Clubhouse is no longer invite-only as app is now open to all

Since making its debut a year ago, Clubhouse has grown to hosting half a million 'rooms' daily

The Clubhouse audio chat forum on Wednesday opened its virtual rooms to all comers, ending an invitation-only mode that was a coveted ticket during the pandemic.

Clubhouse did away with its waiting list, saying anyone could join using smartphones powered by Apple or Google-backed Android software.

"We're thrilled to share that Clubhouse is now out of beta, open to everyone, and ready to begin its next chapter," founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth said in a blog post.

"Everyone in the world should have access to meaningful conversations."

Since making its debut a year ago, Clubhouse has grown to hosting half a million "rooms" daily, with the average listener spending more than an hour a day in the online community, according to Davison and Seth.

"We suspect there will be many more ups and downs as we scale, and competition from the large networks will be fierce," the founders said.

Spotify last month launched a live audio app called Greenroom, the Swedish online music streaming giant's answer to Clubhouse.

The rival platforms allow users to join live discussions or to host their own.

Along with podcasts, social audio has taken off over the past year with the San Francisco Clubhouse leading the way.

Since December, Clubhouse has been downloaded over 18 million times, according to the site AppMagic.

Other tech giants have also jumped into the live audio sector with Twitter launching Spaces in December and Facebook hosting Live Audio Rooms.

Questions remain, however, over the ability of the various platforms to monetise their content.

They also have to compete with Discord, which has been offering live audio since 2015 and has more than 140 million users although it has been more focused on video game players.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the internet titan will pour $1 billion into programs for creators of popular content at the social network through 2022.

The announcement showed Facebook ramping up efforts to attract and keep creators as it competes with platforms such as TikTok, Clubhouse and Google-owned YouTube.

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 5:58 AM
LA LIGA FIXTURES

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Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

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Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.

Picture of Joumblatt and Hariri breaking bread sets Twitter alight

Mr Joumblatt’s pessimism regarding the Lebanese political situation didn’t stop him from enjoying a cheerful dinner on Tuesday with several politicians including Mr Hariri.

Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted a picture of the group sitting around a table at a discrete fish restaurant in Beirut’s upscale Sodeco area.

Mr Joumblatt told The National that the fish served at Kelly’s Fish lounge had been very good.

“They really enjoyed their time”, remembers the restaurant owner. “Mr Hariri was taking selfies with everybody”.

Mr Hariri and Mr Joumblatt often have dinner together to discuss recent political developments.

Mr Joumblatt was a close ally of Mr Hariri’s assassinated father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The pair were leading figures in the political grouping against the 15-year Syrian occupation of Lebanon that ended after mass protests in 2005 in the wake of Rafik Hariri’s murder. After the younger Hariri took over his father’s mantle in 2004, the relationship with Mr Joumblatt endured.

However, the pair have not always been so close. In the run-up to the election last year, Messrs Hariri and Joumblatt went months without speaking over an argument regarding the new proportional electoral law to be used for the first time. Mr Joumblatt worried that a proportional system, which Mr Hariri backed, would see the influence of his small sect diminished.

With so much of Lebanese politics agreed in late-night meetings behind closed doors, the media and pundits put significant weight on how regularly, where and with who senior politicians meet.

In the picture, alongside Messrs Khoury and Hariri were Mr Joumbatt and his wife Nora, PSP politician Wael Abou Faour and Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazih el Nagari.

The picture of the dinner led to a flurry of excitement on Twitter that it signified an imminent government formation. “God willing, white smoke will rise soon and Walid Beik [a nickname for Walid Joumblatt] will accept to give up the minister of industry”, one user replied to the tweet. “Blessings to you…We would like you to form a cabinet”, wrote another.  

The next few days will be crucial in determining whether these wishes come true.