preserved traditional mansions and palaces. Alcazar blended in with its environment perfectly, and more so now that they have their very own art space where you can feature your work for free.
Alcazar is a three-floor, refurbished traditional Lebanese house that incorporates beautiful Lebanese stone masonry with the more modern steel and concrete minimal design. The ground floor is where we spend most of our time, where there’s a bar that runs along on one side with a few high tables sandwiched between the bar and the DJ booth and an elevator shaft that leads up to the two other floors. This area has been left untouched (thankfully, cause I liked it) and the relaunch has instead revamped the outer terrace, which is much-needed now for smokers who aren’t lighting up indoors (thank you!) and step out to find a cool swing and patio furniture to have a chat where the music is less loud and smoke a cigarette before heading back in.
The first floor is the art gallery, and within two weeks, the first showcase will be up and running. I’d really love to see one of you guys and gals put your photos, paintings, sculptures or any other piece of art there, so make sure you contact them and see what you need to do (it is free though, I asked twice). The roof terrace also remains a surprise, since it’s still wintery and not open yet. But, it’s a really chill section with comfortable couches and a much more laid-back, loungy feel to it than the ground floor. It’s perfect for drinks and a dinner as the sun is setting and I’d suggest continuing the rest of your night downstairs on the ground floor for some good, beautiful House music.
The music is usually different shades of House and electronic music with talents like Ronin and Nesta, Fat Dutch and Diamond Setter being regulars there last summer. Residents after the relaunch include Diamond Setter, Lady Bug, Dansz, Trix and Justine Baer. Of course, there might be theme nights every now and then for all you people who aren’t as hardcore House lovers as I am, so you might wanna look into that =P
Location and venue: Out-of-the-way, nice underground venue yet still in the heart of Gemmayzeh on the St. Nicolas Stairs
Music: A variety of electronic music (house, nudisco, indie)
Atmosphere: Chill, laidback and sophisticated
Wheelchair accessible: No
Staff: Friendly and courteous
Smoking: Indoors, no (thankfully). But, plenty of outdoors spaces for smokers.
Prices: 9,000LBP beers and 12,000-15,000LBP cocktails
Contact: FB Page
I was very sad to see that Alcazar was closed down. It’s one of my favorite places in Gemmayeh because of the good, good music they play. It’s always beautiful house music toned down just right to enjoy a chill drink after work, but also shake what your mamas gave you if you feel like it.
The 3-story complex had it all, a rooftop lounge-bar to enjoy the sights and sounds of Beirut’s Gemmayzeh, a middle-level for some good food and a ground-level bar and terrace for drinks, surrounded by bare concrete mixed with traditional Lebanese stone masonry. The screen with photos of Beirut’s golden age in the 1950s were like the cherry on top, and the place always put a smile on my face.
Luckily, Alcazar is coming back. The rooftop lounge has been revamped and so has the ground floor and terrace. The new Alcazar is gonna ramp up the artsy, retro spirit, with Nintendo memorabilia, jukeboxes and other awesome stuff we miss.
The nicest part of this leak though, is that the middle-level will now be a space for artists to showcase their art for free. In fact, if you show up there, talk to the manager and see how you can get your artwork featured for everyone to see in this venue on the “Daraj El Fan” we are used to seeing decorated with the fine creative talents we have in Beirut.
Here are some shots of Alcazar. Note that the tables on the first floor will be gone, making way for the art gallery.
I’m Lebanese, so the tendency to flock to nightclubs on rooftops is an innate feature of mine. That’s why, Le Bain, on top of the iconic Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, is my new favorite club in the city that never sleeps.
The Standard arches over the Highline Park, a repurposed 10-block or so elevated railroad track that is now every architecture student’s dream come true: a park, a place for cultural events, art exhibits and a place for society to mix in a free space with some nature in one of the world’s most populated cities.
It’s famous for having floor-to-cieling windows everywhere, including guest rooms. So, if you’re into getting freaky with the rest of New York City watching, or at least you having a good view of the Manhattan skyline, consider The Standard next time you’re in town.
