Flashback: Gazelle Club

Post by Mark


Gazelle Club was THE club in Kuwait back in the 60s and up until the 1990 Gulf War. I went there only a few times back in the 80s and so have very faint memories of the place. I actually remember only two things, one was a large trampoline I used to play on, and two a very disturbing incident where a kid fell off the swimming pool slide, hit his head on the floor and later passed away. Gazelle Club was located in Fintas and got destroyed by the Iraqis during the 1990 invasion. I never understood why it was never rebuilt again.


The photos below are ones I found from a bunch of sources (all listed below) and show Gazelle Club during it’s greatest days as well as the current state of the club.

via @gharabally, @amerhilal, Kuwait-History and Gazelle Club on Facebook

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49 comments, add your own...

  1. Patrick says:

    Look at all those hipsters.

  2. Buzz says:

    I wonder who owns it?

    • 3azeez says:

      According to the link Mark posted, the club was established in 1962 or 1964 for employees of Almulla company and was run by a member of the Mulla family and his sister. It later became attraction for westerners and some wealthy Kuwaitis.

      Kuwait was full of such clubs, after the Iraqi invasion many Kuwaitis believed that the invasion, religion businessmen started promoting the idea that the invasion occurred because people were withdrawn from their religion. That, in addition to some extremism witnessed immediately after the liberation from the invasion along with political deals has made us “appear” like a more strict country.

      Such social gatherings still take place though but are more exclusive nowadays.

      • me says:

        The decline of social activities such as the above started right after the late prince took power and the establishment of ” al isla7 al Igitma3i”, which their growth and influence surfaced right after the invasion and their direct involvement in politics. Gradually,things started going backwards to our status in the present day. Expats from such fabric are in decline and the few of them and Kuwaitis that still enjoy life rather go to dubai over the weekend. Lets stop reminiscing the past and move forward to accept our current status “work, gym, avenues, food and fly out over the weekend to catch up with everything else…….

        • me says:

          I’m just telling u that it has nothing to do with the invasion and it’s been growing since the 80’s…also figures don’t support the “we appear” to be strict”..it is strict as the extremists have been wining one election after the other, so they have votes that oppose ur argument….

          • ahem says:

            Kuwait’s election results have been rigged since 1981. Election results aren’t reliable indicators of anything, especially how ”religious/irreligious” a population is getting.

            The government has been gerrymandering the electoral districts since 1980: http://books.google.com.kw/books?id=EVqdiFh33gYC&pg=PA86&dq

            Election results are always manipulated.

          • ahem says:

            Wrong page link: The Kuwaiti government has been gerrymandering electoral districts since 1981: http://books.google.com.kw/books?id=EVqdiFh33gYC&pg=PA85&dq

            Since 1981, election results have been heavily manipulated by the use of gerrymandering therefore the parliament shouldn’t be used as an indicator of how religious/irreligious a population is getting.

            Before 1981, secular and Nasserist politicians won the majority in the parliament. After the government started manipulating the electoral districts, the tribal and Islamist coalition became over-represented.

            • me says:

              Of course they are an indicator, maybe not fully and irrespective if they get over represented or not but they have an audience and their weights can tip the scale! And considered one of the most active in the GCC after Saudi!!..but assume I follow ur argument, what are u suggesting, we bash the only metric we have to conclude An opinion? Fair, give me another number? Because even by looking outside the window I see more decline of liberties, canceling of events, sectarian media headlines, dissolved government’s, raising voices to close down churches and and and only indicates a not so liberal voices loud enough to control.

              • ahem says:

                Do you understand what gerrymandering means?

                The Islamists weren’t just over-represented.

                Gerrymandering is a form of CHEATING. All of Kuwait’s election results have been rigged since 1981.

                Never, has there ever been any FAIR elections. For you to claim that election results are an indicator of Kuwaiti views is a BLATANT LIE because the election results have always been rigged.

