The complete lack of security and recurring bombings and clashes have made people avoid Hamra, which is minutes and meters away from recurring acts of violence and terror. The zero faith in our security forces to actually do something about making us a bit safer and considering our lives their priority, has made us think not once, but twice and thrice about going out when we don’t absolutely need to.
The relentless and brutal crackdown by the ISF and judicial police on youngsters that look a bit weird has landed many of them in jail over something as banal as 0.2 grams of marijuana. The camouflaged checkpoints designed to entrap people without any reasonable suspicion, has made people less eager to endanger their safety, rights and reputation by the security apparatus that survives over feeding off of people’s bribes and fear. The very public and televised arrest and humiliation of some pub goers and pub employees based on nothing but hearsay, has also been a strong deterrent.
Every single venue in Hamra is struggling or barely surviving. Drops in prices have attracted very little footfalls, even on weekends. Mostly young men going out to get wasted replaced the more comprehensive, sophisticated and hip crowds that used to take over Hamra’s dozens of pubs and venues after classes at AUB and LAU. As you know, if you go to a venue once and twice and find it near-empty and with a peculiar crowd, you probably won’t go there anymore.
The Rise of Mar Mikhail and Uruguay Street
Just like Gemmayzeh killed Monot, and Hamra killed Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhail has helped kill Hamra. People choose to go to Mar Mikhail far more than Hamra these days, with most of the pubs packed, or at least the sidewalks in front of them. The cheaper, more theme-based and scenester pubs have loyal clientele that rarely miss a happy hour there.
Of course, those with bigger bank accounts and a smarter wardrobe, prefer to go to the more up-scale Uruguay instead of the more hipster-oriented, hole in the walls that Mar Mikhail is beloved for. This undoubtedly helped kill off Hamra’s golden days as well.
Bye Bye Uberhaus
Uberhaus is my home. My family. I love every single one of them, and we’ve had absolutely amazing memories down there and at The Garten in the summer. I write this post with extreme bitterness at the fact Uberhaus had to move out of Hamra. This is most definitely the end of a fantastic era, perhaps my absolute favorite. The security and economic situation has caught up with the political one, and the days we thought would never come, are finally here. I would ask you to not lose hope, but I’ll tell you feel free to do so after Friday, when we say goodbye to the Uberhaus we love and adore.
RSVP here, invite everyone, and I’d better see all your gorgeous faces there on Friday.