I finally made it to Lebanon in 2018 and celebrated New Years Eve here and my entrance to 2019. It was my second time to see the new year arrive in the Middle East having been in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan in 2013. That was a special trip at the time as I honed in on a century of countries and was about to head to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
Fast forward 5 years and the century had been achieved, a further 44 unrecognised countries were gulped down by my hungry backpack and I had relocated from the sweet smelling harbour of Hong Kong to the passion drenched streets of Poland’s capital, Warszawa. Travel slowed down for me. I spent two New Year’s Eves in Warszawa. Now it was time to head to Lebanon. I flew in from Krasnodar in Russia and landed in Beirut, heading straight to my hostel – Mady’s Hostel.
At Mady’s Hostel I was given a local welcome shot and was told about two prominent bar areas. One in the city centre (15-20 minutes dander) and the other in Mar Mikhaël (basically on the street I am sleeping on, but a bit further down). So without further ado, I headed out on my own. Within minutes I could feel the pulsating vibe of Beirut’s famous nightlife. It was pumping. Within 5 minutes of sipping my first beer, I had made new friends and I knew this was the place to be. Here are some of the cool bars I visited while backpacking in Beirut in Lebanon…
Internazionale will be remembered as it was the first bar I ever visited in Lebanon (despite having a New Year’s Eve shot at my lovely hostel, Madys Hostel).
There was a DJ on and I ordered up a local beer. Served ice cold and for 5000 (USD) was an Almaza bottle. I took a seat. Within minutes about 10 Lebanese people came and sat next to me. They were in true party spirit and invited me to drink with them. This was my superb introduction to a night on the rip in Beirut!
Abbey Road is a poky bar with a great atmosphere and a happy vibe. It’s just down the road from Internazionale. I spent the first 2 hours of 2019 in here talking away to so many people. As well as Lebanese, I also met French and Germans in here. I drank local Azmara beer (6000 / USD) and tried 1 Lebanese white wine too (8000 / USD).
One girl called Cynthia caught my eye before I partied with a geezer called Wolf who admitted to having necked a full bottle of Johnnie Walker black already. The place was nuts and also had free WiFi.
I didn’t intentionally keep up a British vibe. But next up I headed from Abbey Road to London Pub. After sipping a beer here I chatted to two Armenian girls who now live in Lebanon. All the people I spoke to in Beirut were incredibly welcoming and friendly – it’s a truly fantastic party city!
This was probably the poshest bar from my time in Lebanon and I only popped in for a quick beer at Bar 35 which was one of the closest bars to my hostel.
5.Le Petit Cafe
In the heart of Beirut by the clock and main square, I had lunch and a beer at Le Petit Cafe. It also shows live sports, mostly football and it has WiFi and Shisha. Beers are 5000 ($4 US) and the Fatouch was 5,500 (just under $5 US). You can sit in a bar like this (or the many nearby) and watch the world go by in peace. A very relaxed city centre here.
6.Café Em Nazih
Café Em Nazih is a quirky cafe and bar situated at the bottom of steps on a poky alleyway on a side street. It was only a 6 or 7 minute walk from my hostel and well worth the trip. This was the first bar where I tried the local beer known simply as Beirut and I met a local lady, Christelle in here. The Cafe is part of the well known Saifi Urban Gardens Hostel.
I’ve added in Cyrano as they had this random Red Irish Beer that I had never seen before. The service in Cyrano was very slow but it’s a nice looking bar, also very close to my hostel.
Overall, these are just 7 quick bars from my short trip to Beirut. The city has hundreds of quality bars – I love the city and one day might be back to sample more of its throbbing nightlife. Here are some more photos of Beirut itself – I loved the city.
Here are some videos from my time backpacking in Beirut: