Playing sports and dancing
Sports and gymnastics amateurs have several options:
They can subscribe to sports clubs, which sometimes are part of schools or private institutions. Their subscription is quite affordable. On recommendation, they may join an upscale sports club, to which they can enter only if they know an already subscribed member. This is not always convenient and it concerns a certain part of the population.
Among the numerous Spas who have invested Beirut, some offer, in addition to beauty treatments, sports activities, with swimming pools, high tech machines, cardio-training exercises, group class exercise or even individual personal trainers. These services are often available in luxury hotels: swimming pool and gym, are offered with interesting quality/price ratio. Without mentioning the sauna, Jacuzzi or steam bath experience so relaxing after exercise and shower.
Authentic sports fans can follow the games of the Ashrafieh team, including the Sagesse Club (Hekmeh) for football or basketball. This team participates regularly and successfully in major international championships. Local teams compete regularly on the various sports grounds located in Ashrafieh, for friendly games or even national championships. These playing fields also host games organized within the framework of prestigious international events, including regional ones.
Dance lovers can also learn ballroom dancing in one of the dance schools of the district. It is to be noted that 'Latin' dances have recently been very welcomed in Beirut. In Ashrafieh, several clubs for salsa, tango, or flamenco have opened its doors to the public. They give classes, and sometimes organize competitions.
Oliver, 25 years old translator, practices tango he was two, "It's a hobby that is by far deeper than it seems to be; you can have deeper connections with other students with whom we participate in competitions or festivals ... my dance school occupies an important place in my social life. "
The ballet also has its fans in Beirut. The dance school founded by Nada Kano in 2001 in Tabaris under the name of Dance Space which became nowadays the Beirut Dance Studio, welcomes children and adults for courses and internships. The Academy of Dance "Pas de Chat” also offers ballet classes for children and adults.
Browse and play in clubs and pubs
Playing cards is a very popular leisure activity in Lebanon.
Bridge, poker or local variants of international games: people meet at one another’s places for weekly parties or in clubs where they spend the afternoon playing cards enjoying a coffee or a tea.
Some clubs of Ashrafieh are real institutions, such as the AeroClub, founded in the 1900s. Meeting place for social gatherings, the club is also attended by older people today, who have joined it since their early years. They show up on afternoons as part of an inevitable ritual.
Adib, 28 years old musician says, "My grandmother is now 79 years old. She still attends game sessions at her bridge club in Ashrafieh, as she used to do it 30 years ago. She thinks that it’s the motive to be beautiful in the afternoon, going out from home at an age where she has no longer many other activities.
Some cafes in Beirut offer their regular customers the chance to play backgammon.
Immediately after sipping their cardamom coffee, the two opponents lean over the table, where a tray gently installed, resembles to that of backgammon.
Wireless internet is becoming so common in coffee shops.
Some places offer its customers access to the network via a code fee. But most of them offer free wifi access. You can notice lately the trend of laptops on the tables. We hit this coffee shop to “chat”, and check our favorite websites or ... even work.
Nada, 30 years old freelance journalist says: "I come very often to prepare my researches in my favorite coffee shop. I enjoy working in this atmosphere. And it is a good solution when the internet connection fails at home".
Many institutions have developed innovative concepts to allow families to go out and have fun. Shopping malls are packed with places children adore, where they can play, dance and jump, thanks to games suitable for their age, under the supervision of a qualified staff.
In Ashrafieh, npromising artists and their parents can also enter coffee shops of a particular concept as well, where they can eat and enjoy refreshments, but also interact with their children. For example, at the Ceramic Lounge in Saïfi, you can choose a figurine, a vase or a ceramic dish and decorate it yourself with paint and crayons. An expression place dedicated to both children and adults. Once the work is done, it has to be left aside before being glazed; a nice souvenir to take home ... with good times of concentration for children, brushes in hand with curious frowned lashes.
Having a stroll on a Sunday morning
Huge gallery where white and light are dominating, ABC shopping mall has finally became a place of leisure to Beiruti families who spend most of their Sundays having lunch or coffee in its numerous restaurants and coffee shops. They bring their children to have fun within developed playgrounds.
What about an introduction to the Opera?
At the showroom of the art gallery L'Heure Bleue, at the Gabriel Hotel or at the Metropolitan Club, some unexpected high notes echo all over the rooms. It’s all about the introductory sessions to the Opera that Lama Tyan gives all classical music lovers (it's already the seventh season). She sings as a member of the choir within the National Orchestra, and she conveys her passion to others through these introductory sessions. On the program: listening and appreciation of Opera based on the screening of subtitled DVDs.
Drawing and painting “academies” and several art workshops welcome children by teaching them funny and interactive techniques of graphic arts.
If the local cinema currently screens commercial films like anywhere around the world, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have the chance to watch great classics of the 7th art. The Metropolis Cinema Sofil Center gathers regularly cinema amateurs around retrospectives or seasonal themes.