NB: This post was originally published in September 2015.

Lebanon’s pubbing scene is always in flux, with different areas dying down and building up over the past few years. We’ve witnessed Hamra die out and start building back up again recently, pubbers shift from Gemmayze to Mar Mkhayel, and Badaro materialise as a spot for a slightly more mature crowd.

Here are a few underrated spots that don’t scream out for attention but remain timeless and classic.

Torino Express

Any time I’ve been here, I’ve met a pretty diverse mix of people, from jugglers and musicians to engineers and philosophers. It might be tiny, but it packs a punch. It’s small space is understated and unpretentious. Best of all, all of the photos you take in this place will all come out with an odd but cool reddish hue.

Try: Mojito or Bloody Mary.

Gourand Street


If you’re feeling like something a little bit more sophisticated but still laid-back, head to Kayan. Every time I step into this spot I feel a little bit more refined, like I should be sporting a tweed coat and holding my beat-up copy of Catcher In The Rye. It’s got a great atmosphere, great food, and great drinks.

Try: Salami sandwich and Tiramisu shot. But not together. Unless that’s your thing.

Lebnan st.
Mob.: +9613899213


Anise is a small but sophisticated pub located between Mashawish and Chaplin’s in Mar Mkhayel. It’s got some of the best cocktails in town, infused with the freshest of herbs. They also serve peeled sunflower seeds instead of nuts, which is always great (in my humble opinion). The waiter’s bow-tied outfits also add to the ambience.

Try: Gin Basil Smash.

Alexander Flemming Street
Mar Mikhael
Mob.: +96170977926


This place is a great and underrated spot to grab a drink or five. They’ve got a great blend of music from jazz to reggae, from electronic to soul, and everything in between. They also host semi-regular cuisine nights on Wednesdays.

Try: Moscow Mule and/or some homemade pizza.

Lebnan st.
Mob.: +9613958504

Captain’s Cabin

This place has been around for ages - about 40 years to be exact. While it used to be a place for pilots to rest between flights, it’s now a place for beer and whiskey drinkers. This is also the only place in Lebanon where I’ve heard my favorite local band from New England, Deer Tick, playing over the speakers, so that alone makes it a worthy spot to grab a beer.

Try: Irish Car Bomb or Arak.

Adounees Street
Tel.: +9611740516

Abu Elie

The elusive Abu Elie, A.K.A the communist bar. It’s a famous name in Hamra, but probably the most out-of-the-way venue. And that’s what makes it great. Photos of Che Guevara and Cuban flags cover the red walls inside the pub, a place which is hard to find unless you know someone who knows someone. Or you’ve looked up directions online.

Try: Whiskey or beer. And a roast beef sandwich. Don’t complicate things.

Kweit Street
Mob.: +96170918821


Badaro is a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of Mar Mkhayel or Hamra. The venue is pretty subtle, and kind of easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. As is true with most underrated places to grab a drink, Roy’s isn’t one of those caught new pubs in Uruguay or a psuedo-bohemian but expensive bar in Mar Mkhayel. It’s a place to grab a table and a chair outside and have good conversation. And, alcohol.

Try: Bloody Mary and the pizza baguette.

Kfoury Street
Tel.: +96101390308


Who says you’ve got to drink in a pub? For something a little different, head to Dawawine and have a glass of wine while perusing their library. The place is a library, theatre, and cafe all in one, and also has a nice terrace with potted plants. You can get some work done here with a glass of wine or discuss existentialism over a beer with your buddies.

Try: Glass of wine on their terrace and the steak and mushroom sandwich.

Akkar Building, 2nd Floor, Arz Street
Tel.: +9611567705

[Images via Time Out, Dawawine Blog.]

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Seriously??? are you talking about underrated or overrated???? Demo?Torino?Kayane?Dawawine???? Underrated????

Khaled Merheb on Jan 28, 2016 via web