Picture an old movie theater, probably dating back from the 80’s, torn down so bad it has obviously never been renovated since the glory days of Beirut Cinema. Ignore the 007-type posters in the lobby and forget the 5$ entrance fee (when a regular movie theater is no more than 8$). Then come on in to an extremely dark room where the only source of light is a faded screen showing straight porn from a classical French movie; One in every two seats is broken and the smell around the bathroom area is abominable.
It takes less than a minute to want to flee this place. But I stayed, and it took me another minute to get used to the dark inside and to start noticing by the fire of their cigarettes that there are actually guys sitting here and there in the room, scattered across the rows. Most of them sit there apparently alone, but in some instances I could see the silhouette of two heads next to each other, suggesting there’s some action going on.
Once I thought I had figured out how this place works, I started walking around the room. I chose a guy who looked decent and around my age, sat in the seat right next to him, fooled around for a few minutes until I came, and left without a word... talk about a quickie!
Who are the regulars in these places, I haven’t been able to figure it out. Of about ten people I came across that day, a few were 20-something Arab workers, a couple were old fat guys, a couple others were mid-aged taxi-driver-type guys, one was a total queen… and one was an adventurous GiB lost in lust (that would be me). Go figure if there's a pattern.
My other unsolved mystery remains: is everyone there gay? Or is it more of a place for those nasty straight guys who get so horny and with no woman around, they’re willing to take a walk on the wild side for some sexual attention?
From Lebtour’s online cruising guide:
Cinemas & Dark rooms
AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Commentary: All "At Your Own Risk" and specify clearly what you want and whether money is involved:
- Cinema Al Khayyam located in Jeanne d'Arc str. Hamra - Beirut
Cinema showing old films and straight porn. Best for cruising on Sun afternoons.
- Cinema Morocco located in Mar Doumit str. Sin el Fil – Nabaa - Beirut
Movie theatre showing old movies - straight porn and mainstream films. Cruising and pick-up area's for men. Some "action" in the upstairs seating and bathrooms.
- Cinema Royal located in Cornish el Nahr – Nabaa side - Beirut
Movie theatre showing old American & international movies - straight porn and mainstream films. Some "action" in the upstairs seating and bathrooms used as a dark room.
- Cinema Plaza located in Mar Doumit str. Sin el Fil – Nabaa - Beirut
Best on Sun afternoons. Very busy. Best crowd can be found here.