Monday, October 25, 2004

(designed by bernard khoury)

B 018 resembles a slit carved into the earth, as if the ground’s throat had been cut and shoved open.

100 years ago, this site was the city harbor's former quarantine station, a prison for the sick and the weak, 60 years ago, it was a caged refugee camp for armenians fleeing turkish persecution, 25 years ago, it was a deathbed, a massacre of palestinians at the hands of lebanese militias.

and now, it is the trendiest bar in beirut.

the bar is designed to look like a military bunker. you enter through tight stairs at the south end of the structure and are pulled through a thick and dense underground “airlock” space manned by scowling bouncers. a gunner’s slit gives an eye-level glimpse of what lies beyond: a 60-by-40-foot room adorned with scarlet velvet drapes. inside are locked-in-place tables and benches that feature portraits of dead musicians and singers. the roof of the bar opens up to the world above, so the sky can be seen by all those dancing below.

at B 018, you gotta dance on tables, decadence is a necessity.

""The danger in architecture here (in Lebanon) is that everyone acts as if nothing happened. History is simplified." - bernard khoury