Thursday, August 4, 2011

BEIRUT

(includes Byblos, Jounieh & Jeita)

BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM, JUICE & TEA

Torino Express – Rue Gouraud Gemmayzeh; 011-961-03-611-101; coolest, smallest bar in Beirut; café by day, with great paninis and espressos, and bar by night, with cheerful crowds, DJ, and glorious cocktails.



BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
B 018 – Lot 317, Karantina; 011-961-03-800-018; b018.com; city’s favorite after-hours spot located in underground parking garage, under former refugee camp; steel retractable roof; edgy area so have limo standing by.
Behind Green Door – Nahr Street (Mar Mikhael); 011-961-01-565-656; facebook.com/pages/Behind-the-Green-Door/135222309876059; “top DJs.”
Burgundy Wine Bar – 752 Rue Gouraud (Gemmayzeh, in Saifi Village); 011-961-01-999-820; burgundybeirut.com or burgundybeirut.tel; stylish.
Crew Bar – Rue Pasteur (Gemmayzeh); 011-961-01-449-873; beirut.com/l/5309; cheap and tiny.
De Prague – 166 Rue Makdissi (Hamra); 011-961-01-744-864; beirut.com/l/72; hip place for pre-club drink; hidden behind nondescript brown door.
Dictateur – 30 Rue Badawi; 011-961-03-251-512; facebook.com/dictateur; former factory; open late; snug garden.
Dragonfly – Gouraud Street (Gemmayzeh); 011-961-01-561-112; cozy, tiny place, decorated with large mirrors and wooden furniture; barmen dress like barbers and DJ spins with bent towards funk, jazz, and Latin music; perfectly made mojitos.
Iris – Martyrs Square Beirut (Nahar Building, 8th Floor); 011-961-01-309-0936; irisbeirut.com; relaxed yet sophisticated cocktail bar; jaw-dropping city of sea views; lounge bar for dinners and drinks; at least stay for sunset.
Music Hall – Omar Daouk Street (at Starco Center); 011-961-03-807-555; beiruting.com/music-hall; nightclub that also serves food; cabaret held in former movie theater; doesn’t get started until about 11 p.m.; alcohol served feels like 1950s Havana dance hall.
Mybar – 1344 Park Avenue; 011-961-01-999-608; mybar.me; outside-box libations, like Blue-Cheese Martini (blue cheese, gin, olives, vermouth, and vodka).
Regusto – Rue Hamra (Hamra); 011-961-01-752-571; beirut.com/l/1374; drinks and live blues-jazz.
SkyBar – Biel Center Beirut (Minet El Hosn); 011-961-03-931-191; sky-bar.com; huge nightclub; hosts acts like 50 Cent.
Torino Express – Rue Gouraud Gemmayzeh; 011-961-03-611-101; coolest, smallest bar in Beirut; café by day, with great paninis and espressos, and bar by night, with cheerful crowds, DJ, and glorious cocktails.
White – Sea Side Road; 011-961-03-060-090; whitebeirut.com; late-night dancing.



BEACHES
Edde Sands – Byblos; 011-961-09-546-666; eddesands.com; region’s best beachclub.



HOTELS
Le Gray – Martyr’s Square (at Rue Weygand); 011-961-01-971-111; legray.com; located just yards from Mohammed al-Amin mosque; high-design with infinity pool, art-filled rooms, and bar with 360° view.
Phoenicia – Minet El Hosn; 011-961-01-369-100; phoeniciabeirut.com; 60s throwback, recently rebuilt and renovated; huge.
Le Vendôme Hotel – Ain el Mreisseh (Downtown); 011-961-01-369-280; levendomebeirut.com.
Villa Clara – Khenchara Street (Mar Mikhael); 011-961-07-099-5739; villaclara.fr; charming, affordable guesthouse (boutique) filled with French antiques; owners are French chef and his wife, French-language home decor magazine editor.



