Dar Bistro & Books
It is the unique atmosphere that truly sets Dar Bistro & Books apart. Nestled away in a little alley, this well lit house combines a cafe (serving Greek and Mediterranean food, wholesome sandwiches, and a good deal of vegetarian options) with a boutique bookshop selling carefully selected titles. Contributing to its unique easy going atmosphere is its beautiful garden terrace, surrounded by trees, vines and flowering jasmine. An oasis of this kind, perfect for some time to unwind with a book or to grab some brunch with friends, is to be found nowhere else in busy Hamra.
Address: Alley 83, Roma Street, Wardieh Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon. +961 1 373 348
Ginette is a concept store and café designed by the award-winning architects at Raed Abillama firm. The façade boasts a high and mildly curved arch, separating spacious and modern open plan interiors behind a wall of glass. The ground floor and terrace are dedicated to an eatery serving healthy salads and a wide choice of gourmet sandwiches and desserts. Further in, you can discover a boutique store featuring a combination of high street labels and alternative designers, while the mezzanine hosts an exciting art exhibit run in collaboration Tokyo’s Nanzuka Underground Art Gallery and modular furniture by the Swiss-based company USM.
Address: Gouraud St. Gemmayzeh, Beirut, Lebanon. +9611570440
Attracting a crowd of young professionals and college students, the iconic De Prague is at once a local favorite study spot and ideal venue for a relaxed night out. They serve a remarkable American coffee, a variety of snacks and affordable lunches, and cocktails at any time of the day. Key to this cafe’s popularity, however, is its relaxing ambiance created by soft lighting and eccentrically furnished interiors. To many of its patrons, the art-house movies routinely projected in the background make for the most comforting of surroundings.
Address: Makdessi Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon. +9611744864
Situated in the hip Gemmayzeh neighborhood, Urbanista reflects the charm of Beirut’s modern and cosmopolitan spirit. The combination of red brick walls, bookshelves, comfortable leather couches and natural woods makes this place an ideal setting to finish up some work, read a book or chat amiably among the international crowd of its clientèle. On the menu, anything from salads, gourmet breakfast items, fried calamari, deserts and a wide selection of tailor-made warm drinks can be found. A breath of fresh air is not a problem, with an outdoor back terrace offering one of the city’s sought after peaceful green spaces.
Address: Yanni Building, Gouraud Street, Gemmayze, Beirut, Lebanon. +9611567811
If you’re into uncompromisingly good coffee, look no further than Café Younes, a long standing institution first established in 1935 on a street in Downtown Beirut. For over 80 years, this acclaimed speciality coffee roaster has been serving freshly roasted and ground coffee on the spot to generations of loyal customers. Beyond coffee, they also serve a number of signature drinks, baked goods and fresh sandwiches in a contemporary and homely setting shared by each of the venues they now operate within the city. Regularly organised poetry readings and live music nights are especially worth looking forward to.
Address: Abdel Aziz Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon. +9611742654
Demo is mostly crowded at nights, a favourite spot for midweek cocktails and full-on weekend parties, which also serves excellent coffee and cakes during the day. At whichever time you choose to visit, you are sure to enjoy tapping your feet to the carefully curated background music in this cosy and unpretentious atmosphere.
Address: Lebanon Street, Gemmayzeh, Beirut, Lebanon. +961 3958504