Beirut isn’t short on its selection of fancy-schmancy restaurants where you can also order your fancy-schmancy arguileh. If anything, this city’s arguileh spots sans luxury are quite numbered. What ever happened to cheap food and smokes with a no-frills atmosphere? Ever heard of casual dining?

I know what I’m about to say may come as a shock to some of you, but bear with me. Sometimes a guy or a gal could use a night out—alone—without receiving any oh-I-pity-you looks. As shameful as this may sound, some of us would also like to relax without a plate of pistachios and almonds forced down our throats or a large bottle of water that we’re not even thirsty for.

If you’re bored and tired with your normal (and by normal, I mean expensive) restaurants in Beirut, look no further than to our picks of the best (and cheapest!) arguileh spots around Beirut.

Casa Oriental, Downtown Beirut

Located right behind the Azariye Tower in Downtown Beirut’s Riad El-Solh Square, Casa Oriental offers delicious daily lunch and dinner plates, as well as a basic breakfast and lunch menu, all at a very affordable price. You’ll step out with spending no more than fifteen dollars for an arguileh, daily plate (salad and dessert included), and a drink.

Grag Café, Nabaa

This is as no-frills as you can get. Though this café has a very limited food menu, most come here to smoke arguileh and drink coffee or tea all for less than five dollars! If you’re looking for the bare minimum for less than the cost of an arguileh delivery, Grag Café is your place. It’s located in Nabaa (in the district of Bourj Hammoud) on Al Sekkeh Street, near the intersection of the Red Cross location, and directly under the bridge to Achrafieh. Now how’s that for Beiruti directions?

Café Em Nazih, Gemmayze

Serving cheap Lebanese food, drinks, and arguileh at a reasonable price, both locals and foreigners alike frequent here. This café is conveniently located near the Charles Helou bus station on Pasteur Street in Gemmayze, but keep in mind that Fridays and Saturdays require some sort of reservation as it hosts live bands. Drained from Beirut noise, too lazy to escape to the mountains, and don’t want to spend more than five or six bucks on an arguileh? Café Em Nazih.

Green Zone, Sin El Fil

No, this isn’t referring to what was the fortified zone in the center of Baghdad; Green Zone is the place to be for cheap arguileh and live football matches on its HD television screens. Located at Ghanameh Center in Sin El Fil, enjoy your arguileh with some Lebanese appetizers for less than fifteen dollars.

Bliss House, Downtown Beirut

Bliss House, located in Nejmeh Square, is one of the few no-frills cafés located in Downtown Beirut. Drop by, have a sandwich, fries, drink, and arguileh for 15 dollars.

Achrafieh Café, Achrafieh

Located on Mar Mitr Street, near ABC Mall, Achrafieh Café offers arguileh for less than seven dollars, as well as breakfast, burgers, crêpes, fast food, pizza, and sandwiches.

Honey Boo, Dora

No, this isn’t the American reality television series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. This is one of the most fun and vibrant resto-cafés I’ve ever experienced in Lebanon. Honey Boo, located right next to Big Sale in Dora, is a smoothie and juice bar, which also provides arguileh and a diverse array of appetizers, crêpe sandwiches, drinks, and desserts.

Beit Halab, Hamra

Might I dare say it? Located right across the street from its competitor, this is the better alternative to Hamra’s Barbar right on Baalbeck Street. The food is not only better, but there’s a larger selection and provides what we all addicts want—arguileh. This is a different arguileh experience, though; the tobacco lies upside down above the coals, which are on a suspendable tray that can be moved closer or farther away from the tobacco. In fact, the tobacco and coal never come into contact with each other, which makes one delicous smoking experience. I can’t say it’s dirt cheap, but it’s worth it for a meal, drink, and arguileh running around 20 bucks.

Wimpy, Hamra

Facing Piccadilly theatre in Beirut’s district of Hamra and open until 1 A.M., Wimpy serves arguileh for just five dollars.

Green Café, Achrafieh

No, this is not the same kind of green café you may stumble upon in the Netherlands. However, it will provide you with arguileh for just six dollars, as well as a variety number of appetizers, breakfast and lunch items, crêpes, and desserts - all ranging from three to seven dollars. Find them on Independence Street, one minute from Sassine Square in Achrafieh.

[Images via Zomato, Executive Magazine, and Facebook.]

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