Visiting coffee shops in Lebanon isn’t just your regular in-and-out trip for a quick caffeine fix. It’s a hobby, a culture, a lifestyle.
Coffee shops provide a refuge from the daily grind and chaos of the city. They fill up at all hours of the day and night, leading many to keep their door open until the early hours, or, in a few cases, simply stay open 24/7. In no particular order, here’s my list of trendy places you must visit.
1 – HOME Sweet HOME Café – Mar Mikhael
There’s nothing like HOME! This sweet, HOMEly, living room-like escape from the busy city streets presents an extensive menu of comfort food and drinks. Don’t forget to check out their gift shop section for a selection of HOME accessories from Lebanese designers.
2 – Candyfornia Café – Monot
Enter a whimsical space, covered in rainbows, Barbie décor, and neon signage. This one-of-a-kind café creates rainbow-infused food and drinks fit for any unicorn lover! It’s aesthetically magical. You are guaranteed to have a memorable and totally Instagrammable experience every single time.
3 – Beirut Cat Café – Mar Mikhael
A first in Lebanon, this coffee shop gives you the chance to sip your favorite drink while playing or cuddling more than 10 cats, courtesy of the Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) cat shelter. Best of all, if you form a special bond with one or more of the kitties, they are all available for adoption.
4 – B.Hive – Hamra
Collaborating on a project or working alone? Need a peaceful space to work in Hamra? B.Hive has diverse spaces that cater to everyone’s needs — from an indoor work area and spacious garden for those seeking outdoor inspiration, to a silent zone for others needing ultimate concentration. Best of all, coffee addicts are well cared for.
5 – Dar Bistro & Books – Hamra
Located in Hamra, Dar Bistro is the perfect hideaway from Beirut’s concrete jungle. Within the walls of a traditional Lebanese style house, you can immerse yourself in a peaceful green garden with a good cup of coffee. There are two floors to explore: The ground floor houses the first English-only bookshop in Lebanon with over 10,000 titles. On the first floor you can find a photography hub named Dar al Mussawir. If you look closely, you’ll find images from their collection used as dividers between sections of this issue.
6 – Kalei Coffee Co. – Mar Mikhael & Hamra
A gathering spot for self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs, Kalei serves delicious high quality coffee sourced directly from farmer cooperatives. They roast the coffees in their separate locations and sell both online and at the shop (retail packaged and served). They also have a wide variety of coffee cocktails. People flock here to soak in its famous hipster aesthetic. First-time visitors, do not forget to check out the flamingo print bathroom that makes the perfect backdrop for a selfie!
7 – Aaliya’s Books – Gemmayze
Attention book lovers, this spot has the perfect combination to satisfy your intellectual side as well as your need for caffeine. The coffee is organic, fair-trade and sourced through a local company run by a young Lebanese entrepreneur. Come in, browse through their collection of new and used books, sit down with a good cup of coffee, and feel like family. For you literature buffs, you can join their weekly book club meeting for engaging discussions on various international and classic titles.
8 – The High Llama – Achrafieh
High Llama offers a wide array of coffees from countries like Honduras, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Colombia. If you’re unsure which to choose, there are experienced baristas on site to help you make your decision. They also offer a full food menu with trendy items such as breakfast bowls, avocado toast, and New York style bagels.
9 – Café Younes – Hamra, Achrafieh & other locations
The first Café Younes opened its doors in Downtown Beirut in 1935, and it’s still standing, making it the oldest surviving coffee roaster in Lebanon. This historical and iconic café is a HOME away from HOME in the hearts of many Lebanese and tourists alike. From young college students studying or chatting away, to more mature crowds having serious discussions about the past and what’s to come, people gather here to feel at HOME. Staying true to its heritage, Café Younes offers and has always offered premium quality coffee from over 10 countries, in addition to a selection of food and desserts.
10 – AR_KA – Mar Mikhael
If you’re in Mar Mikhael and need a workspace, AR_KA is ready to welcome you with open arms and an unlimited supply of coffee and tea. For $12 a day, you can grab a seat at their large work tables, spread out all your supplies and get to work, or have a meeting over coffee in their outdoor patio area. If you worked up an appetite, you can also enjoy a plate of one of their daily HOME-cooked meals such as moghrabiyyeh and mlukhiyyeh.