Jeddah’s ‘Halal nightclub’ shut on debut night

JK Bank

Authorities on Thursday stopped the opening of an alcohol-free Saudi nightclub as they claimed it violated legal proceedings. The Whiteclub club operates as a licensed venue in Dubai and Beirut, and now was scheduled to open another branch in Jeddah, but was not allowed by authorities ahead of the arrival of its headline act, American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.

The brand which runs venues including Indie restaurant and lounge, Italian kitchen Matto, rooftop lounge Iris, Drai’s beach club and many more is one of several operated by Dubai-based Addmind Hospitality Group.

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Its CEO Tony Habre told Arabian Business in April that White would open in Saudi Arabia as a “high-end café”.

However, the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment tweeted that the event “had not been licensed” and was “a violation of legal proceedings”.

It said it had agreed to a different event and that its contractor had “taken advantage” of an extension of that license to commit “unacceptable violations”.

The nightclub had received mixed reviews from Saudis prior to its opening, with some condemning its dancefloor, and others welcoming its ‘halal bar’.

Habre said in April that Addmind is finalising a café version of its Iris lounge in Jeddah, adding that the rooftop venue will play music and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We’re finalising the Iris café for Jeddah. It will be a café and lounge with music and breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s also a rooftop, outdoor and indoor, and a very interesting concept for the Jeddah market, which is growing, and they have great concepts opening there too,” he said.

The tickets to White Jeddah costed between 500 ($134) to 1,000 Saudi riyals. And visitors above the age of 18 were allowed.

Meanwhile, American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo, apologized to his fans on Thursday in an Instagram post, stating, “Apologies to the people of Jeddah. On the way to the venue, I was informed it had been shutdown. Guess we’ll try it again another time. Much love to my flks at White”.