                Kuwait is the least sectarian Gulf country. This is fact. I’m a Shia Kuwaiti and I have many Bahraini and Qatari relatives. Shia Qataris are discriminated by society and always face sectarian hate. Shia Kuwaitis, like myself, have it better than Shia Muslims in other GCC countries.

                Kuwait is doing better in freedom of press than rest of Middle East. Kuwait is ranked the best Middle Eastern country in Freedom of Press (better than Israel and Lebanon).

                Just because ONE Islamist MP said ”churches should be closed” doesn’t mean anything because Kuwait’s elections aren’t FAIR.

                Gerrymandering is CHEATING.

                None of Kuwait’s election results have represented the Kuwaiti people since 1981.

                Are you even Kuwaiti?

                Qatar doesn’t have a parliament. Qatari Islamists are far bigger in size and power than Kuwaiti Islamists. UAE doesn’t have a real parliament. UAE has far more Islamists than Kuwait.

                • peace says:

                  My friend, As a sunni, I respect you. Shia being discriminated is horrible, yes I know other GCC countries weren’t that respectful to shias, thank goodness our country have respect to each other, hopefully our country won’t be like Lebanon and Syria, we don’t know who’s wrong, but inshalla Allah will unite us all!!

              • ahem says:

                Kuwait leads the Middle East in freedom of press

                Kuwait is doing better than all of the Middle East in freedom of press including Israel, Turkey and Lebanon.

                Kuwait is ranked much higher than Israel in freedom of press.

                2013 freedom of press list http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html

                You talk about sectarian media headlines? You do realize that Kuwait had a LAW against sectarianism. Mocking the Shia faith and insulting Shia Muslims is a crime in Kuwait and whoever breaks the law faces jail time.

                You simply can’t claim that the Kuwaiti media has many sectarian headlines because this is AGAINST the law.

                Nice try, though.

                Some former MP wanted to ”close down churc”. What does this have to do with anything? Kuwait’s election results are RIGGED and have always been rigged.

                What events were canceled? You said declining of liberties, what events were canceled, exactly?

                Recently there were several MUSIC concerts in Kuwait:




        • aaa says:

          Someone’s jelly they aren’t getting invited to sick parties

  3. Lucky_dude says:


  4. Samuel says:

    If only the walls could talk and the stories they would tell….

  5. Just says:

    You are a legend for this post !

  6. vampire says:

    i went to boubyan club in the 80’s!

  7. Jasim says:

    Amazing to see thin ties, pocket squares and boat shoes back then.

    2014 = wannabe 1980s.

  8. Mona says:

    Hello Mark. I hope this message reaches you. I wanted to sincerely thank you ever so much for posting this amazing photo from the beautiful past, where so many beautiful memories where made. It captures my beautiful late mother and father sitting on the party table at the Siesta Ballroom at the Gazelle Club having a good time. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. Thank you for this wonderful gift!

  9. Robyn says:

    Fabulous!! Mad men era indeed…red lipstick as the secret weapon.Kuwait’s past is so colorful!

  10. Stu says:

    Wow! A blast from the past! We used to drive there from Ahmadi when I was a kid. It used to seem like such a looong drive in the desert to get there!

    I remember there were a couple of forlorn looking gazelle(s?) in an enclosure there.

    I saw the movie “Car” there – that weird movie about a mad black car giving people grief. Susan Sarandon was starring back then? Sheesh!

    I’ve emailed pic 13 to my mum to check if that’s her uncle center right! Couldn’t find anyone else I recognize though my family partied there regularly and looked just like that lot in the party scenes drinking – ahem – Canada Dry. Of course I myself would have been with the nannie breaking rules in the main changing rooms.

    Wow. Class post Mark!


  11. Areej ASB says:

    When the people in Kuwait were normal….before all the whackjobs….

  12. Desert Girl says:


    – Thanks, Mark! Awesome piece of history that is unique to blogsphere.