Le Bain is on the top-floor and rooftop of the hotel. May to October, the center of the club is a large jacuzzi where nights can become extra sultry with beautiful, scantily clad revelers getting intimate in the warm bubbling water under a massive disco ball. This is on the top level of the hotel, but you have breath-taking views of Mid-town (Times Square, Empire State, etc.) to the North, Down Town and the Liberty Tower on the South Side. There’s also New Jersey across the Hudson.
In winter, the jacuzzi is turned into extra tables and the club in general becomes more laid-back and underground, if that’s the right word. A blend of nudisco, tech-house and progressive sounds are spun tastefully depending on who’s performing that weekend. Guests often include folks like Diplo, so expect superior deck skills when you’re there. Also, no Top 40 trash, which is a much-welcome change to most other venues in these United States I’ve visited.
Two flights of stairs up, is the completely outdoor terrace, with synthetic grass and comfy patio furniture letting you catch some sun with arguably the best views in town. If you’re there in summer, and came unprepared and forgot your swimsuit, worry not, Le Bain has a swimsuit vending machine!
Cocktails are for 14$ and my favorite hands-down is “La Bicyclette” (thanks Hye Yon!). The door policy is strict in terms of ID-checking, which is completely normal. As for dress code, remember, you can come here in a swimsuit in summer, so don’t go all-out fancy, but dress smart too. No one likes to party next to a guy with a studded t-shirt and big shades on. Go with a shirt and a cute bow tie (what I usually do).
Go there around 11-11:30 so you don’t spend too much time in line and coat-check. Enjoy a couple of cocktails, and soon enough, the music will be loud and the beats per minute just right to get you dancing in the ever-so-slightly foggy club that adds to the enchantment of the centerpiece of the venue: the disco ball above the jacuzzi area and the gorgeous Manhattan skyline all around you.
When I was exploring the scene in LA with my good friend DJ Base last month, I was surprised time and again by just how successful originally Lebanese folks were in Tinseltown. Perhaps the jewel of the Lebanese diaspora’s star-studded crown is Couture Los Angeles, the new it-club on Hollwood Boulevard.
I was lucky enough to get invited to the opening by my good friend, Cyril Bitar, the man behind Beirut’s legendary Underrated Party Crew, whose brother Dany Bitar co-owner of Couture, and a nightlife and entertainment mogul in LA with over two decades of rocking the scene under his belt.
Couture combines the finest of the fashion world with the best of luxury clubbing. The venue is centered around a catwalk, that actually is a bonafide fashion catwalk featuring designers from all over the world and top-notch models.
Behind the catwalk is the DJ booth, with a large, crisp-clear display that visuals are shown on, which in my opinion is a very welcome change from the pixelated LED displays we’re now used to seeing everywhere. Right in front of the catwalk is a large booth area that fits two tables of revelers. To the right of the catwalk and on the farside of the club are smaller tables, all with sofas and low chairs, none of those tiny, uncomfortable tables with bar stools you can never really sit on. On the left side is a bar dotted with glass displays of fine jewelry and accessories that you can buy, or which Couture gifts you if you’re one of its high rollers.
The lighting is very elegant and unobtrusive and fits perfectly with the refined, upscale theme of the venue. No large moving heads and awkward multicolored displays, only a fine tone of white-beige, indirect lights and tastefully placed LED stripes over the catwalk and dancers podiums.
The scantily, but haute-couture clad and gorgeous hostesses and dancers also elaborate the club’s commitment to fashion along with their focus on the nocturnal entertainment world. The night started off with a mellow blend of House and Loungy music and quickly went into faster-paced hits from across the Top 40 spectrum (Hip Hop and Pop) when the two-time playmate and Maxim’s 55 sexiest woman in the world, Joanna Krupa went on stage and showcased Claire Farwell eco-friendly designs. Part of the proceeds went to PETA, which I thought was extremely amazing!
All in all, Couture was awesome and for once, I enjoyed clubbing in the US, something rare after being a seasoned clubber in Beirut. It was fantastic rubbing shoulders with celebrities like Perez Hilton and other big names in today’s world in such an intimate and fluid venue. If you’re a fashionista and appreciate a good night out, in the world’s entertainment capital, then Couture is for you, and it makes me extremely proud that many of the people behind it are from Lebanon! It’s definitely gonna be the first place I go to on my next visit to the City of Angels!
