I am not going to list the most common things to do in Beirut. If you want to discover and truly learn about the identity of this country,you’ll have to go behind the scenes,wander the streets and “roll in the mud”. After all, you can always choose to go for the “most popular places in Lebanon” option,but you’ll end up getting the marketed image of the country and miss out on all the genuine,un-promoted ones. So go for:
Exhibitions around the block
Getting in touch with the core identity of Lebanon through the eyes of local talent is by far the best way to discover the cultural background of this country. Free exhibitions are all around the city. You’ll just have to know where to look.Check beiruting.comor Lebtivity.com:these two search engines can come real handy in spotting all kind of events in Beirut. Recently,we got to visit Beirut Art Center and Station,two free visual art exhibitions at a walk distance from one another. The highlight of that visit was one really interesting short movie exhibited at Station:a refreshing glimpse on the sexual life of Lebanese youth,a topic that normally lies under the taboo etiquette.
A walk on the Corniche of Al-Manara
The Corniche of Al-Manara is maybe the most relaxing and soul-fulfilling activity to do in Beirut,no matter what time it is. You can go for a run or for a read,to paint,listen to live performance music,walk the dogs or just enjoy the wonderful view of the Mediterranean horizon. You’ll get to encounter all kind of people and stories. Have a warm corn stick in winter or an Arabic flavored ice cream in summer. Each visit to the Corniche has brought its own storyline and has never failed to make me want to comeback again.
Charlie’s:The pub with no name and a blue door
This is a completely “personal opinion” regarding the pubs in Beirut. There is a lot of good places where you can have a decent drink whether it is in Gemmayzeh Street,Mar mkhayel and more recently in Badaro. But Charlie’s holds a special place in our hearts. Charlie’s is our second house,the kind of pubs where you can easily befriend the bartenders and before you even know it,you’re behind the DJ set playing your favorite playlist. I don’t know what is it about this place:the crowd,the staff,the music…A perfect combination to satisfy all kind of people and ages. Now,sometimes,it can be too crowded,especially during the weekends,and you might find yourself standing on the pavement outside with your drink in your hand,but this is when you’ll get to experience the true essence of Charlie’s and the beauty of its chaos. In fact,it is on this exact pavement that I made sure that Bea had enough drinks for me to kiss her for the first time:)))
Discovering the abandoned houses
Skip the museum visits and go discover the history of Beirut in the most unconventional ways. It is better to try this out discretely and during nighttime since you might be accused of trespassing property(not likely though,this is why it is worth the try).The war on Lebanon left Beirut with a lot of abandoned houses scattered all over the city. Old traditional houses carrying the scares of a harsh period. Exploring these places will not only be a hell of a thrilling experience but will also give you a unique insight to the vulnerable life of Beirutis at that time.
After midnight,go underground
Beirut is quiet rewarding in terms of music genres. Whether,you are into house music,funk,techno,IDM,trance the underground nightlife scene is rich in its diversity. Since we are fans of electronic music,our personal recommendations would be The Gärten,BO18 and The Grand Factory,where International Deejays are weekly invited to play,not to forget the extremely talented local ones that are continuously up-lifting the underground music scene in Lebanon and in the world. And if you’re lucky enough you’ll get to meet the right people and join some really interesting house parties where music is usually more selective and less commercial. Just make sure to keep your ears satisfied.