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Beirut/Ashrafieh

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Asia : Middle East : Lebanon : Beirut : Ashrafieh
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Ashrafieh District Beirut

Ashrafieh is in Beirut, it is one of Beirut's oldest and most charming districts and is considered an important tourist outlet in Beirut where a great number of restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs are located. This, in addition to its important commercial venue, its luxurious apartment buildings combined with renovated traditional houses, makes of Ashrafieh an ideal place for shopping and touring within the city.

Get in

Ashrafieh lies directly on the East of Downtown Beirut. Best option is walking if visiting the closer areas such as Monot Street or Gemmayze. If visiting the areas further away then hailing a taxi is another quick (and cheap) option.

See

  • Nicolas Sursock Museum (Contemporary art), Sursock Street, Achrafieh. 01 201892. Mon-Sat 8.30am-2pm. Closed Sun. FREE entrance, the building itself is a perfect example of the typical 18th century Lebanese palace. Lebanese and International art is permanently displayed in the intricately preserved interior.
  • Bekhazi Art Gallery (Contemporary Art), Ashrafieh St., Saab Bldg, Beirut, (+961) 1-321487 (fax: (+961) 1-200749). Mon-Fri 9Am-7PM, Sat 9AM-1PM.
  • Galerie L'Amateur (Antiquities, 19th century paintings), 53-57 Fernaini Street - Abdel Wahab El Inflizi, Ashrafieh, Beirut, 00961 1 219425 (, fax: 00961 1 201432), [1].
  • Vestiges D'Orient Ateliers D'Arts (by Bernard Renno), Gemmayzeh, Pasteur street, Zoghbi building, 1st Floor (near Wild Discovery). Mon-Fri 9PM-6PM..
  • Escalier de Saint Nicolas [2] (staircase of Saint Nicolas), the Middle East's Longest staircase, located between Rue Sursock and Rue Gouraud in Achrafieh. Twice a year, open-air exhibitions are held on its 125 steps showcasing local as well as international work. Contact any Virgin Megastores branch for info about exhibition dates.
  • Camille Allam Workshop, Sursock Street, [3]. 9AM-9PM. Beirut workshop and gallery of artist Camille Allam, this spot is a realtime artist studio. Camille Allam is known for his painted iron animal sculptures, Silicone paintings and Wood assemblages sculpture.

Art Galleries

  • Atelier Camille Allam, 00961 1 323805- 338115, [4]. 9AM to 9PM. In Gammayze.

Do

Theatre

  • Empire Sodeco (6 theaters), Sodeco, Sodeco Square, Beirut, (Tel: +961 1 616 707), Tickets: LBP 6,000 - 9,000
  • Empire Sofil (3 theaters), Achrafieh, Beirut, (Tel: +961 1 328 806), Tickets: LBP 5,500 - 7,500
  • Grand ABC (7 theaters)[5], ABC department stores Ashrafieh, Sasine, Beirut (Tel: +961 1 209 208), Tickets: LBP 6,000 - 9,000

Spa

  • The Beauty Lounge, This friendly and family run salon offers treatments for both men and women including manicures, pedicures, massages, body scrubs, reflexology, LPG and facials (the hydra intensive facial is LL75,000). Bikini, and other body waxing for women only are also available. The signature B Lounge manicure is very good and long-lasting – well worth the 12,000LL cost. Open Mon-Sat 9am-9pm. 210 Sassine Plaza, Achrafieh. tel: 01 330130.
  • Institut Nouna Baz, Provides manicures, pedicures and facial treatments such as peeling, Vitamin C, a mesolift which rejuvenates the skin and smoothes superficial wrinkles, cleaning, whitening, and treatments for the whole body. Massages are also available (approx $30). Open Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm. Verdun, facing Goodies, Itani Bldg., 5th floor. 01 785222.
  • Lena Chaiban (Shiatsu), 25 years experience in this type of therapy which is akin to acupuncture without using needles. A session costs $50/hour. An expert in kinesiology (muscular imbalance) Chaiban also offers Ampuku (abdominal massage) and Reiki. Centre Medical Pasteur Clinic, Gemmayzeh. 03 733603. Call for an appointment.

Buy

  • ABC department store, Alfred Naccach Street, Mar Meter, Achrafieh, 00961 1 212888, [6]. Shopping hours: 10AM-10PM, cinemas/restaurants/parking: 10AM-2AM. Enjoy a full day of shopping with over 200 shops, 20 restaurants, 7 movie theaters.