I know your heart just skipped a beat and you were wondering if I was back in Beirut. Truth is, I’m not. However, I, like you, wanna know what’s going on, especially in things and places I am very interested in. That is why, I’m publishing this guest post by the one person I trust enough to do this: Lori. She and I have been together at most of the places and events I’ve featured on this blog in the past two years. Our tastes are very similar and we tend to agree on most things. Here’s what Lori had to say.
Let me start off by telling you guys I’m not a huge EDM fan, and I don’t think I can do this club justice by reviewing it instead of Gino. But I, like many people I know, do enjoy a night out at a club where the point is to just dance, have a couple of drinks, and enjoy the music for its own sake. And that’s what Lebanon has been missing for a while as big clubs like White, Skybar and the like reign supreme with their bimbo-dress code- requirements and 10,000 dollar price tags on tables.
Although many ongoing events have succeeded in giving us a place to dance and blow off some steam to good music, we still were missing a permanent venue for those nights. And that’s where Uberhaus (with it’s super cool concept and name) comes in.
On my way to the opening, I was really excited to find out what this place had to offer. First, let’s start with the location which was kind of hard to find. It is nestled in a small alley in Hamra below the WH hotel that bears the same logo.
In the venue, a staircase leads you underground where you are faced with a bar that stretches along the whole club. To your left, a few tables lit with black light and flashing strobes from time to time contrast with the “uber” dark setting of the club. But what’s flashier is the DJ stand facing the rest of the tables to your right. A huge LED screen with tetris-like square blocks covers the wall behind the DJ giving the place a nice touch of color.
The crowd was young and fun, and the staff was even funner and very friendly (I must say, the bartenders really looked like female German soldiers in their pencil skirts and hair tied in buns). People kept dancing to the awesome music the resident DJs were playing with sets that ranged from deep house to synthpop. (There’s one remix of You’ve got to show me love with the voices toned down really low to sound robotic that I LOVED)
What I really didn’t like about the night was the fact that everyone was smoking. And it’s not really about the law-breaking as much as it’s about how hard it was to keep my eyes open at the end of the night because of the really bad ventilation…
Location and venue: Out-of-the-way, nice underground venue
Music: A variety of electronic music (house, nudisco, tech house)
Atmosphere: Young and chill
Wheelchair accessible: no
Staff: Friendly and young
Smoking: Unfortunately, yes (despite being underground and nowhere close to outdoors)
Definitely, a MUST try!
So, before going into the details of the controversy, allow me to talk a bit about the awesome performance of the 54-year-old Queen of Pop. It was one of my favorite live performances ever. The choreography, stage props, visuals, gimmicks, dancers, stunts and the oozing energy from Madonna really was something to be lucky to witness.
She sang a solid two hours and a half, with barely any break between each song, wardrobe and full-on stage reshuffle for each song. Grand pianos, marching bands and cheerleader outfits, guns and rifles, the show had everything. Among the songs that pleased the crowd the most and had everyone on their feet, was “Like a Prayer” which was towards the end, after the controversial mini-speech she gave about America and endorsed Barrack Obama for a second terms in the White House. Watch the short clip below.
Here’s a part of what she said
“Y’all better vote for f–king Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that’s some amazing s–t,” she said. “It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit.”
Now, after a huge uproar about the comments and every far-right conservative jumping on the “black muslim” comment, Madonna later clarified she was being “…ironic on stage. Yes, I know Obama is not a Muslim – though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were? The point I was making is that a good man is a good man, no matter who he prays to. I don’t care what religion Obama is – nor should anyone else in America.”
The speech might’ve been a resonating yet unorthodox endorsement for Obama, with Madonna stripping down to her lingerie with the word “OBAMA” drawn on her lower back and saying “she would take it all off when Obama wins” right after suggesting Obama was the result of the accomplishments of American icons like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
However, her “Black Muslim” comment threw off the astonished audience and gave the conservative media a field day, allowing them to revive and elaborate the rumors, which Obama himelf laid to rest several times, that he was a Muslim seeking to enforce Sharia Law on America. A farfetched conspiracy theory which still seems to rile up parts of the GOP conservative base.
