The Best of Beirut
on Jun 18, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Summer smells of sunset gatherings, chilled wine, fresh fruit, and sweet tartness. Put them all together and what do you get? Sangria, of course.
A beverage whose origins are rooted in Spain and Portugal, sangria (literally meaning “bloodletting” thanks to its typical deep-red hue) can vary tremendously from recipe to recipe. You’ve got full liberty in the type of fruit used (orange, apple, forest berries, peach, grape, kiwi, and others), the spirits added (who doesn’t like brandy in their sangria?), and the presence of carbonation (a spritzer). But one thing’s certain: this quencher will keep you hydrated, bubbly, and thirsting after the whole punch bowl.
So grab your goblet and stay on my heels as we scour the city for its sweetest sangria servings.
Photo via Pinterest
There’s a reason St. Elmo’s Seaside Brasserie has survived the restaurant slump in Zaitunay Bay, and we’re pretty sure their superior sangrias have something to do with it. Heaving with fruit including peaches, apples, oranges, grapes - whatever’s in season, really - you can have your punch white, red, or rosé as you watch the beating sun slowly recede into the horizon. We were a little frazzled that the only size on the menu is a pitcher, but one sip of that elixir, and pitcher suddenly seemed scanty.
Photo via Facebook
Perched at the top of the luxurious Le Gray hotel and centered on a majestic glass atrium, Bar ThreeSixty offers some of the most breathtaking views of Beirut, the Mediterranean, and edifices in the city. But what are aesthetics without a wonderful cocktail to help take in the scene? Bar ThreeSixty’s award-winning (female!) bartender crafts an ultra-smooth and fruity sangria (23,000 LL) laced with a liberal volume of vino, and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you get a second one on the house during happy hour (Mon-Thurs, 5-8pm).
Le Gray Hotel
Photo via Taste
Bodø is a charming 24/7 bar with an open front and inviting vibes. Named for the Norwegian town where the sun never sets, this bar serves up a variety of popcorn flavors to munch on as you sip on tasty (and wonderfully discounted) drinks. The rose sangria is an absolute must, and for only 4,500 LL a glass or 18,500 LL per pitcher during happy hour (4-9pm), it’s hands down the best deal in town. So make yourself comfy on the cute and colorful cushioned barstool and prepare for a campout.
Abdel Aal Street
Photo via Rick Bakas
With a 180-degree uninhibited view of the Beirut port and the vast expanses of the Mediterranean, Iris is a rooftop lounge that serves up cocktails and al fresco dining. The ambiance is unrivalled: cool, calm, refined yet relaxed. And the unique blends fashioned by the expert bartenders are delicious. Try Iris’ white or rose sangria, which comes served in a whisky glass and actually resembles the colors of the sunset. A mint leaf and ice boosts its refreshment factor.
Photo via Facebook
There’s a pub in Gemmayze that’s big on mantras like “Drink ‘til he’s cute” or “Drink to forget you drink” or - my personal favorite - “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.” Aptly named Rules Bar & Lounge, this is one hangout that’s got its priorities sorted. And the delicious sangria is no exception, dosed liberally with wine and brandy and brimming to the lip of the glass with fresh fruit cuts. There’s no denying it - this bar pretty much rules.
Boutros Dagher Street
Photo via Weekend Notes
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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