RESTAURANTS
Abd el Wahab – 51 Rue Abdel Wahab el Inglizi; 011-961-01-200-550; foodandwine.com; stylish restaurant serving some of city’s best Lebanese food; eat in glass-fronted room or on terrace; strong list international and local wines and arak, potent pastis-like anise spirit; try fatte, layered dishes of garlic-spiked yogurt, grilled meat or vegetables, fried bread, and pine nuts.
Amarres Bistro & Cafe Francais – Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay; 011-961-01-372-292; amarresbeirut.com; southern French; good wine list.
Balthus – Ghandour Building (Minet El Hosn); 011-961-01-371-077; beirut.com/l/165; French brasserie.
Burgundy – 752 Gouraud Street (Saifi Village); 011-961-01-999-820 or 011-961-03-074-949; elegantly understated (even fantastic chandeliers minimalist); exciting place to drink & eat; French.
Centrale – Mar Maroun Street (Saifi); 011-961-01-575-858; centralerestaurant.com; glossy, modern (Bernard Khoury-designed).
Le Chef – Rue Gouraud (Gemmayzeh); 011-961-01-446-769 or 011-961-01-445-373; facebook.com/pages/Le-Chef/143293489073651; Beirut institution known for low prices, charismatic head waiter, and great old-world atmosphere; daytime “workers’” café; huge platefuls cheap and cheerful Arabic food; try allegedly aphrodisiac moolookhiye (fragrant rice with chicken, lamb, and mallow).
Cozmo Cafe – Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay (Area Minet El Hosn); 011-961-01-361-690; boubess.com; cosmopolitan, elegant café; international cuisine, including Japanese and sushi; outdoor terrace has stunning sea views.
Cro Magnon Steakhouse & Bar – Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay; 011-961-01-371-276; lecromagnon.com; steaks in industrial-modern setting.
Al Falamanki – Damascus Road; 011-961-01-323-456; alfalamanki.com; quintessential Beirut experience.
Goutons Voir – 52 Abdel Wahab El Inglizi Street (Achrafieh); 011-961-01-333-644; facebook.com/restaurantgoutonsvoir; traditional French bistro.
Habana – Sarba Street, Habana Building (Jounieh, in Sarba); 011-961-09-638-166; facebook.com/pages/Habana/136439786408235; scene-y Mexican restaurant outside Beirut.
Istambouli – Rue Commodore (Hamra); 011-961-01-352-049; windowless, basement restaurant whose menu focuses on meat; try chicken kebabs and hummus; avoid kibbeh.
Margherita – Rue Gouraud (Gemmayzeh); 011-961-01-560-480; pizzeriamargherita.com; pizza.
Momo at Souks – Beirut Souks; 011-961-01-999-767; momobeirut.com or momoresto.com; above jewelery souks, in Beirut’s center; overlooks city’s tohu bohu; made-to-measure fixtures, mixed designer pieces, and vintage furniture in “hanging garden” shell; French-North African food.
Mybar – 1344 Park Avenue; 011-961-01-999-608; mybar.me; sushi.
Pepe’s Fishing Club – Rue Pepe Abed (Byblos); 011-961-09-540-213; once beloved by Brigitte Bardot and David Niven; overlooks Byblos Harbor; wonderful lunchtime spot.
La Petite Maison – Ain el Mreisseh (Downtown, at Le Vendôme Hotel); 011-961-01-368-300; lpmbeirut.com; sun-drenched offshoot of eponymous Nice restaurant.
Le Relais de l’Entrecote – Abdel Wahab El Inglizi Street (Achrafieh, in Khoury Building); 011-961-01-332-087 or 011-961-01-332-088; beirut.com/l/190; self-proclaimed landmark restaurant; for grilled steak and fries.
Regusto – Rue Hamra (Hamra); 011-961-01-752-571; beirut.com/l/1374; Armenian food in unlikely location.
St. Elmo’s Brasserie – Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay; 011-961-01-367-356; stelmosbrasserie.com; seafood.
Tawlet – 12 Naher Street; 011-961-01-448-129; tawlet.com; canteen in stylish former garage; regional cooks prepare daily organic meals; book ahead.
Torino Express – Rue Gouraud Gemmayzeh; 011-961-03-611-101; coolest, smallest bar in Beirut; café by day, with great paninis and espressos, and bar by night, with cheerful crowds, DJ, and glorious cocktails.
TSC Signature – Souk Tawile, Beirut Souks, Beirut Central District; 011-961-01-986-444; beirutsouks.com.lb/fnb/tsc-signature; dazzling, jaw-dropping food-hall.
Varouj – Bourj Hammoud (near Cinema Royal); 011-961-03-882-933; Armenian; 1 of city’s most original dining experiences; hidden in mazelike Bourj Hammoud, somewhat dingy Armenian neighborhood in predominantly Christian East Beirut; minuscule dining room, pleasantly rustic décor; printed menu; no English spoken; try spicy fried sojuk sausage and basterma, cold cut made from soaking veal or beef for weeks in chaimen (garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and other spices mix), then air-drying it; muhammara is chopped nuts, bread crumbs, garlic, and red pepper, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate juice, and spices.
Walimat Wardeh – Rue Makdissi (Hamra); 011-961-01-343-128; hipster hangout.
Zabad – Zaitunay Bay; 011-961-01-376-620; zabadrestaurant.com; Lebanese food by Chef Karim Haidar who runs 3 restaurants in Paris.



