Dancing on the tables is all part of the scene in Beirut where the action goes on until the unofficial parental curfew hour of 4am.  Most young people still live at home, so will stay out with their partner until it is time to go home to mum and dad.
Lebanon – Been There

Beirut's life-loving family wants you in

Photo by Guido Alberto Rossi

Lebanon – Been There Beirut's life-loving family wants you in

The Lebanese have a warm, Mediterranean outlook, coupled with a tradition of Arab hospitality, making it easy to find new friendships.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

The foundation of life is the extended family, always important in the Middle East but doubly so in Lebanon during the hard times when it was all you could rely on. Look around in any café and you will see several generations enjoying one other’s company.

Young people live at home until they get married and that adds to the mix of ages, binding different generations together. It is also a reason for the party-until-dawn atmosphere. “If you live with your parents, you have nowhere to take your girlfriend home to,” a Lebanese friend laments.

Entry to most clubs in Lebanon is free – you need to book ahead to get into the most popular ones – and drinks are usually ordered by the bottle. Most clubs don’t kick into action until 2am and stay open until 5.30am. The music goes on until the sun comes up over the Mediterranean. However, 4am is the parental curfew hour for many couples, so I notice the clubs start to empty around then.

Dance floors are tiny or non-existent and clubbers dance around the table they have booked, with many of the girls not shy about dancing on the table tops. I do feel seriously under-dressed, though. The local rule seems to be “Dress to impress, then bring it up another notch.” They party here like there may be no tomorrow – no doubt an essential philosophy in Beirut’s bad times and one I am familiar with from my hometown of Belfast.

“Beirut is a relatively small city of 2 million and most of the people in any club will know each other,” says my friend. That makes for an intimate atmosphere and I am always swept up in this Lebanese love for life – an unexpected passion more associated with the Latin world. Both male and female clubbers are happy to chat, try out their English and make sure I am having a good time.

Like anywhere, the fashionable club of the moment changes from month to month but Crystal Club is a survivor, staying open despite anything war or business rivals have ever thrown at it. Its history, decadent décor (think crocodile skin sofas), cocktail list and blinged-up clientele make it a must-see.

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