If one word could describe Beirut’s Hamra district, that would be “buzzing”. From my experience it’s pretty much impossible to find the streets of Hamra completely empty, even at the wee hours of the morning.
Former home to the Beiruti intelligentsia, Hamra remains one of Beirut’s few actual melting pots. It’s a cosmopolitan place where Lebanese, Syrian refugees, government workers, students, Christians, Muslims form an unusual community for Beirut standards.
Neither as fancy as Achrafieh nor as party central as Mar Mikhael, Hamra gives a different taste of the city. Walking around its crowded streets one find a mix of cafes, restaurants, shops, as well as some residential parts.
The first time I explored Hamra I didn’t find it one of city’s most charming parts, yet Hamra always manages to surprise me. Occasionally you will stumble upon an old abandoned mansion or a renovated three-floor tall building that will give you an idea of how Beirut must have looked like 50 years ago before the war and before developers took over the city.
Mezyan for meze – everything is good, and the added bonus is that you can come at any time of the day. Their hummus is slightly spicy and absolutely delicious
T-Marbouta – another good place for Lebanese food.Try the kibbeh and ask to sit outside, it’s much nicer
Good internet is a rare luxury in Beirut. So head to Urbanista Coffee. The trendy coffee house opposite AUB is the perfect place to check your emails while sipping a juice and eating a salad
Enjoy the sun at Dar Bistro’s urban garden. The environment gives a feeling of seclusion in the middle of the city. Don’t forget to check out their books inside; the selection is very good
Onno – for Armenian cuisine. Their burek, itch salad, and mante are absolutely mouth watering.
Smoking bun – for juicy burgers. The burgers make up for the lack of space
Jai – for Asian. The restaurant is tiny and very popular so make sure you book in advance. Portions are big and every single option tastes deliciously (I admit I have a thing for their spring rolls, green curry, and ginger donuts)