BEIRUT: Uberhaus’ summer project, The Garten, has attracted international attention and thousands of partygoers because of its laid-back, outdoor style. But it has also introduced something new to Beirut: the outdoor movie theater. In association with Metropolis Cinema, The Garten planned four ?lms for the four months they are open this season.
The liaison between the two, Omar al-Kadi, serving as ambassador and cinema coordinator at The Garten, told The Daily Star that the project – which has two months left – has been nothing short of a complete success.
“The ?rst two ?lms we showed were a full house. Everyone seems to have really loved it,” he said.
Nour Saliba, sister of The Garten managing partner Nemer Saliba, agreed that an outdoor cinema seemed to be filling a need. “I always dreamt of going to an outdoor cinema,” she said. “Seeing how successful the turnout was made me really happy. We didn’t only attract people ready to club afterward, but avid cinema lovers.”
The movies also carry a special outdoor theme. The July and August screenings were “Easy Rider” and “Thelma and Louise,” respectively. Both ?lms see their lead roles embark on journeys set on the open road.
“I chose road movies because I felt that it really suits the outdoor venue and because the soundtracks are quite beautiful,” said Kadi, who came up with the idea.
Upholding the outdoor trend, next month’s ?lm will be “Wild at Heart,” and October’s ?lm will be “The Motorcycle Diaries.”
The Garten’s open-air cinema isn’t the only distinctive feature of Beirut’s newest nightclub.
When the movie is over, and you’re not in the mood for dancing just yet, there are beanbags and a hammock where one can relax and chat with friends. If you’re keen on partying, then The Garten was made for post-movie parties: The dance ?oor – a steel luminescent dome – sits only 15 meters away.
The Garten also boasts things like a restaurant, arcades and live art shows while the night goes on. Kadi explained the diversity of the nightclub, saying “at The Garten, we knew from the beginning we wanted to be different, to have the place tied to the arts.”
In creating such a mishmash venue, The Garten attracts a large variety of visitors, and the open-air movie screenings have played a large role in The Garten’s instant summer success story.
“It was really good. People were enjoying the movie, the popcorn, and whatever they were drinking. It’s a nice way to start a long Saturday night out in a cozy and comfortable venue. All I’ve been hearing is good feedback,” said bar supervisor Pascale Nachef.
Besides the great party atmosphere which usually lasts till sunrise, the retro vestige of the open-air cinema has added to The Garten’s counterculture persona, and Rolling Stone must have taken that into account when voting the summer club as the region’s ?nest.