Eat

Ashrafieh has a sense of old-style charm, evident from its old architecture and mature neighborhood. Eating in Ashrafieh will certainly be more expensive than the other districts, but if elegance and charm is what you're after, you'll love it. Below is a selection of the best places to eat:

Budget

  • Café Blanc (Lebanese), Lebanese cuisine made hip. Try the batata harra and ras assfour (diced meat marinated in pomegranate molasses). The chicken livers are divine too and the shawarma samak is a good bet for a main course. For dessert order the Sultana Delight. ABC Achrafieh, Alfred Naccache Street, Mar Mitre. 01 211120. Open daily 10am-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $40.
  • Chili's One of the tastiest theme restaurants with much to boast about including a laid back atmosphere. Dishes to order are the spicy boneless Buffalo wings, succulently tender baby back ribs and hamburger. Wash it all down with a selection of Margaritas and share the Molten Chocolate dessert. Moawad Plaza, Elias Sarkis Avenue. 01 337171 Open Sun-Thurs 12noon-12midnight, Fri-Sat 12noon-1am. Meal for two with wine: around $50.
  • Pinocchio (Italian), One of the most popular Italian restaurants in the area, Pinocchio is known for its thin crust pizzas. Also order the aubergine gratin and grilled calamari. Or if you’re in the mood for pasta try the Sicilian gnocchi. Trabaud Street. 01 218234. Open daily 12pm-4pm, 8pm-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $50.
  • Sushi Wa (Japanese), Offers a rich menu where you can choose from sushi, salads, sashimi and desserts. Check out the Teriyaki Salmon where a piece of grilled salmon with teriyaki topping is served with steamed rice and raw vegetables. This place’s specialty is the wine collection, where you can find Ksara, Kefraya and Wardi brands all served at affordable prices. Also order the party boat with 115 sushi and sashimi pieces nicely arranged for $100. Sassine, Georges Nacache Street, Behind Byblos Bank Tower. Mon-Sun 11.30am-4pm, 6pm-11.30pm. Meal for two with wine: $30.
  • Tsunami (Japanese), Good all round Japanese joint. Extensive selection of fresh tasting sushi and maki rolls with reasonably priced combo dishes. But make sure to order the tempura which isn’t too heavy on the batter. A hot dish to try is the salmon Teppanyaki. Abou Rizk Blg, Abdel Wahab El Inglizi Street. 01 397327. Open daily 12noon-4pm, 7pm-11pm. Meal for two with sake: around $40.

Midrange

  • (Asian, European), One of the best restaurants to offer a combo of Asian and European dishes. The sushi belt is particularly popular and the fish fresh and well prepared. Ask the chef if you have a particular favourite. If you’re in the mood for something heavier try the T-Bone USDA steak. The chocolate fondant is also a must. Saint Nicholas Street. 01 336644. Open daily 12pm-1am. Meal for two with wine: around $45.
  • Les Vilains, (International), a charming restaurant set in a old Lebanese house, serving an eclectic but traditional menu, that changes with every season. Peruvian ceviche with its sweet potatoes, malaysian rendang beef, chicken tajine with pomegranate, scallops with basil or pork cutlets with beetroot chutney, initiate your palate to flavors from around the world made accessible by a passionate young chef. Meal for two with wine: around 55$. "Baroudi Str., Ashrafieh. 01 323531. Open Tue - Sun 2.30pm-4pm, 7.30pm-11.30pm.
  • Al Mayass (Lebanese cross Armenian), Fantastic Armenian/Lebanese mezza and main dishes with an Aleppo twist. Order the manteh (meat stuffed ravioli in yogurt and sumac), the soujouk and basterma (beef pastrami). The kafta in hot cherry sauce is a must. Great service. meal for two with wine: around $40. Rabaud Str., Ashrafieh. 01 215046. Open Mon-Sat 12.30pm-4pm, 7.30pm-11.30pm; closed Sun.
  • Beirut Cellar (French cross Italian), A city landmark, the restaurant has changed hands several times before settling in the right ones. Catering for a slightly older crowd, the menu is a cross between Italian and French cuisine – something for everyone basically. Great steaks. Shahadi Way. 01 216990. Open daily 12noon-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $45.
  • El Paladar Spanish, Mexican), Pan-Latin cuisine including dishes from Argentina, Mexico and Spain in a Hacienda-style setting. Order the paella. There’s also an extensive cocktail menu with drinks originating from Chili and Argentina. 20 per cent discount on lunches all week and on holidays. Damascus Road 01 335444. Open daily 12noon-4pm, 8.00pm-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $35.
  • Gems, (French-Mediterranean) fusion cuisine in a pleasant and trendy setting. Menu includes salads, sandwiches, pastas and meats. Order the house special and innovative bonbons de foie gras which is served with a sweet wine sauce and mixed salad. Generous portions of oriental and western brunch offered on Sunday (no á la carte for lunch). 29 Achrafieh Street, near Al Beydoun Mosque. 01 330030. Open Tue-Sat 12noon-12midnight; Sun 11am-12midnight; closed Mon. Meal for two with wine: around $60.
  • Gusto (Italian) Italian cuisine at its best. An old traditional house in Gemayze, turned into a beautiful restaurant. You cannot resist the Melanzane alla Parmagiana or their thinnest pizza in town. The ingredients blend in so well it's irresistable. Gemayze, Pasteur Street. 01 569656. Open Daily noon-11:00pm; Meal for two with wine : around 60$.
  • Relais de L’Entrecôte (French), French-styled steak frites restaurant akin to the restaurant on Rue Marboeuf near Paris’ famed Champs Elysées. Not suitable for vegetarians as it’s only steak on the menu accompanied by salad. The steak sauce is the pièce de resistance. For dessert try the delicious profiteroles and chocolate fondant. Good selection of local and French wine. Abdel Wahab Al Inglizi Street. 01 332 088. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7.30pm-11.30pm. Meal for two with bottle of house wine: around $50.

