The Weekly Leaks: Where and How to Bid 2010 Farewell

New Year’s Eve, the dreaded time of year that none of us ever plan ahead for. I myself fall into the same mistake time and again, and this year was no different.

You have to admit, the decisions are tough to take, starting from whom to spend it with, which friends, which date, which price tag, etc.

Lebanon’s NYE celebrations have certain traditions which have stuck with us the past few years. Most notably of course is at a chalet in Faraya or Faqra or somewhere higher up. You have to admit, it all sounds very romantic: the roaring fireplace, snowy and icy outside and the feeling you’re all alone. My NYEs up on the slopes though haven’t been what I expected them to be…

The feeling of being secluded several hundred meters above sea level with a select few friends and loved ones has lost its knack. In the run-up to midnight, traffic jams reminiscent of Beirut’s crammed entrances flood the roads with cars heading to countdown 2010’s final seconds with hundreds if not thousands of other people. We managed to miss this countdown three times, stuck in traffic and laughing about it with whomever was still sober.

Which brings us to another point, sobriety. Drinking is a must on NYE, and there’s no arguing about that. Unfortunately, we are used to begin our parties post-midnight in Lebanon, and when the dinner and rituals of NYE kick off around 8 or 9, most guests’ lights are out by 11.

Our host, or if you’ve ever been the host yourself, has to busy him or herself with preparing food, drinks, music, entertainment and of course making sure the chalet lasts through the night. So, that’s at least one party participant unable to fully enjoy the one night the whole globe celebrates together.

The music won’t be so great either. When no DJ is around, we’ll end up playing anything from Britney Spears, to Metallica and Frank Sinatra, on some old stereo or laptop hooked up to a couple of speakers.

Deduction? Maybe house parties or chalet parties aren’t as romantic and perfect as we thought.

Going somewhere where the food and drinks are ready, where the program is organized and where all you have to worry about is having fun, sounds a lot better to me this year.

DJs, artists, performers, dancers, decorations, cotillons, gourmet food, open premium bar and a lot of other glitzy additions that make every party unique. That sounds like the perfect way to welcome the new year. The problems with that to many people is of course two main things. One, is the price tag. Two, is the argument that “you can go to those clubs or restaurants any day of the year, new year’s eve should be special”.

Here’s why those two arguments are not really relevant:

When we’re spending a night at someone’s house or chalet, you need to pay for an expensive gift, maybe a premium bottle of vodka or whiskey. You also need to pitch in to help pay for the food and drink, unless your host is an insanely generous person. Let’s suppose you pay 50-70 USD for the gift, and an extra 40-50 for the cost of the food and drinks. That’s somewhere between a 100 and 120 USD… That’s a lot more than what most restaurants are charging for a full dinner, drinks and entertainment on NYE.

The price range this NYE at most prestigious clubs is somewhere between 120 and 400 USD. You will definitely find more expensive ones, but we’re talking about average. If we were to go to an a-list Beirut club on any given Saturday, we won’t be paying less than a 150 USD per couple, and that’s without any premium treatment. If we want to go to any given dance event or concert, and want decent seats, 200 USD per couple is an understatement. So, why do we suddenly become stingy on NYE? After all, it is a special night that comes and goes only once every year, maybe a total of 70 times in our lifetime, not all of which we will remember…

Next, we move on to the “specialness” of the night, and how we can go to any club any day. For one, the clubs and restaurants make sure that their NYE celebrations are totally different from their usual lineups. If not completely different, at least at a whole new level. I say this with a few clubs in mind, like B018 spending the night with clubbing superbrand Hed Kandi, the Basement that is staging a snowball fight at midnight and Maison Blanche transforming into the Playboy Mansion.

It’s true I visit these clubs and others on a weekly basis, but I never thought I’d be throwing a snowball at Jade in the Basement this NYE… So, no, you can’t experience NYE nights any night of the year, for the clubs around Beirut and Lebanon make sure their lineups and entertainment programs wow their clientele.

So, when you think about it, you might want to spend NYE going out somewhere, and believe me, there are enough types and genres of parties and events to please any taste and match any budget.

New Year’s Eve 2011 Options I Recommend:

  • B018, Karantina, is hosting clubbing superbrand Hed Kandi, with superstar UK DJ Greg Myers, Kandi Dancers and a decor and atmosphere that reflect the Hed Kandi world-renowned image. Sounds pretty expensive… But the after-midnight walk-ins, with premium open bar, are 120$ (more)
  • White Circus at BIEL is the place this NYE for elite clubbers. With the most high-end tables selling at 20,000 USD, you know that “etre freak” is indeed “chic”. You could get in for a tenth of that amont too though, so don’t worry (more)
  • The Basement is turning into a frozen underground paradise complete with fog, thunder, lightning and snow with Ice Age Baby that is set to transform the last NYE at this legendary club into a truly memorable one starting at 150 USD open bar, food and a champagne bottle (more)
  • Palais this year will be celebrating the first night of 2011 with none other than the Pussy Cat Dolls and SNAP for the afterparty of a lifetime (more)
  • Metis NYE is a Splonge special with big local and regional names bringing you a diverse selection to celebrate to starting 250 USD (more)
  • Maison Blanche or should I say the Playboy Mansion will undoubtedly be the most erotic celebration of 2011’s arrival (more)

Other Huge Performances You Should Look Into:

  • Pussy Cat Dolls and SNAP are celebrating with Lebanon this year at Forum de Beyrouth, need I say (more)?
  • Ragheb Alama and Haifa Wehbe supported by 4 international DJs that will bring a true a-list western-eastern fusion celebration to BIEL (more)

Calmer, More Intimate Places

  • Indigo is situated on the roof of Le Grey Hotel in DownTown Beirut and would be perfect to celebrate with the family and loved ones (more)
  • Edde Sands promises a diverse choice for every taste, age and group, with its multiple venues and restaurants all hosting NYE celebrations (more)
  • Gemmayzeh is jam-packed full of NYE preparations. You might want to look into the fair-priced offers listed in our Calendar
  • El Rancho, HardRock Cafe and Applebees are among several others offering a unique kind of celebration that stands out from the normal club scene with a more homy feel

I hope I helped you narrow down your options with this diverse selection of NYE celebrations that we’d recommend and that suit most tastes and every wallet.

Please, please, please, make sure you don’t drink and drive on the most dangerous night for drivers of the year. Drink, get drunk even, but make sure you’ve booked a cab or have a sober designated driver.

Stay safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 from myself the BNL Team!

And make sure you check out last week’s Weekly Leaks Debut: You RnBeirut