One of the first things you learn about Beirut is that it is an international party hotspot. It’s always called the “Paris of the Middle East” (who knows what this means, I’ve never been to Paris), it’s the most sexually liberal place in the Arab world, and a proud host to some ridiculously good looking people. There isn’t a night you can’t find something wild to do, and besides generic clubs that are always open, there is a special aspect of Beirut partying that I haven’t seen anywhere else: Open bar/Themed Parties.
A famous rockstar friend hosts a party called Happy Hour Hammer Time which is his approach to Thirsty Thursdays. It starts around 9pm at the bar, you pay LL20,000 ($13.33) and drink open beer all night long plus play beer pong. So a few weeks ago I decided to check it out. It was in Hamra, so Matias and I took a service. Just as we rolled into Hamra traffic my phone rang. It was a Dubai area code. The only people I knew in Dubai were from work (I used to work at LIvingSocial, more about that in another post) so naturally I thought of the National articles that were circulating about our impending collapse in the ME. I imagined they were laying us off right then and there.
It was head of the HR but she had different news. I was trying to listen and silently swat Matias and the driver so they’d shut the fuck up because she sounded serious. This was around the time of those kidnappings which spurred my company to take action. The head of the security team for LS, an American company, was concerned for my personal safety so they wanted to fly me to Dubai immediately and put me up in a hotel! I jumped out of the cab and listened to her while hiding behind a large concrete box, in a pitch black parking lot, with my finger jammed in my ear. Then I thanked her and hung up.
I couldn’t decide right then and there. I mean I’ve been getting warning messages from the embassy before I even moved here. Plus they were only kidnapping Syrians. Plus I had a beer pong tourney to dominate! I made up my mind to forget about it and skipped on over to the bar.
And when I said open beer I meant it; The taps were on OUR side of the bar and we could refill endlessly with zero wait. It was more than dangerous, it was toxic. We played one game of beer pong going from 9-1 (us losing) to 1-1 for the majority of the game until our evil opponent sank the last cup. It was all good though, since we amassed a crowd of supporters who we recruited to play flip cup. I was so drunk and high on the feeling that my omnipotent and glorious homeland was ready to save me from the impending doom outside so I demanded all 16 gawkers join the game. We chugged, screamed, spat, and flipped to oblivion.
The next day was a nightmare with a hangover of epic proportions. As opposed to Almaza which is Lebanon’s first and most famous beer that really doesn’t give you much of a hangover, its newer and hipper rival, 961, is heavy stuff. I vomited all morning between sleeping. When I awoke I Gchatted with my new personal security guard and told him the ‘sitch on the ground wasn’t so dangerous. We agreed to keep in touch, but little did I know that I’d only have a couple days of access to him left.
So now I have no job and no personal security man, but there IS another Happy Hour Hammer Time this week and it’s totally FREE! I think they got the memo that I was laid off so they’re extending the generosity above and beyond my imagination. I will definitely be there to kick some Beiruti beer pong ass, will you?