Friday, 20 October 2017
Beirut By Design in a Single Day

Tiny and beloved, our dear Beirut does not cease to surprise, inspire and electrify us. The team at Zawarib has made a selection of original Beiruti spots to help accommodate your every mood this season.

If feeling creative and social, visit the Brasiliban Cultural Center (Mar Mitr St., Achrafieh) for free dance classes, workshops or Brazilian movie screenings most evenings of the week. Nearby in leafy Furn El Chebbak, discover Aleph B (Saydet Al Nourieh St.) a charming library and coffee shop, also offering art & yoga classes. For more action and noise, enter Beirut’s high-energy youth community at Haven for Artists (Khatchadourian St., Mar Mikhael), a permanent heritage house set in a parking lot hosting bazaars, concerts, workshops & more. In neighbouring Gemmayzeh, gather your friends’ intellect and imagination at Escape the Room (Gouraud St.), an interactive mystery and adventure quest where the objective is to intelligently break-free from an enclosed space.

Quench your hunger for art and design with a trip to Ashkal Alwan (Jisr El Wati, Sin El Fil), a splendid non-profit association where creative and intellectual work is constantly in the making. From there take a short drive to Marfa’ Gallery (Beirut Port) for a taste of the salt sea air and enthralling works of contemporary art. On another day, enter Saleh Barakat Gallery (Justinien St., Clemenceau), what was once a Beirut cinema, then theatre, and admire a rare collection of pioneering Arab art. Visit Fadi Mogabgab Gallery (Gouraud St., Gemmayzeh) where unique etchings made in the mountains of Lebanon by both visiting and local artists are on display all year round.

If in search of exquisite household accessories found or made in Lebanon, check Metal and Wood (America St., Clemenceau) for brilliant furniture locally designed and made. Wael Farran (Pasteur St., Gemmayzeh) is another shop worth exploring where an exhibit of exquisite tables designed by Wael himself fills the room. Fulfill your old-fashioned taste for crockery and furniture at Pink Henna (Pharaon St., Mar Mikhael), a delightful vintage accessories boutique all locally sourced. Around the corner the perfect spot for locally made towels, soaps and candles is Mellow (Ibn Al Rabih St.), a bright and warm boutique selling organic home treasures. For those with a soft spot for the rustic orient, be sure to visit The Guroo Shop (Sodeco Square, Achrafieh) for an impressive selection of Himalayan salt lamps, handcrafted in the owner’s atelier.

Let off unwanted steam and register with Contours The Pilates Experts (Clemenceau) for complete fitness on a personalised tray and/or Shiva Lila (Clemenceau) for yoga under Beirut’s blue skies. Almost facing one another, both offer regular classes as well as special events such as fitness-driven trips outside of Beirut! Check the daily schedule at Houna Wellness Center (Hamra St., Hamra) where zumba, meditation, and other classes are offered daily. For alternative and holistic therapy, The House of Healing (Sodeco, Achrafieh) does the trick with a spectacular rooftop view of the city to boot!

Dress to kill this season and choose to shop at Beirut’s many great locally designed and/or sourced fashion outlets – yes LOCAL! Try a garment or two at the fresh and young Timi Hayek (Monot St., Achrafieh) boutique offering delicately handmade clothing for women. For contemporary fashion, Diane Ferjane (Pharaon St., Mar Mikhael) always carries a unique collection of day-to-day and formal wear - here is also an excellent spot for harem pants lovers. For a modern twist on traditional Lebanese costume, visit Atelier Nanou (Zenobieh St., Mar Mikhael) for trendy abayas that can be worn with jeans and leggings. Internet-savvy shoppers must visit the Bayrut Express online store for recycled and environmentally friendly urban-wear. Otherwise plunge into Dépot-Vente (Kurd St., Mar Mikhael) for an exciting collection of vintage clothing, including colourful sequence tops from the 1980’s.

Once your outfits are all set, be sure to enjoy your moonlit evenings in style. Immerse yourself in gin basil cocktails, live cooking and bubbly atmospheres at Baron (Pharaon St., Mar Mikhael). For a more dramatic night, savour delicious cuisine wrapped around a lavish contemporary music scene at Stereo Kitchen (Al Arz St., Gemmayzeh). If feeling romantic, get intimate while sipping on negronis at L’Osteria’s (Armenia St., Mar Mikhael) candlelight. For a celebration of the grunge era, rock music, cold beer and the beard generation make your way to Fuel Garage Bar (Ibrahim Pasha St., Mar Mikhael). Around the corner sip a fresh fruit cocktail at Bottoms Up (Armenia St., Mar Mikhael) where house music meets Chinese cuisine! We love it! If feeling bohemian, check Alessandra Di Sicilia (Rabat St., Mar Mikhael), a corner art bar run by an Italian hippie offering Sicilian dishes, wine and Italian classes! Keep an ear out for parties at The Backdoor (Mar Mikhael), a fun lively spot with live music and concerts every weekend.

Finally, escape the noise with a stroll to Tusk! Bakery (Khalil Badaoui St., Mar Mikhael), a cozy urban hideout offering seasonal bread making classes! For under cover foliage, enter the urban garden of Café de Penelope (Khoury St., Badaro) for an alluring atmosphere where you can delve into the ultimate “I think therefore I am” customer.

If you enjoyed this article seek a free copy of Zawarib’s Best of Beirut guide available in select cafés, bookstores and hotels across the city and/or subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter from our FB page!

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