Splurge

  • Al Dente (Italian), Italian cuisine at this high-end restaurant decorated with chandeliers, thick drapes and faux Renaissance paintings that feels like a royal dining room. Pastas are either homemade or imported. If they are not on the menu, request the capellini with asparagus and white truffle oil or any of the risottos. Albergo Hotel, Abdel Wahab Al Inglizi Street. 01 202440. Open daily 12.30pm-3pm, 8.30-11pm; closed Sat lunch. Meal for two with wine: around $80.
  • Claudia's (Italian), Cosy and intimate chic Italian fare. Excellent service with decent and generous portions. Extensive wine menu and good desserts – pick the Panne Fantasia (French toast with warm caramel sauce, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream). 31 Abdel Wahab Street. 01 218999. Open daily 12noon-11.30pm. Meal for two with wine: around $85.
  • Cocteau (French), The chic Lebanese head for dinner at Cocteau, the prettiest restaurant in Beirut, where the walls are covered with the French artist's (Jean Cocteau) doodles and there's a waiter per person. Sodeco, Ashrafieh, Beirut (00 961 1 616 617).
  • Julia's (French), Great food in a chic but relaxed setting. The menu is international in essence but you’ll find French cuisine predominates. The steaks are cooked to perfection and highly recommended. Reserve on the patio and you get to see Beirut’s trendiest people drive and stroll by. Abdel Wahab Al Inglizi Street. 01 219539. Open daily 12noon-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $80.
  • La Table D'Alfred (French),Sursock Street, French gastronomy and club lounge for lunch and dinner, you can discover an excellent French cuisine with the talent of the chef Sylvain Arthus and chef Alfred Asseily discover their wine cellar of more than 150 bottles of wine.
  • Maki Beirut (Japanese), Beirut Homes Building, Aschrafeih, Damascus Road & Habib Basha El Saad Road (Between Sodeco Square & The National Museum), 01 426222, [7]. Daily: 12PM-3:30PM; 7:30PM-mid night. Upscale contemporary Japanese cusine. Good options include; Salads with raw fish (and some without), five different plates that serve chicken, Black Angus teppanyaki or lobster drowning in creamy sauce. Ichijiku Tori Teriyaki(Fig Birds!) or the rather eccentric selection of maki’s - over 100 different options. Average per person $ 40.
  • Salmontini (Fish), Salmon is the name of the game at this stylish eatery. Feast on smoked salmon and salad for starters and follow through with the sumptuous salmon with couscous and harissa sauce which is spicy without being hot. There’s also salmon in white sauce for tamer taste buds. Accaoui Road. 01 337999. Open daily 12.30pm-12midnight. Meal for two with wine: around $130. Set menu LL40,000.
  • Sushi Bar (Japanese)The restaurant for sushi buffs and Japanese food lovers. Extensive (and expensive) sushi menu of maki, sashimi and sushi, get your chop sticks around the recommended Spicy Fever maki and the salmon on ice with special house sauce. For starters order Chobu Chobu seafood soup. Abdel Wahab Al Inglizi Street, Achrafieh. 01 338555. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 8pm-11.30pm. Meal for two with wine: $100.