  13. Ned says:

    Thanks for sharing Mark – great memories. Priceless!

  14. Abdullah Alnamlan says:

    Why do people insist in having clubs in kuwait?
    Why do you think it would not be better if kuwait stick to its Islamic culture?
    If we want to be “westernized” as some people insist, develop your thinking not night clubs.
    These is a lot of things comes before night clubs.
    Thank you for this interesting topic.

    • aaa says:

      This isn’t a “club” in the way you’re thinking of it, it’s a “club” like Corniche or SAS are.

      And what’s wrong with freedom of choice? If you disagree with the club don’t go

      • Abdullah Alnamlan says:

        Are you a Muslim?

        • AR says:

          The question is not the answer .If you look around the world you will find that tolerance and freedom of choice provides the very best in human progress.

          • Abdullah Alnamlan says:

            I think you misunderstood the word freedom, you are talking about corruption. Islam is the freedom. I’m not talking about locking yourself up in home but there is a A Lot of things a person can do before going to clubs. We are a Muslim country and I don’t know if you are a believe or not but that’s what we are and to Islam we belong. A lot of people think that why don’t we get westernized and have beers, wine and club in our country. Develop your thinking in good things before you develop in other ways. In kuwait we are already free. We are not like Ksa ((with all respect to our brothers and sisters from Ksa)) but we have freedom in everything except alcohol and clubs, which is more than perfect.
            Plus you can travel to all these places that have these stuff, I think there are not that far, just 3 hours away.
            Allah yahdik inshallah.

    • Barb says:

      Thanks for the photos. I was a (dependent) member of the Gazelle Club late seventies/early eighties. It was great for a woman to be able to wear swimming costumes in safety and without prurient interest, to enjoy swimming and the sea, to be with family playing with children, and to enjoy the horses too. I did not ride but my friend Agnes was there every day. As she was an accomplished equestrienne it was a pleasure to watch her. The food was pretty good after a morning of swimming, but most of all I remember how hot we used to get!

    • Barb says:

      Swimming is such fun and good exercise for all of us, especially when it gets so hot in Kuwait. Unfortunately I was not comfortable swimming from the public beaches because of all the unwanted attention I received, so joining a private club was my only option.
      There I could enjoy the sweet cool salt water and exercise in peace without rude prurient interest. Nobody took the slightest notice of women in bathing costumes. It was such bliss!

  15. Abdul says:

    i think this place is demolished,i tried to search it on google earth,only thing i find is bridges and empty space.

  16. Mona says:

    Almost demolished very close to spoons cafés complex seaside only remaing, a few old chalets and what used to be the horses stables. Thank you Mark for putting this place back on the map and into the present.

  17. BURGUIN says:


    j’ais connu l’architecte décorateur Français qui a crée ce club , j’ais encore des photos ou le prince Bader et cet architecte sont sur ces dîtes photos le jour de l’inauguration !!! j’ais également les plans du futur gazelle club ! étonnant suis tombée par hasard sur votre site
    belle journée

  18. Mark Gerrard says:

    I’m the Mark that posted all the black and white pictures from the 60’s. My father Douglas is in a lot of the pictures and he was the manager of the club during the 60’s. The family that owned the club was the Al Mullahs – Bader in particular. He died of cancer in the late 60’s.

  19. Mark G says:

    Hello, I’m the Mark from the Facebook page and all the B/W photos are mine and most are of my parents especially my dad Gerry Gerrard that ran the Gazelle Club back in the 60s and who also oversaw it’s construction. In the picture with all the kids, I’m on the far right. The club was owned by Bader Al Mulla who sadly passed away in the late 60s from cancer. His younger brother Anwar is in a couple of the shots. I also used to play with Aboudi who was Bader’s son when he’d come by the club. Our family lived in trailers till the club was built then we moved into a house behind the club. Back then behind the house was sand as far as the eye could see – I cannot believe what has been built since then. We had some great times there.

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