Just two or three doors down the street from our apartment block is the Evergreen. Unlike most of the bars in Beirut, which are open-fronted, or at least with huge plate-glass windows, it more closely resembles an English pub. It has a wooden front door, meaning you actually have to open it in order to find out what is inside. Jeromie (one of the other volunteers) and I discovered that we had both been intrigued by what we might find, so one night, along with Mahmoud, long-time friend of Jusoor, we pushed it open.
It turned out to be quite like an English pub on the inside as well: a narrow saloon with a bar along one side, and decorated with a rich collection of nick-nacks from all over the world. It also boasted a dartboard, squeezed into a corner by the door. There were some welcome additional attractions: every beer automatically arrives with complementary nuts, crisps, breadsticks and a small bowl of raw vegetables, all very tasty.
Crucially, however, the main attraction is the owner and landlord, named Amigo. He has a personality as big as a bus, and gives the warmest of welcomes; he soon becomes a friend.
Incidentally, that first visit turned into quite an experience. A couple of games of darts, a couple of beers, a couple of shots… and no distance at all to stagger home. I’m just off now to pay another visit.
And where was Val, while all the frivolity and nut eating was going on?? Next door working away I guess ; ).