Beirut’s New “It” Place: Dictateur – A Big Failure

This is for you Roland, as promised 😛

After going to Dicateur on Tuesday with a couple of friends, I found the place to be very interesting – completely different from any other pub I’ve been to (and contrary to popular belief, they are many). It had a rustic, authentic, innovative, hipster feel to it. It just felt like a great fit for someone like me and the crowd I usually frequent: something not too sophisticated but still with taste.

So after trying out the newly opened Outpost Grill in ABC (not too bad a place, the average grade we gave it was 55/100), we decided to go and get much needed drinks in Dictateur. After parking, which in Burj Hammoud is a feat in itself, we walked steadily towards the place. A lovely chap greeted us at the door.

“Do you have a reservation?” he asked.

We obviously didn’t. But we were there for a couple of drinks so we didn’t think it would matter.

“Is anyone here below 24?” he then asks.

We were all 22.

“I’m sorry. Only 24 and up are admitted to this place.” He then replies.

“But I was here a couple of days ago and no one was 24,” I interjected.

“The policy wasn’t enforced back then. I’m personally enforcing it starting today.” He replied.

And voila the big question. Why the f*** would a pub have an admission age of 24?

1) Alcohol drinking age is 18 in Lebanon. So if I’m above 18, I’m as entitled to an alcoholic beverage as the next person. I’m 4 years above 18. Just saying.

2) Dictateur is, whether the owners like it or not, geographically in a region known for having pubs that are  approachable by everyone. I understand Whiskey Mist, Phoenicia’s night club, to have an admission age above 21. But do you seriously expect the people who will be frequenting Dictateur to be as “high-class” as the people going to Whiskey Mist?

3) Regardless of what entertainment Dictateur may have had set up for the night, it doesn’t justify the 24 age. Come to think of it, why is the admission age 24? Why not 23? Or 25? Why not make admission age 40 and be done with it? You’d guarantee a “high-class” clientele that will never tarnish the place’s reputation.

Oh wait. I, a 22 year old, can go to a strip club, a super night club, can get wasted at any other bar, vote and decide my country’s future, gamble my parents’ money away at Lebanon’s Casino and can’t enter Dictateur. Is anything wrong with this picture?

I had plans set up to visit with a bunch of friends to fully test the place, food and all, next weekend. Well, even if they change the admission policy, you won’t find me there anytime soon.