JDEED is opening its Beirut address book and is taking you on a 36 hours trip to the vibrant capital.
Start your day by a delicious Avocado toast with poached eggs and salmon accompanied by a home-roasted delicious coffee at Kalei. The outdoor space will make you forget you’re at the heart of buzzing Beirut while the indoor will make you feel like you just landed in Copenhagen or Berlin.
Room for dessert? Indulge in one of their tasty cakes.
Picture from Kalei’s Instagram
After breakfast, head to Dépôt Vente Beirut for some vintage shopping. Glitters, prints, leather, the 80’s and costumes are at the front stage of this tiny but well supplied store.
Let’s walk up Mar Mikhail a bit direction Pharaon street. Take a moment to stop at Papercup, Beirut’s newsagent with the trendiest and best selected magazine and books. If the caffeine from Kalei wasn’t enough, you will also be able to enjoy a quick espresso before heading back outside.
Just at the corner of Pharaon, turn left to Alexander Fleming street and push the door of Sara Melki‘s cute little boutique. Sara is one of the most avant-garde young Lebanese designer which will cause you one problem: you will want to buy all her collection.
As shopping can be tiring, you might need to regain some force. Tawlet has you covered for lunch. Depending on what day you’re visiting, a small group of cooks from a region of Lebanon (it changes daily) will prepare a buffet loaded with some extremely tasteful dishes. Over the 10 times+ we’ve eaten there we haven’t been deceived once.
Take a moment to digest then head to Creative Space Beirut, literally one minute away, to take a look at CSB in-house collection (a percentage of each sold items is injected into the student’s tuition as Creative Space is a free institution) or buy one of the amazing shirts of the Second St collection.
As we might go back to Mar Mikhail tonight, let’s now go to Achrafieh and Musée Sursock. A real Beirut treasure that never gets old. Enjoy a tour of the permanent collection or current exhibition then stop by the museum store, which sells some of our favorite items from Nayla Arida‘s jewelry to the Journal Safar.
We wouldn’t want to make you gain weight but this is Lebanon and it happens that Sursock is really close to Bouzat’Hanna, one of the world’s best ice-cream. Opt for a fruit flavor, lighter and literally as if you were biting in the fruit itself.
Picture by So Beirut
As it is almost time for Aperitivo, we suggest you get in your party clothes and drive back down to Mar Mikhail where some delicious cocktails will await at Bar Anise. Forget the sempiternal Gin Tonic, here cocktails have a meaning and are prepared with love by the lovely bar tenders. Ask for their olives, they come directly from Koura and are to die for. If you feel a bit hungry, they also have pizzas that you can easily share.
One last drink and then home? Maybe not, we’re in Beirut after all. Back to Mar Mikhail’s main street, you will find Lock Stock that is the perfect spot to inhale the capital’s night life atmosphere. Have a shot, another cocktail, an Arak…whichever you please and dance the night away.
Let’s start the day by Sodeco Square where you will have to visit Boutique Hub Beirut, a small boutique that displays the best emerging fashion from Lebanon like Mira Hayek or Inoui Beirut as well as their in-house label Urban Sense by Cynthia Chamat. Cynthia is the sweetest person that will talk to you about each piece that hangs in her store with passion and love.
From there, head down to Monot Street and stop at Timi Hayek‘s boutique. This Central Saint Martins’ graduate has her little atelier on the upper level of this boutique that she told us used to be a Furn back in the days (where they prepare Mannoush’).
Light fabrics, hand painted prints, boheme cuts: Timi’s clothes are at her image, delicate and charming.
You’ve now deserved to enjoy the freshest brunch you’ll find in town. Eat Sunshine, nestled at the heart of Rue Monot, a couple steps from Timi’s shop, proposes vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free (and more) options to satisfy all appetites. The brunch buffet is composed of many of the house’s signature dishes like guacamole, kale salads, almond butter, house made granola, vegan pies… to which you can add an egg the way you want it, a juice and a hot drink. A la carte remains available. We suggest you try the “Chocolate like you remember”, a shake that will make you want to drink only this for a couple days.
