A tour of Down­town with Zawarib

Beirut’s cen­tral Down­town district has a va­ri­ety of at­mos­pheres from the lively to the serene. The neigh­bor­ing Saifi Vil­lage is for day­time wan­der­ing; de­spite be­ing sur­rounded by ma­jor roads, it’s a tran­quil bub­ble in the hear t of the city. Le­banese guid

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENT - A col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Le­banon Traveler and Zawarib - guid­ing you around the city

Say good­bye to the noise of Beirut and clear your mind at Bal­ima Café ( 1 – 01 985295), be­fore en­ter­ing Nada Debs ( 2 – 01 999002, nadadebs.com), a con­tem­po­rary home design bou­tique that uses Mid­dle East­ern craf t, and Bokja ( 3 – 01 975576, bok­jade­sign.com) – a design and craf t stu­dio. Ta­jal­liyat Art Gallery ( 4 – 01 987205, ta­jal­liyat.com) and Randa Tab­bah Con­tem­po­rary Jew­elry ( 5 – 01 975030, signumrt.com) are also worth a visit.

Vick Van­lian’s ( 6 – 01 983962, vick­van­lian.com) snazzy win­dow de­signs will add some com­pli­men­tary pizzazz to your day. Next door, Meat The Fish ( 7 – 05 441205, 01 993606, meatthe­fish.com) of fers a wel­come break with their ex­cep­tional seafood, fish and meat prod­ucts and daily spe­cials. Then pop into the hand­made leather goods shop of renowned lo­cal de­signer Johnny Farah ( 8 – 01 974808, john­ny­farah.com).

Around the cor­ner, Harry’s Bar ( 9 – 01 996600, Harr ys­bar­beirut), lo­cated on the road where the old tram used to pass, of fers suc­cu­lent Ital­ian food with great am­bi­ence. Make your way care­fully across the busy junc­tion over­look­ing Mar­tyrs’ Square and ad­mire the de­tailed work of Al Amine Mosque ( 10), Down­town’s new­est, and fur ther along visit the St Ge­orges Greek Ortho­dox Church ( 11) with its un­der­ground cr ypt mu­seum.

A walk through Down­town is full of vis­ual stim­uli, not least the arche­o­log­i­cal re­mains of its Ro­man Baths ( 12), dis­cov­ered and ex­ca­vated dur ing re­con­struc­tion work af ter Le­banon’s Civil War in the 1990s. The top of the steps of fers a fan­tas­tic view of the Serail - the govern­ment build­ing and its beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture. If still in re­lax mode, book your­self a mas­sage at U En­ergy ( 13 – 03 090888, uen­ergy.me), lo­cated of f a quiet court­yard.

Beirut Souks, orig­i­nally the his­tor ical souks of the city that pre­vailed for cen­tur ies, now mod­ern­ized, hosts a va­ri­ety of events through­out the year. Make sure to visit dur ing the month of De­cem­ber where a bun­dle of joy­ful Chr ist­mas choirs, con­cer ts and chil­dren’s shows and ac­tiv­i­ties take place.

As you be­gin to get hungr y, sa­vor a suc­cu­lent burger at Brgr.co ( 14 – 01 333511, brgr.co) in Beirut Souks. Foch Street and Al­lenby Street used to be the main routes in and out of the city’s por t dur ing Ro­man times. Once sat­is­fied with the hus­tle and bus­tle, hop into a ser vice­cab and re­quest to be dropped at the Beirut Tow­ers fac­ing All Saints Church near the Cor­niche. Over there, Ayyam Gallery ( 15 – 01 374450, ayyam­gallery.com) can of fer a cul­ture fix with the works of some of the best con­tem­po­rar y ar tists of the re­gion on dis­play.

As the sun be­gins to dip make your way to Bar Three Sixty ( 16 – 01 971111, legray.com) to en­joy a cock­tail cou­pled with a panoramic view of the city. For more fun un­der the stars cross over to the Samir Kas­sir Gar­dens ( 17) and hop into Wall Street Bar & Grill ( 18 – 76 997992, wall­stlb) where mu­sic and smiles col­lide in per­fect har­mony.

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