- Published on Thursday, 03 May 2012 11:05
It was early evening where I sat in one of the historic landmarks of Ramallah district, surrounded by snow-bar trees, the early evening moon peeping between the trees onto wooden decking, a swimming pool, soft music from the rolling stones, a large fire in the background and the scent of carefully picked flowers pervading every sense.
Amin Amarouf, the owner of Snow Bar, sat opposite to me, looking in every way a part of what he had created and proudly told me the history of how this mini piece of paradise in Ramallah came about.
Nelly: Can you tell me about the history of Snow Bar?
Amarouf: The dream of my father was to have a swimming pool and restaurant where every person would feel comfortable to drink and eat in a relaxed environment. However when the 1967 war broke out, my father had built a small swimming pool, but where the water spring had once been, it was dried up and it was no longer possible.
My father was originally going to live in Lebanon where he bought a piece of land, furniture and a car. When he came to the house there was no car, it had been completely stripped of it's wheels, engine, everything. He decided enough was enough and came back to Palestine in 1951, where he bought a piece of land, planted pine trees and planned to create his own small Lebanon.
When the PA came into power in 1994 I decided to fulfill my fathers dream, I built a swimming pool and a small restaurant and by 2003 we had a full scale restaurant and bar.
Nelly: Can you tell me about business in the Snow Bar during the Intifada?
Amarouf: During the second Intifada Snow Bar had its hay day, it was the hit of the town. In the midst of the intifada everything was closed, there were tanks in the street and no freedom of movement, so people would flock to Snow Bar. The al-Aqsa brigade would drop their guns and take a break here to swim in the pool, while a soldier kept look-out and Marwan Barghouti spent time here before he was arrested.
Nelly: The plants and trees are very unique here, can you tell me how this garden came about?
Amarouf: Every tree here was planted by my father. He invested lots of care, work and time as it's an arid area and difficult to keep such trees and plants.
Nelly: What kind of atmosphere have you created here?
Amarouf: Having a place where people can feel as though it's their second home and a place that's full of the things you would want to have at home, including homely well portioned and tasty meals. I wanted to create an oasis, where you feel as though you have stepped into a different world.
Nelly: Can you tell me about events going on here?
Amarouf: This is a unique place where lots of people set up events, from weddings, receptions and dancing parties. The British embassy recently used it in commemoration of 100 days until the London 2012 Olympics, The American Embassy will use it very soon as well as business workshops such as Wataniya, UNDP and YMCA.
Tonight will be the official summer opening of Snow Bar. There will be 4 DJ's from around the world playing everything from dubstep, techno and house.
If you are dining in the Snow Bar during the day, be sure to ask for their delicasy Zarb.