The explosion that tore through Beirut’s port area on Tuesday, claiming more than 100 lives and wounding thousands, also reportedly destroyed the Lebanese capital’s nightclub district in its entirety.
A harrowing account of the devastation came from Guardian journalist Martin Chulov, who walked through the streets of the east Beirut suburbs towards the port. A warehouse at the port stored 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that was linked to the blast. Dozens of buildings were severely damaged and the area was left in “apocalyptic ruin,” Chulov wrote.
“A whole nightclub district was virtually wiped out,” he wrote. “Weeks of sustained artillery shelling had not caused the same amount of ruin, even during the peak of the civil war.”
Among the scores of nightclubs and bars that were situated near the location of the blast were The Ballroom Blitz, B018, AHM, The Gärten, and The Grand Factory.
The Ballroom Blitz’s co-founder Moe Choucair told Mixmag on Wednesday that “the nightclub district is indeed all along the port but the damage means nothing to our team in comparison to the apocalyptic disaster our country went through.”
It is loss not only for the people of Beirut, but for the global dance music community. A good number of the venues were the reason that dance music gained a presence and popularity in Lebanon’s capital. The Ballroom Blitz operated a “dynamic, transformative and diverse space,” Mixmag reported. Meanwhile, The Gärten was one of the first venues with a legitimate underground dance floor and table service.
B108, a war bunker nightclub established in 1998, was Beirut’s most famous underground nightclub and became an “iconic piece of Lebanon’s nightlife,” according to The961. Beirut “has long been home to the most epic nightlife in the region,” according to the outlet. Even Dubai began welcoming Lebanese nightclubs.
Beirut also was set to host an edition of Creamfields in 2013 before it was canceled due to security reasons.
The city suffered $3 billion to $5 billion in damages, Beirut’s Governor Marwan Abboud estimated. Rebuilding is not going to be easy, as the capital was experiencing an economic implosion prior to the blast. With nightclubs categorized as non-essential, their resurgence in will likely be difficult, if possible.
Every building even 4 kilometers away from the site of the explosion had windows blown out.
“We’re cursed,” a man in his early 20s with a glass cut told Chulov. “Even if this was an accident, it’s the last thing we could afford.”
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