Anyway, Madonna was crazy on that night, telling everyone she had had a little bit too much to drink. But, she delivered one hell of a show that did not fail to please at all. This is one extra thing to cross off my bucket list and tell my children about some day. Oh, and one of the perks was the guest appearance of Benny Benassi right before Madonna took to the stage, warming up for her. It was a complete surprise and one that made me scream like a little fangirl “WOOOOHOOOO! BENNY BENASSI”
I’m no fan of rock music, at all! But, the RHCP have had a special place in my heart for many years. Last night, was my first ever proper concert of the sort, and I must say I loved it. Perhaps the things that struck me most as being different from EDM events is that there is a LOT less dancing and a LOT less drinking. Kudos for the less drinking, not so much for the dancing! But then again, you’re there to appreciate the live act, right, so all is forgiven. I also liked how it starts early and ends before the night is over, letting you continue elsewhere in the good mood you left the concert from.
The RHCP were awesome, the energy, visuals, set-up, interaction with the crowd and even the tweets and Instagram shots leading up to the concert were awesome. They expressed their thanks several times for letting them perform in Beirut, saying they never thought there would come a day and they’d play in Beirut. They also wished us love and peace (even though lots of hate was being dished out at the entrance of the Beirut Waterfront).
They played some of their classics like Californiacation and By the Way. Snow, Can’t Stop and Rain Dance Maggie were also the biggest crowd pleasers. In between songs, the guys did solos which I think were improvised? Bass, guitar, drums and different percussions with a surprise at the end by starting one of their tracks.
After they left and said farewell, the crowd chanted “we want more” and didn’t budge, and the RHCP obliged (unlike Placebo! Hmph!) And they kicked off with a few minutes of solid experimenting with the drums and drum-inspired, automated gadgets which I thought were pretty cool mixed up with phaser sounds and effects, adding just a hint of electronic sweetness to the awesome jamming.
They then played two songs which I’m not familiar with, and bid us the final, heartfelt farewell with a Lebanese flag on stage and one of their guitarists wearing a Lebanese-flag-RHCP tee…
All in all, it was a brilliant performance and an all-around very entertaining show. Glad I got to scratch watching RHCP live off my bucket list with so many people I love.
So, I missed the opening of this place and didn’t get a chance to try it till after a month or so after its first weekend. I went there on a Monday with Lori for a nice quiet dinner, and I must say, it was very enjoyable.
For one, it’s much closer to home, with barely a few minutes drive and you’re there. So, for all you Metn-Keserwen-Greater Beirut residents, that’s something to factor in given our beloved police forces always add useless checkpoints to make sure you don’t change the routine of 24/7 traffic inside Beirut.
For two, it’s set up is very cool. Everything is circular, with the focal point being the metal structure that houses the bar, any live acts and of course the wicked-awesome LED-light-disco-ball-thing. Around the innermost circle is another one lined up with medium-sized tables and the last one houses the bigger tables and lounges.
For three, the view is spectacular since you get a complete view of Beirut and the Port, as well as the surrounding mountains and highway just below. If you’re there early, you’ll probably get an awesome view of the sunset.
Now, for the most important part, the food. I ordered a chicken satay and a side of steak skewers with halloum bites. Both were amazing, the chicken was marinated with so many different flavors that you’d let every bite settle in a bit to try and figure out what the ingredients were. As for the halloum and steak, it took me a while to figure out it was halloum cheese, since it tasted so much better than what I was used to as a kid taking halloum sandwiches to school…
Lori had a nice chicken fillet which came in a very nice format. It was rolled up to look like a buche-de-noel Christmas cake, with different parts of the chicken spread out over each other, then rolled up into one neat, not too dry, not too moist and perfectly marinated chicken.
If you’re not looking for dinner, but some dancing, then head down there Thursdays and Fridays, where they host live acts followed by a DJ. If you’re not a big fan of live music, then go Saturday where it’s just DJs spinning some commercial favorites. To keep up to date, they have a Facebook page of the bands and singers they host.
Verdict: It’s a nice cross-over between a chilled-out lounge and a pumped-up rooftop club, could serve as both depending on what you’re looking for
Price: 50USD per person should let you wine and dine copiously
Location: Antelias seaside road
Atmosphere: Awesome view, quirky cool decor and lighting
Staff: Very kind and accommodating
I blog about my unusual life and happenings. I'm Lebanese with a nomadic lifestyle. I hope to eventually settle down somewhere and become a neuromarketer