SERVICES
City Car Travel – Ras Beirut, Kalaa Street, Burj EL-Kalaa Building; 011-961-01-788-788; citycartravel.com.lb; English-speaking drivers that take you around town and on day trips.
Nakhal Travel Agency – Sami El Solh Avenue, Ghorayeb Building; 011-961-01-389-389; nakhal.com.lb; walking tours.
Save Beirut Heritage – 011-961-071-011-310; weareworking.org/save-beirut-heritage; for French district architectural tour guidance (ideas more than person).
WalkBeirut – 011-961-70-156-673; bebeirut.org/walk.
Water Nation Sports Centre – Solidere Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay; 011-961-01-320-4455; waternation.com; boat rentals and scuba.



SHOPPING
Agial – 63 Abdul Aziz Street; 011-961-01-345-213; agialart.com; art gallery.
Aishti – 71 Rue El-Moutrane; 011-961-01-991-111; aishti.com; department store; high-end fashion.
Art Factum Gallery – Rehban Street (Medawar District, Quarantina); 011-961-01-443-263 or 011-961-3-798-081; artfactumgallery.com; art.
Artisans du Liban et D’Orient – Sea Shore Ain Mreisseh; 011-961-01-362-610; ohmycraft.com; somewhat hidden; 1st rate Lebanese crafts.
Le Balcon des Createurs – Rue Gouraud (Gemmayzeh, in Falais Building); 011-961-01-565-636; facebook.com/groups/26992274366; gracious women’s fashion atelier located in old townhouse, steps away from Saifi Village.
Studio Karim Bekdache – Madrid Street; 011-961-01-566-323; karimbekdache.com; midcentury modern furniture.
Bokja – Building 332, Moukhalassiya Street; 011-961-01-975-576; beirut.com/Shops/Saifi/Bokja/2080; fabric and upholstery.
Domaine des Tourelles – 250 Monot Street (Achrafieh); 011-961-01-330-114; domainedestourelles.com; retail shop for winery in Bekaa valley founded in 1868.
Fauchon – Avenue Georges Haddad (Gemayzeh); 011-961-01-992-244; auchon.com; patisserie & restaurant; part of French chain.
La Ferme St. Jacques – Liban Street (Achrafieh); 011-961-01-216-076 or 011-961-03-345-896; beirut.com/l/6521; high-end delicatessen notable for fois gras.
Galerie Mark Hachem – Rue Salloum (Capital Gardens, B Block); 011-961-01-999-313; markhachem.com; both international and Middle Eastern art.
Nada Debs – 1064 Mukhallassiya Street (Saifi Village, Building E); 011-961-01-999-002; nadadebs.com; furniture and housewares.
Maison Rabih Kayrouz – Darwish Haddad Street; 011-961-01-441-221; maisonrabihkayrouz.com; Port district boutique that sells courtier’s ready-to-wear line.
Liwan – 56 Madrid Street; 011-961-01-444-141; liwan.org; hand-towels, bed covers, kurtas, and gifts.
Maqam – Mukhallassiya Street (Saifi Village); 011-961-01-991-212; maqamart.com; among Lebanon’s best art galleries.
Milia M – Saifi Village des Arts, 1051 Block D; 011-961-199-0336; miliam.com; 1st Arab designer to show in Milan; women’s wear.
Orient 499 – 499 Omar Daouk Street; 011-961-01-369-499; orient499.com; good craft gifts to take back as souvenirs; embroidered caftans, coppe and iron tableware; children’s clothes, lanterns, blown glass, jewelry, etc.
Purrl – Lot 1062 OC2, Said Akl Street (Saifi Village); 011-961-01-974-475; beirut.com/Shops/Saifi/Purrl/2074; artisanal, contemporary jewelry.
Reem Acra – 94 Rue Foch; 011-961-01-989-803; reemacra.com; Lebanese fashion designer, Reem Acra’s women’s wear (including bridal).
Sfeir-Semler Gallery – Tannous Building, Street 56, Jisr Sector 77 (Karantina); 011-961-01-566-550; sfeir-semler.com; art gallery.
Souk el-Tayeb – Trablos Street (Beirut Souks); 011-961-01-442-664; soukeltayeb.com; Saturday morning food market.
Tourath – Mukhallassiya Street (Saifi Village, Souk el Najjarine); 011-961-01-993-636; old world; elegant, small hand-crafted linens.
Y. Knot – 162 Mukhallassiya Street (Saifi Village); 011-961-01-992-211; beirut.com/Shops/Mathaf/YKnot/2058; knitting products.



