“When I started, I came out of nowhere,” says Chafic el Khazen with no small amount of swagger. You can’t blame him, this is the guy who’s about to help take Dubai’s nightlife on to the next level. An Economics and Political Science major who learned his business while climbing the corporate ladder, el Khazen now finds himself heading one of the region’s foremost hospitality management and event production firms. It’s a position he takes seriously.
“I really wanted to acquire all the knowledge I could about business before expanding abroad,” he explains of his decision to open SKY2.0 in Dubai almost two decades after its debut in Beirut. “It’s a big market. But I now have the tools to equip me.”
While SKYBAR has been a nightlife institution in Beirut for 15 years, SKY2.0 aims to reinvent Dubai’s current nightlife, which el Khazen feels could try a little harder – and he isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers to explain himself. “Entrepreneurs in Dubai have an opportunistic approach to make their money back as soon as possible,” he explains. “I think that the customers always feel ripped off. The value they get is not equal to the money they spend.”
If you feel el Khazen’s a refreshing approach, then you’d be right. He’s on a mission to create a party in the city where everybody’s a VIP. “I think there’s a culture here where the more you spend, the better your treatment. I want to put an end to that.”
“When I go out in Dubai, I feel like it’s more of a statement than it is about having fun,” he says. “We want to go back to the essence of the industry. We want our customers to feel safe and respected – they are our values and we feel that will set us apart from other nightlife in the city.”
As for the new venue itself, well, located among the style leaders in Dubai Design District, el Khazen exclaims that it’s state of the art. It features the latest technology, including 3D bendable screens – both vertical and horizontal – with the building itself described as futuristic. Its location, which el Khazen says positions it in an environment that reflects the identity of the brand, was also chosen to avoid any residential noise pollution.
The open air venue was designed to contain the energy of the people inside SKY2.0, keeping it central and focused where it should be – on the partygoers having a good time.