  • Yabani (Japanese), With a reputation as one of the best Japanese restaurants in town, the sushi here is pricey but good. The menu is also varied so you get to try other delicacies - check out the unbeatable chilli beef ramen. An underground eaterie designed by architect Bernard Khoury, the seating is arranged in a circular fashion reached via a boudoir-styled elevator. Damascus Road. 01 211113. Open daily 12noon-3.30pm, 8pm-12midnight. Meal for two with sake: around $100.

Gemmayze

  • Adam (French), 00961 1 560353.
  • Café Gemmayzé, 00961 1 580817.
  • Bar Louie, 00961 1 575877.
  • Club Social, 00961 1 562121.
  • Corleone Trattoria, 00961 1 576057.
  • LaTabkha, 00961 1 579001.
  • Le Chef, 00961 1 446769.
  • Paul, 00961 1 582222.
  • Soto (Japanese), 00961 1 573035.
  • Mandaloun Grill (Steakhouse), 00961 1 449953.

Drink

Drinking venues are found throughout in Ashrafieh, but the areas where the nightlife are concentrated in are Gemmayze and Monot Street. Clubs in Beirut normally close at around 5:30am but the fact that there is no curfew in the city, clubs often go on until dawn (though with a few exceptions, most clubs empty by 4:00am). After clubbing, some Lebanese will go on to pubs or having breakfast at one of the 24-hour snacks and cafes. Few nightclubs have an actual dancefloor; most people dance around the table they have reserved for the night.


Monot Street

Monot Street is widely considered as the clubbing street in Beirut, although there are also many pubs. Most clubs play a variety of music. Monot street is quite narrow, and mind wrecking to drive through, particularly at night when the clubs are open. Parking is nearly impossible any time of the day, so going by car should be considered only if necessary. Despite the driving nuisances of Monot, locals still prefer to drive. Monot street borders Downtown Beirut's south east corner, making it a very short walk (or taxi ride) from the city center.

Gemmayze

Gemmayze is Beirut's artistic bohemian quarter, an old district full of narrow streets and beautiful historic buildings from the French era. It is well known for its trendy bars and pubs, cafes, restaurants and lounges; a perfect chill out place to have a drink "with soul" and watch the night go by. There are few or no nightclubs. Rue. Gouraud (or Gouraud street) in Gemmayze has the highest concentration of night venues, particularly at the side closest to Downtown Beirut. Similarly to Monot street, this area is old and historic, and was designed well before the invention of automobiles, so going by car through its narrow streets requires a lot of patience. There are complaints however, of foreigners buying up and renovating properties, leading to gentrification and pricing out many locals from living there. Some places have run into trouble due to noise complaints from locals. Still, the are is still charming and worth a visit, whether during the day or at night. Gemmayze borders Downtown Beirut's East side, and it too is a very short walk from the city center. Walking would be the best option, (being dropped off by a taxi at the entrance of the street, and walking the rest, is another option). url:http://gemayze.tripod.com".

  • Dragonfly Pub, 00961 1 561112.
  • Godot, 00961 1 575770.
  • Hickey's (Irish), 00961 1 447275.
  • Bar Louie.
  • Zeus, 00961 1 565195.
  • Sinners, 00961 70 145454.

