Magic Hour; the blissful, precious, and all too brief moment that sees daylight surrendering to night in a swan song of brilliant colors that have inspired poetry, song, scripture, philosophy, religion, and all manner of romantic existentialism since the dawn of time.
While just North of the Lebanese Coast, on the docks of the beach resort Halat Sur Mer, it settles on a gem of a place called The Circle, where, just shy of 7 PM, its customers are treated to a panoramic view of an ocean at dusk and an irresistible feeling of cool and awe harmoniously meshed.
That is the unique charm of The Circle, appropriately named for its circular parameters situated at the tail of the port like a lighthouse or a beacon and supported by a pyramid-like foundation of rocks piling down into the ocean.
The restro-bar reached its heyday this summer, but in fact, it has been around for many years, known only by the summer residents of Halat Sur Mer as a small, albeit unfurnished resting place for boat owners and locals to enjoy a quick afternoon drink before the day’s final stretch.
Enter Wissam Saliba, the enigmatic singer and star, who, along with owner Mike and actor/comedian Charles Hbeiliny, saw the place for the magical jewel that it is and decided to reinvent.
The result? Not long after Wissam and Charles put the word and appeal out did the people begin to amass in consistently rising numbers, coming to seek out the promise of sunsets and music and chilled cocktails.
Since its successful reopening, The Circle has paid host to concerts, birthday bashes, stand-up comedy shows, pool parties, screenings and weekend events and gradually became a stomping ground for celebrities and public figures reclining on spacious comfortable couches, basking in the warm glow of the fading sun, taking in the salty breeze of the ocean, enjoying the finest grilled dishes and wetting their whistles on some of the best cocktails on the coast.
There is a familial sense to the people and the way they interact with each other; not only in cases when they actually know each other but also because of the subtle positive undertones the whole environment entails, an aura of fun camaraderie present in the waiters and bartenders that even strangers can’t resist feeling a bonding kinship amongst each other. So it is in truth when they say The Circle is a labour of love.
The only misfortune or downside one might think of is that, come winter, the place shuts its doors and hibernates amidst the raging waves and stormy winds only to be re-opened and illuminated in due time for the soft breeze and gentle sun to reign supreme once again.