After brunch, it’s time to walk down Monot direction Saifi Village. Take a tour of this little Oasis and pay a visit to the STARCH Foundation boutique where designer Roni Helou is currently displayed. Shall we bet you will buy one of his jumpsuit?
Picture from Roni Helou’s Instagram
Other must see, the CREAM concept store, that gathers a bit of everything trendy and contemporary from clothes to accessories and cool pillows made by Art School Dropouts.
Picture from Art School Dropouts’Instagram
Atelier C, right next to CREAM is Cherine Khadra’s Atelier for styling and design. Minimalistic but yet feminine, her pieces can only catch your eye.
Since we all know that there isn’t enough caffeine in the world for our tired selves, we invite you to discover the Backburner, tiny coffee shop that doesn’t only serves very good coffee but also has vegetal alternatives to milk and healthy treats. What it takes to keep you up-and-running until late tonight.
Don’t forget to take a look at, at least, one of the 5 galleries that are located in Saifi Village amongst which Geek Express that specializes in Pop-Art and Street Art.
Another 10 min walk away from Saifi will lead you to Beirut Souks for a quick international shopping break (who doesn’t need anything from Zara once in a while?) and to get a very touristy pic (we’ve done it) in front of the I Love Beirut Sign.
Now hop on a service or order an Uber to get to Hamra, where you will discover the Dar-El-Nimer foundation for Arts and Culture. Owned by Rami Nimer, a very charismatic Ottoman art collector, the gallery is currently hosting Midad, an exhibition about the history of Arabic Calligraphy. Not to be missed.
You can now take a well-deserved break at Dar Bistro and Books, a very chill place where you can enjoy reading a book and sipping on some juice, away from the noises of the neighborhood.
As you guessed right, you’ll have to get into your party attire again. What did you think? It’s Saturday and you’re in one of the most vibrant cities of the Mediterranean.
Start the night by a cocktail (yes, another one) on one of Beirut’s cool rooftop. There are plenty to choose from: Iris, Capitole, FABRK… Although we do have a favourite, Coop D’Etat, where you can take advantage of the Happy Hour until 8pm and forget about your diet (yes we know, you’re in Lebanon and have for a while now) with some cheese-covered nachos.
Picture from Iris’website
If you’re looking to party like a rockstar, options are not lacking: Grand Factory, Metro Madina, Uber House, Miss Jones, The One, Music Hall, Decks on the beach (in the Summer)… whatever kind of night you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it in Bey Town.
Hopefully you manage to wake up from Saturday night and are ready for today’s brunch at Liza. A massive buffet of Lebanese food prepared in a not-so-traditional way (e.g baked cheese rolls not fried ) will be at your disposal. If you feel very hungry, you can also add some A la Carte items. We do recommend you try the place’s Osmalliyeh, this traditional Lebanese dessert made of vermicelli, milk cream and topped up with seasonal jam. Thank us later.
Sundays are meant to relax and we couldn’t agree more. If it’s sunny enough, head to Sporting, Lazy B or a bit further away, Edde Sands to soak in some sun and take a siesta on the beach.
You can also book a spa treatment at G Spa, in the heart of Achrafieh, in solo or duo to get over the craziness of the last 24 hours.
Let’s end this beautiful week-end with a glass of wine and some cheese at Cantina Sociale, where you will be able to choose from a broad variety of different kinds, all available bottled or to sample from a tap. Yes, you read that right. Also the staff is very nice and the pop-corns are offered.
Lists of other super cool places (cause we can’t fit it all in 36 hours)
Dawawine, the most bobo cool place in Beirut that has a library, a projection room, a café and a terrasse. Chill guaranteed.
Urbanista, for some salad bar, carrot cake or vanilla latte is also a super place to work away from home.
Oslo, one of the best ice-cream in BeyBey
Mezyan, live music, arabic dances… you need to go to understand
D Beirut, a new destination for creativity in Beirut. A unique platform for art, craft, design and personal development. We suggest you check Garen Demirdjian‘s showroom as well as Vick Vanlian’s. Oh, and if you want to do yoga on the first floor, you can too!
Sarah’s Bag for the coolest selection of clutches
Cover picture edited by JDEED Studio with pictures taken from Sarah’s Bag Website and Beirut picture taken by SPU University’s website