Nightclubs in Gammayze

Hanks - 03560594

Other

  • The Basement (Nightclub), Electro, Minimal and Tech-House from The Basement residents DJette (Fri) and Jade (Sat). Plays Western music exclusively. With a long bar, lots of cushioned seats and minimal lighting (but no dancefloor), this is one of the most original clubs in Beirut located on the site of an old underground carpentry workshop where local and international DJ’s play up on high like preachers sermonising to their flock. Gets crowded so your dance moves may be compromised. 01 570505. Charles Helou Avenue, Achrafieh. Thur-Sat 9.30pm-late. Men must be 21yrs old, girls 18yrs old, no singles allowed, no admission after 2am.
  • BO18 Classic (Nightclub), Bring back the 90’s with a set of jazz, funk and Arabic music played by owner and resident DJ Nagi Gebran. The interior wall is covered with metallic chains and this theme is maintained throughout the club. The place gets crowded and dancing gets dirty so expect queues to get in and a pumped up atmosphere inside. 01 650606. Sodeco Square, Achrafieh. Mon-Sun 7pm-2.30am. Bar food served.
  • Concerto (Nightclub), One of Beirut’s well-known Arabic nightclubs. DJ Robert plays live music until 1:30 am, then the one man show stays late. The atmosphere is looking for a crowd that likes this sort of thing. 03 988944. Facing Bank of Industry and Work, Sodeco Main Road, Achrafieh. Daily 11pm-6am.
  • Element (Nightclub), Decorated in earthy colours and wood throughout. Enjoy chill out music earlier in the evening and catch heavier new wave ‘80s rock and commercial pop and house later on. Make sure to reserve a table for a more comfortable night, otherwise prepare to be continuously brushed up against near the bar. The venue offers dinner as well, so you can combine a night of dinner and clubbing here. 01 212100. Damascus Road, Achrafieh. Mon-Sun 8.30pm–4am. Food available. Reservations recommended.
  • Elegant (DJ Bar), Elegant is a restored old Lebanese mansion enclosing arcades, and a rectangular bar. DJ Tony plays Latino, house, commercial, and oriental music. 03 222656. Petro Trad Street, Sodeco. Mon-Sun 8pm-late; $25 entrance. Thur: Karaoke night.
  • La Closerie (Lounge), Alcoholic drinks, cigars, Asian food, and a romantic atmosphere are what you will find in this attractive place with an older clientele. Very much a chill out bar it feels like a living room in an English country house – the perfect place for an early evening drink before hitting the clubs. 01 331938. Lebanon Street, Tabaris, Achrafieh. Mon-Sun 5pm-1am.
  • Pastis Bar (Pastis), Pasteur (Gemmayze), 01575754, [8]. New York Style, Premium Cocktails
  • Pulse (DJ Bar), International bar food available. Every Wed: imPULSive night playing hip hop, Funk, House. In this bar you’re always on the move, as DJ Eddy Perez from New York, DJ Ravine playing Lounge and DJ Jack playing House get you in the mood. The L-Bar serves a great collection of drinks and pulse cocktails. Don’t miss the VIP section all in white, red and black with comfy seats to lounge in. 03 454445. Damascus Road, Achrafieh. Tue-Sun 9pm-late. Closed on Mon.
  • Shah Lounge (Lounge), This oriental Moroccan style lounge bar is decorated with wood and has velvet furniture. The music is primarily Arabic but the live band is one of the best in town playing famous pop and Arabic tunes. 01 330033. St Joseph University Street, Achrafieh. Tue-Sun 10pm-4am. Closed on Mon. International cuisine. Tue: Karaoke night; Wed-Sun: live band and Arabic one man show.
  • Tycoon (Nightclub), The decor is in a classical style with contrasting modern technologies. Crystal luster hangs from the ceiling and the bar is made of wood. Plays commercial techno, and house music till 1.30am and then features the one man show Khalil singing Arabic till late. 03 242241. Sodeco, Saadeddine Street; $40-$45 approx per person.
  • Zinc (DJ Bar), Serious party beats including hip hop, jazz, trance and commercial. This popular bar in an old house with three comfortable lounge areas never goes out of fashion. The crowd is mainly trendy young professionals and as the night goes on the dancing gets increasingly lively. 01 612612. Seif Eddine Al Khatib Street, Achrafieh. Mon-Sat 8.30pm-2am; Drinks LL9,000-LL14,000. Food served.

Sleep

Budget

Midrange

  • Hotel Sofitel Le Gabriel (4 stars), Avenue de l'Indépendance , BP 167 197, Ashrafieh - Beirut, 00961 1 203800 (, fax: 00961 1 320094), [9]. $140-$400.
  • Hotel Alexandre (4 stars), Adib Ishak st., Ashrafieh, Beirut - POBox:116861, 00961 1 325736/325739/332286 (, fax: 00961 1 203940), [10]. L'Atrium piano bar and La Palmeraie restaurant also available.
  • Park Tower Suites [11] - Ashrafieh, President Elias Sarkis Avenue, (Tel: (961) 1 333314, (961)3259000, Fax: (961) 1 324783), Stay in pleasant surroundings with a short stroll from and close to all city services, in the vicinity of shops, restaurants, museums and entertainment needs. ParkTower Suites has excellent facilities, comfortable guest suites and public areas. All suites are nicely equipped to create full comfort and relaxing atmosphere. Modern, clean and spacious all-suite-hotel in the heart of Ashrafieh. Close to Monot Street.


Splurge

  • Hotel Albergo (5 stars), 137, Abdel Wahab El Inglizi St.- Beirut, 00961 1 339797 (, fax: 00961 1 339999), [12]. $245-$450.

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