Do you fancy having a coffee?
It is a tradition here that will quickly fascinate you. It’s all about sitting in one of the cafés, over the terrace or indoors, taking a cool or hot drink depending on the season, taking one of these numerous newspapers or magazines available to customers, connecting via wireless or simply looking around in the buzz of conversation and the scent of cardamom...
Having a coffee break in Ashrafieh, is according to its residents, the act of stopping the time, being away from everyday life. As for tourists and visitors, it’s all about attending a real show: groups of intellectuals accustomed to meet in the same place every afternoon to discuss many local and international issues, a politician meets his counterpart, an entrepreneur always giving business appointments in such places…
"Traditional" coffee shops are set nowadays alongside modern buildings, some being of international franchises located in Lebanon. For a moment of pleasure in an authentic Oriental coffee shop, we suggest the Gemmayzé coffee shop, aka "Ahwit el Kzez. This cafe located in Gemmayze Street goes back to the early 40’s. It’s name in Arabic, "Ahwit el Kzez" means "glass coffee shop“. And for good reason: it has four large windows that draw the attention of curious passersby. If nearby pubs buzz of techno, trance or fusion music, you can enjoy within the great hall of Ahwit el Kzez, a variety of French and Oriental music. At one table, you can even find a fortune teller, who has always so much to tell.
At Sassine Square, cafes serve as landmarks to designate the different areas that are moving away: we pass off a certain coffee shop to go to Burj Hammoud, in front of another to go to Sodeco ... Each coffee shop is special in a way. In this one, we just order tasty pastries for a quiet breakfast. We stop by another one to order an "American Coffee" while going to the office. And another one comes as the best place to enjoy a Lebanese coffee with cardamom and locum right after lunch.
This sector is particularly noisy, but this does not prevent customers from moving to a terrace in case there is one. But instead, watching the street stirring around is part of the pleasure of having a coffee in Beirut.
Nayla, 30 years old lawyer says: "I always set my business appointments in a café near Sassine Square. It's a place easy to find, and the dynamic ambiance of the area is as stimulating as caffeine itself!!"
Ashrafieh during Happy Hours: lively ambiance
In the district of Ashrafieh, the party starts early! The "Happy Hours" trend is this phase of late afternoon, where pubs are packed because of customers tempted by half price drinks. This phenomenon is lately gaining more and more ground.
This trendy concept is being more and more welcomed by some Lebanese while leaving their office. Others also meet for business meetings in late afternoon. Many bars in Gemayzeh are known for their Happy Hour concept and joyful atmosphere.
Ali, 22 years old translator says, "The Happy Hour in Gemayzeh is a great way to meet people. Instead of going straight home and get stuck in traffic jams during rush hours, I can meet some friends and colleagues. I prefer Happy Hours while going out during the week simply because! &nb! sp;I can have fun and go home early”.
Other appealing argument: ultra-casual dress code, which changes the atmosphere of posh from which we’ve all had enough.
Nathalie, 22 years old waitress in Gemayzeh: "No matter what you wear for Happy hours, nobody cares. Everyone is in his own world, concentrated in his conversation with friends. Customers are usually those coming straight from the office, so they cannot come in their casual outfits!”
Nightlife in Ashrafieh: Are you more into Monot or Gemayzeh?
Night lovers come right away in late evening after Happy hour fans to invest the nightlife scene in Beirut. They are sometimes the same people that always find few minutes to go home and change their clothes. Ready to play kings and queens of the night, they head towards the city's most lively neighbourhoods of Beirut.
When speaking of "nightlife" in Ashrafieh, two names immediately come to mind: Gemayzeh and Monot.
Monot has always been a sport for nightclubs amateurs, with its small cosy pubs and lively bars that attract public from all ages. Students or adults, everyone meets here for an unforgettable evening with friends.
Gemayzeh Street, formerly known for its rustic aspect, has most recently revealed its Nightlife side. It is now popular with artists and students who meet for a drink in one of the most entertaining places often more intimate than those of Monot. Today, each of these neighborhoods has its fans. Some protested against the long hours spent bottling Gemayzeh, others believe that Monot pubs and restaurants are not as varied. But ultimately everyone admits that these are the two trendiest areas of Beirut.
Today, each of these neighborhoods has its own fans. Some complain about the long hours spent in traffic jams in Gemayzeh, others think that Monot’s pubs and restaurants are not as varied as those of Gemayzeh. But ultimately everyone admits that these are the two trendiest areas of Beirut. But at the end, everyone admits that these are the two trendiest areas of Beirut.