How B018 Turned A War Bunker Into One Of The Hottest Nightclubs

How BO18 Turned A War Bunker Into One of The Hottest Nightclubs
Jon Shard | Ieva Saudargaite

During the Lebanese Civil War, while artillery fire and missiles rained down on the residents of Beirut from morning till night, the symbol B018 emerged as a sign of hope and positivity.

Through music, Naji Gebran kept his sanity and sense of future over the course of 15 years (1975-1990) of death and devastation.

In the 1980s, Gebran would seek refuge in his small chalet in Beirut, recognizable by its front door that bore the now-groundbreaking combination B018, and he would lose himself in his beloved, serene world of music.

Quickly, Gebran’s music and chalet became the refuge of many other music lovers who were desperate to escape their reality.

His “Music Therapy” space became a source of internal peace as more and more people attended the musician’s small parties.

To keep up with the increasing number of attendants, Naji Gebran moved his “venue” to a warehouse location in Sin El Fil in 1994, before finally settling in its current “bunker” location in 1999.

In that year, renowned Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury was hired to build a proper venue for B018.

The nightclub, which was the first in the region to introduce EDM, was to be built in Karantina; an area that holds horrible war memories.

With that in mind, Khoury took a “war architecture” approach to design the club.

B018 was built underground and resembled a communal grave as much as it did a military bunker. It still does.

Inside, the seats were designed to resemble coffins, and the general atmosphere was dark and mixed with hints of religious architecture. Its distinguished roof was made to be retractable and resembles a helipad from above when closed.

The location of the bunker nightclub remained the subject of heavy criticism for a while due to its dark history.

However, the backlash was countered by the sentiment that the club was actually intended to commemorate Lebanon’s wartorn past and solidify Naji Gebran’s original notion of “dancing through the warzone.”

Needless to say, with time, the B018 nightclub became one of the most famous clubs in the world and an attraction for celebrities and avid music lovers, as well as world-famous DJs and musicians.

In recent years, B018 was refurbished by its original architect, who, among numerous other improvements, introduced more dark elements, such as spine-shaped lamps, and replaced the old wooden furniture with more durable pieces.