The locals’ favourite Italian. Take a seat in the bar and enjoy pizza accompanied by musty red wine in a carafe. It’s one of the most charming restaurants in town and its central location in Gemmayze makes Margherita a perfect spot to begin the evening. Reservations are a no-go so be sure to drop in at a decent time.
The New York Times crowned it “the coolest club in the world." And that wasn’t a reference to Beirut’s golden era in the 1950s – Sky Bar is without doubt one of the world’s top nightspot today. The location on the rooftop of a building in the harbour area sets the scenery. Guests enjoy a state-of-the-art bar as they watch world-renowned DJs and artists such as David Guetta and 50 Cent perform live. And let’s not forget the fireworks or the stunning views of the Mediterranean.
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Despite frequent ups and downs in the tourism industry, Beirut always has a lot to offer the seasoned traveller. And the hotel scene is no different. Le Gray is our favourite; opened in 2009 as a five-star boutique hotel, it has quickly turned into a small institution. The owner, one Mr. Gordon Campbell Gray, has managed to give the capital a new face – infinity pool, artsy rooms, high-end design details and a rooftop bar offering a 360-view of the city. All this just a few steps from the Mohammed al-Amin mosque.
P.S. Rooms come with a coffee machine and a small stack of classic literature.
Papercup and Mar Mikhael
The Mar Mikhael neighbourhood is now a well-established hotspot for small, chic, artsy bookstores and coffee shops. Our favourite one is Papercup, a great place to visit when you want some quiet alone time. It's a hybrid between a café and a bookshop, so grab a magazine (most of which focuses on art) and order a cup of tea from the shops impressive collection. The bookshop part of Papercup features international titles from around the world and other hard-to-find books.
The Virgin flagship store on Al Souhada Street in downtown Beirut has a vast collection of French, English and Arabic literature. It also hosts a wonderful magazine section where you’ll be able to find any publication imaginable. Your Middle East’s editor spent hours browsing these shelves. Make sure not to miss the rooftop bar and restaurant.