Explore The Creative Underbelly of Beirut with Sama
Explore The Creative Underbelly of Beirut with SamaSama Beydoun
A mere google search will tell you Beirut is one of the oldest cities in the world and one of the most cosmopolitan and religiously diverse in the region, but it won’t tell you about the enchanting, bewildering, whimsical juxtapositions in the narrow, overcrowded alleys and the calming yet mesmerising energy on the Manara corniche. These are things you just have to experience yourself.
Born & raised in Beirut, Sama Beydoun is a multi-disciplinary creative that draws so much inspiration from the city's streets and its people. Juggling between design, photography and illustration as means of expression, she gravitates around topics related to culture, visual identity and collective narratives. Her process is induced with storytelling, second-hand feelings and leaves a margin for collaboration and mistakes.
She shares her side of Beirut, from markets to where to eat the best local street food. She's got you.
In this Guide
“Best hidden spot for a good coffee in the heart of the city. You can grab coffee during the day and catch some live music at night. Ask for Youssef, he'll tell you all about the space or he’ll hit you up with some special recommendations. My favorites are the ginger lemon honey tea or the iced doppio, that you can ask the waiter for, it’s off the menu.”More Info
“Exquisite brunch or sandwiches with beautiful sunlight if you’re sitting outside. I often pass by for coffee too. If it gets crowded it extends onto the facing staircases, for a drink literally on the streets on Beirut. Ask for Antoine, he’s the sweetest and the funniest, he’s usually there until the afternoon, probably singing along to the music spreading his joie-de-vivre.”More Info
“For film photographers and printmaking lovers, I develop my films at the Beirut printmaking studio, hidden in an alley in Gemmayzeh. Tarek opened this space to gather artists, photographers and creatives, where they can take different printmaking, developing and darkroom classes. Ask him about the names of the cats. You’re in for a ride.”More Info
“If you’re looking for a special gift or a souvenir, Plan Bey is the ideal stop. Posters, books, prints and many projects that carry so much of Beirut’s visual identity and spirit. The selection of artists is amongst Lebanon’s finest in the contemporary art scene. If you take the stairs you get to the coffeeshop too, it’s beautiful.”More Info
“Souk el Tayeb is a farmer’s market that happens every Saturday where you can buy vegetables from the farmers themselves. Fresh, fair, colorful, and so tasty. There’s also stands with delicious recipes and innovative projects reviving or revisiting some culinary Lebanese traditions. You must try Em Ali’s manoushe, you will not regret it.”More Info
“For an afternoon meeting, an evening date or a late night drink, Molo never fails me. “Molo” is the name of the owner herself, who’s often serving you your food or your “Mexican beer” (light beer with lemon juice and salt, delicious). She can always recommend the latest addition to the menu. It has a great outdoors sitting area in the Badaro neighborhood, where you’ll have plenty of choices for the bar that will follow.”More Info
“Ballroom Blitz is definitely a must if you’re a nightlife lover and a club hopper. It’s located in an industrial area, where more than one club are located. The 3-room experience offers different styles with their respective selection of fine DJs. You won’t come out before you can’t stand on your feet anymore, still wanting more. A cherished space-space for sure.”More Info
“When you come out of Ballroom Blitz in the middle of the night completely famished, jump to Jabbour, nearby, to grab one of the best Shawarmas in town. Special tip: Ask the man making you the sandwich to add some grenadine molasse to it. An explosion of taste.”More Info
“For a proper Lebanese lunch or dinner, locals eat at Mezyan, in the Hamra neighborhood. I can’t even begin to count all the things on the menu that are worth trying: Cashew Halloumi, Eggplant Fatté, Batata Harra, Fattoush, obviously hummus. Oh and a pitcher of Araq of course. Choose a night with live music, it often ends up being a party.”More Info
“For proper sunset and sea view, get ready to trespass the metal fence from the Corniche (don’t panic, everyone does). Grab a snack, a hot drink as it gets windy and choose where you would like to sit, vue-sur-mer. The blessing of living so close to the Mediterranean Sea.”More Info