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Former Communist Speakeasy, Now open to all, Same Vibe
Abu Eli used to be a communist speakeasy. Situated in a discrete, almost nondescript storefront on the ground floor of the Yacoubian building in Caracas, almost all the way down to the ocean, ex-communist party fighter Abu Eli opened the pub in the early 1990s. Abu Eli would welcome communists (the dissenting kind) of nationalities, into his pub. In its early years, you had to know Abu Eli, or a regular in order to enter: Abu Eli recalls fondly a visit from long time prisoner Souha Bechara, and Japanese Red army Kozo Okamoto, as well as countless other rank and file.
Abu Eli no longer requires an invitation, but retains its militant aesthetic. The walls are plastered with pictures of a certain kind of communist - Che, Lenin, Ziad al Rahbani, Ghassan Kanafani, even Fayrouz are honored with their image plastered on the wall (though majority of the photos are of Che). Bar guests often sign their names on 1,000LL notes and these are prominently displayed on the walls, alongside aforementioned photographs, and others of the guests with Abu and Um Eli themselves.
If debating the shortcomings of the Third International or the recent victory of Podemos in Spain are not your thing, fear not - there are no required conversation topics (the LCP might be Stalinist, but Abu Eli’s is far more libertarian). Abu Eli has always been a place to kick back, have a few drinks, and snack on the endless quantities of Fresh Fruit, Bizurat, Carrots, and termos, and popcorn that are served in generous proportions throughout the evening to guests. Abu Eli also offers tasty sandwiches (we recommend the roast beef), and other times more substantive fare. Keeping true to its founding spirit, drinks are fairly cheap (a Jameson is 10,000LL). Notably, Abu Eli is also one of the only places in Hamra still adhering to the no-indoor smoking policy: Um Eli is happy to hand you an ashtray while you carry your drink, and smoke on the stools outside, watching the parking lot traffic.