SIGHTS & SITES
Baalbek – Roman ruins.
Beirut Art Center – Jisr El Wati, Street 97, Building 13; 011-961-01-397-018; beirutartcenter.org.
Beirut National Museum – Rue de Damas (at corner of Ave Abdallah Yafi); 011-961-01-612-295 or 011-961-01-612-297; beirutnationalmuseum.com.
Byblos – crusader citadel, Phoenician ramparts, and Bronze Age ruins of L-shaped temples dot seaside bluff.
Jeita Grotto – Keserwan (Jeita, (11 miles north of Beirut); 011-961-09-220-840-3; jeitagrotto.com; 2 interconnected but separate, karstic, limestone cave systems, spanning nearly 5.6 miles; in Nahr al-Kalb River valley; only can visit by boat because channels underground river that provides fresh drinking water to more than 1M Lebanese; upper galleries house world’s largest known stalactite.
Robert Mouawad Private Museum – Zozak el-Blat; 011-961-01-201-801; robertmouawad.com; 1911 Arab palace that displays ceramics, jewelry, and objets d’art.
Nahr El Kelb Inscriptions – Jounieh (take highway north to 1st bridge, about 20 min from Beirut, under tunnel (on the right side); steles that testify to Lebanon’s great history; oldest stele date to Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II (13th Century BCE, when Egyptians marched on Lebanon; on north bank (cross old bridge and find on right side), cuneiform inscription refers to Assyria King Nebuchadnezzar II’s 6th Century BCe conquests; on south bank, Arabic inscription commemorates Sultan Saif Ad Dine’s invasion; bridge, renovated in 14th Century by Siafi Itmish, originaly commissioned by Mameluke Sultan Zahir Barqouq; before bridge, Latin inscription depicts Marcus Aurelius Antoninus’ (better known as Caracalla) glory days; in 3rd Century, Gallic legion built passage road at this location; above this Latin inscription, obelisk commemorates allied forces’ presence in 1942; facing bridge, inscription depicts Lebanon’s and Syria’s liberation in 1941; dating to July 25, 1920, plaque commemorating French army’s arrival (led by General Gouraud) after WWI; used to be Egyptian memorial rock with Pharaoh and God Ptah but covered by French intervention inscription (1860, reflecting Druze-Maronite mountain war’s end); behind Egyptian stone is Assyrian memorial stone with king wearing crown; next to it, English inscription relates British army invasion in October 1918 (praises British 21st battalion at war); 2 Assyrian memorial stones lie next to each other; Greek inscription dating to Alexander III’s conquest; inscription with Assyrian king praying; visit climax is Egypt Pharaoh Ramses II depiction of sacrifice ritual (victim offered to Hormakhet), dating from 13th Century BCE; next stele shows Ramses II sacrificing another prisoner as gift to Amon; last stele written in cuneiform dates to 7th Century BCE, portraying Assyrian Esarhaddon and relates their victory over Egypt.
National Museum of Beirut – Rue de Damas (at corner of Ave Abdallah Yafi); 011-961-01-612-295 or 011-961-01-612-297; beirutnationalmuseum.com.
Pigeon Rocks – Raouché Corniche; natural offshore rock arches; excellent vantage point; take tracks down to lower cliffs (1 starts from southern side) and, after steep 100m, can completely forget you are in city; numerous caves and inlets in cliffs; during summer, small boats take people around rocks and to caves for small fee.
Pink House – Corniche (off Manara); last building of kind in neighborhood; soon to be converted into boutique hotel.
Souks – Rues Weygand & Allenby; looks like high-end L.A. shopping mall (original souks destroyed in fighting); trendy cafes and designer stores.

1 comment:

  1. I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.
    best hotels beirut

    ReplyDelete