The Beiruti bohemians know how to have a good time any time of year, but in the hot summer months the Lebanese capital sizzles with excitement as the rooftops are revealed and the city is set alight.
Much of my last visit was spent exploring the beaches and clubs that make Beirut’s summer so fabulous and fun. Especially as violence and trouble nearby threatens to dampen spirits, it seems important to stress the vivacity and joie de vivre of the passionate people in this city. Personally I found it especially refreshing to experience a place where negativity just doesn’t exist.
Soak up the sun…
The city gets hot and humid especially in July and August, the beaches (usually just pool resorts on the seaside edge) become very popular and are a lovely way to enjoy the sunshine and top up your tan.
La Plage served us well. Located opposite Vendome hotel (with free access for hotel guests) this pool and bar/restaurant is extremely convenient. A hip gang hang out round the pool and order pina coladas in the water bar while looking out at the rippling Mediterranean. Entrance fee for non-hotel guests is approx $25 a day, food is reasonable and decent.
Edde Sands is located a bit further out of town and is the biggest Beirut beach. Geared more towards families, this huge resort aims to provide every amenity you could wish to find, a great day out.
Orchid – the 45 minute drive is worth it for this stunning beach, a sophisticated, elite crowd lie languidly by the sparkling pool. Blend in by wearing a bright bikini and big sunglasses. Be warned you may feel like you are in an episode of Made in Chelsea.
Amethysthe, located within the Phoenicia Hotel is a gem of a pool, themed with purple and always playing popular tunes, it is a lovely place to spend the day and a real asset to the Phoenicia empire.
As the light lasts longer, meals become later… many eateries stay open 24 hours a day, ideal for an extra 4am bite on the way home.
Leil Nhar – quick service Lebanese fast food eatery-pizzeria and coffee shop serving a variety of dishes, coffees and smoothies around the clock… cheap, cheerful, the ideal early morning hangover cure!
Al Balad – offers tasty and authentic Lebanese dining. A relaxed and friendly restaurant, the prices are very reasonable.
Barbar in Hamra serves up insanely good grub, ask for the chicken Shawarma and you will be instantly addicted. Open late.
Cocktail hour at…
Iris – this chic lounge bar serves food and drink on its attractive rooftop floor. The food is modern and striking and the cocktails are innovative and creative… equally impressive in taste and visuals.
Le Capitole – chilled out and relaxed this is the perfect place to enjoy a few dishes off the contemporary menu and order a drink or too from the barman who is happy to make any cocktail of your choice.
Cherry on the Rooftop is the seasonal bar in the luxurious Le Gray Hotel. The bar offers enviable views of the city and a great menu of snacks and cherry inspired concoctions.
Dance the night away…
Skybar – the hottest rooftop club in Beirut. The place to be and be seen.
Pier 7 – An epic sized fashionable club with bright lights and trendy design. Drink, dance and delegate someone else to drive home.
White – super slick and shiny bar and club, find some friends to get you in then fight the regulars for a seat at the bar. Excellent DJ sets and dance routines on the bar make for an exciting and exhilarating night… Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights.
Shop till you drop at…
Mishmaoul – this pop-up shop no longer has a home at the Souks but the designer’s work is still very much alive and in demand in Beirut. The Middle Eastern bright and pop-arty cushions, prints and accessories will animate up any wardrobe.
Patches and Cream Boutique – a small independent shop in downtown Beirut selling quirky and wearable clothes from a variety of unique designers. I was pleased to notice an abundance of neon in the collection!
Vendome – a beautiful boutique hotel, with homely rooms and friendly staff. You will never want to leave.
Le Gray – a divine, luxurious hotel in the heart of the city, Gordon Campbell Gray’s fabulous world of intriguing artworks and distinctive style is inimitable and very special.
Beirut is blissfully beautiful in summer and hopefully my recommendations will help you experience the best of the thrilling city during this hot and fabulous season.