For lovers of coffee, Beirut’s rich café culture is second to none. LT rounds up some of the best outdoor spots to grab a freshly brewed cup and watch the world go by.
1. SEA VIEW AT AL RAWDA CAFE
Said to be a favorite haunt of the city’s intellectual crowd, this bastion of the café scene is old school in style – think waiters in formal attire, traditional Lebanese cuisine and groups of men playing backgammon. The spectacular seafront location and vast leafy terrace also make Café al Rawda the perfect place to while away the hours.
01 743348, Chouran Street, Behind Luna Park, Manara
2. TRADITION AT GRAND CAFE
Located in the thick of Downtown, a tarboush wearing waiter, narguileh smokers galore, and traditional Lebanese cuisine make for a crowded café around the clock. Enjoy a Lebanese breakfast in the shadow of Ottoman-era architecture while soaking up Beirut’s history and watch firsthand as the city goes about its daily business.
01 995995, Waygand Street , Next to Beirut Municipality, Downtown
3. TRES CHIC IN ZAITUNAY BAY
Kick back on one of the many large terraces at Zaitunay Bay, where you’re guaranteed an epic view of sexy yachts and fashionistas strutting their stuff.
01 371945, Marina Towers
4. SIDEWALK REVOLUTION AT CAFE YOUNES
The coasters and artwork hark back to days of yore, the 1930s to be precise, when it all began. The aroma of freshly roasted coffee characterizes the inside, while the street-side tables buzz with the sound of students and intellectuals in their quest to change the world, starting with good coffee.
01 347531, cafeyounes.com, Neemat Yafet Street, Hamra
5. HIDDEN GARDEN AT DAR BISTRO & BOOKS
Good things come in threes. Dar Bistro – a bistro, bookshop and large tree-shaded garden – is situated on the ground floor of an old Lebanese-style house in Hamra’s Clemenceau neighborhood. Difficult to find but worth the effort, you may never want to leave this tranquil hideaway.
01 373348, darbistroandbooks.com, Roma Street, Clemenceau
6. STUDY BREAK AT URBANISTA
Bringing the values of the London and Manhattan café scene to Beirut, Urbanista is frequented by everyone from office types seeking a quiet spot to work to hipsters meeting from morning to night. After indulging in their extensive menu, from coffee anyway-you-like-it to an in-house salad bar, browse their shop for office items and kitsch bits.
01 567811, weare-urbanista.com
7. MUSEUM BREAK AT éCAFE SURSOCK
If former French President Charles de Gaulle came back from the dead and wandered around modern day Beirut, he’d probably find his way to éCafé Sursock to sample the classic French-inspired dishes. Atop St. Nicolas’ Stairs, its elongated terrace screams Art Deco as it overlooks tree-lined Sursock.
01 333240, eddeyard.com, 198 Sursock Street,Achrafieh
8. CAPPUCCINO IN THE SUN AT GORDO’S CAFE & TERRACE
Located in the heart of the city, adjacent to Martyr’s Square, this bright, brassiere-style eatery is on the street level of Le Gray Beirut and extends to the cosmopolitan thoroughfare of Weygand Street. Attracting the great and the good of Beirut, from ladies who lunch to the city’s powerbrokers, it’s an excellent spot for people watching and sipping on a cappuccino, or five.
9. CHILLED AT KALEI COFFEE CO.
Tucked away in a narrow alley in the funky Mar Mikhael neighborhood, Kalei Coffee Co. is a must for those who appreciate great coffee. Promising a unique experience, with beans from around the world, this little gem will not disappoint. Chill out on one of the loungers with a cup of specialty coffee in one hand and a good book in the other.
10. A STEP BACK IN TIME AT AL FALAMANKI
Inspired by the true story of Khalil Al Falamanki, Al Falamanki now offers two branches in Beirut, where you can enjoy coffee al fresco. The original branch in Sodeco provides a much-needed green lung in the city, while the second branch (opened in summer 2017) is situated next to Beirut’s iconic Raouche rock. The new spot has one of the best views in Lebanon, guaranteed to fill you with nostalgia.
01 323456,alfalamanki.com, Damascus Road