There’s nothing enchanting about the cramped streets, inescapable traffic, high cost of living, or the disorganized buildings of Beirut. But there’s soul in this city, and that’s why so many people are drawn to it.
So how well do you know your way through Beirut? This list represents a true test of your city living prowess. Here are some of our favorite life hacks for getting around Beirut, saving some money and enjoying yourself (use them before Beirut finds new ways to get you back).
Free Movie Nights at Metro
Every single Monday, Metro al Madina has a free movie screening. And every month, the films revolve around a new theme. This month’s theme: Everything is Subjective. Check out the schedule below.
Think of it this way: instead of spending a huge amount of money at Virgin Megastore or wasting time using Lebanon’s Internet to buffer movies, you can take a trip down to Serge’s DVD store. Yes, there are some other cheap stores around Beirut to purchase DVDs, this just happens to be our favorite. You’ll find Sergio’s tucked away among the bustling streets of Bourj Hammoud and, in addition to his insane collection of DVDs, most of the latest movies in the cinema can be found here a week or two after they come out.
Getting to City Mall (or past it) is always a conundrum due to the unnerving morning/night traffic. Instead of taking the road from Dora to Jal el-Dib Highway, take the sea road and you’ll get there at a much quicker pace.
Parking is free in Beirut everywhere on Sundays. You can also park for free at Beirut souks if you spend more than 50,000 LL at TSC, or if you get your movie tickets validated inside at Cinema City.
El Dorado for Cool Finds at Cheap Prices
Most Lebanese would shy away from shopping at El Dorado because it’s not “prestigeee” enough but, in reality, most of the clothes there are from H&M, Bershka and other really popular brands. The only difference is it’s much cheaper. You can find a lot of offers for clothes there that start from 3,000 LL.
Hamra Main Road Hamra Tel.: +9611751670 Tel.: +9611751669 Tel.: +9611751668
Imam Ali Mosque Tarik el Jadida Tel.: +9611858718 Tel.: +9611858719
Ordering argile to your house is, for some unfathomable reason, much cheaper than ordering it at the café. You can get argile delivered for around 8,000 LL instead of smoking it at the café for 13,000 LL. That’s the deal for most (if not all) cafés that serve argile in Lebanon. Additionally, Tasty Café in Hamra offers argile for half the price during the day.
P.S.: Argile is unhealthy and no one should be smoking it.
Legal Indoor Smoking at February 30
Again, we are not promoting the smoking of cigarettes, but if you are a smoker then February 30, the pub in Hamra’s Alleyway Street, has a legal loophole because of its outdoor patio area . You can legally smoke there since it’s not technically considered a fully indoor area.
The Alleyway, 78th Street Hamra Tel.: +96176994405
Awesome Cakes at Mimi’s Cupcakery
When it comes to birthdays, most people make their fancy orders at Cupcakery, Gustav or other super pricey cake places. Mimi’s makes some REALLY awesome cakes (we’re talking about intricate designs such as a Spongebob hugging Winnie the Pooh on a cake) for prices as low as 40,000 LL.
Maydaa Center, Facing Bank Med Mansourieh Mob.: +96176663577
You can order Rose wine for 4,000 LL at Bedivere in Hamra when you want a classy night out with some friends and wine tasting at Phoenicia isn’t compatible with your wallet.
Makdessi Building, Jean D’arc Hamra Mob.: +9613902909
Dollar Shots at Hipnotic Bar
This is for the nights when even happy hour doesn’t make your wallet happy. Hipnotic Bar, located in Gemmayze, offers $1 shots every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition, they have an open bar for $10 on certain days of the week.
Gauraud Street Gemmayzeh Tel.: +96170794962
B2B’s Delivery Guys Deliver More Than Just a Picasso
In addition to a 24 hour delivery service, the peeps who deliver at B2B will usually pick up non-b2b menu items (like cigarettes) at 4 am for you. Just leave them a little extra for the tip.
For those who don’t know, matinee movie showings are movies that show in cinemas before 6 p.m. in theaters. They are discounted to 8,000 LL rather than the 12,000 LL standard fare at most movie outlets in Lebanon, such as Cinema City and Grand Cinemas.
The Jean D’Arc Bookstore, Book Bazar, is a tattered and torn old shop that sells books for prices that go as low as two bucks. The last time I was there, the woman at the cash register gave me three books for 12,000 LL. And no, they weren’t just any books – we’re talking about ultimate classics written by Nietzsche, Voltaire and Jane Austen.
You don’t have to spend big bucks at Antoine to read a book. Located in Beirut next to the Monnot Theatre, the public library has been open to the public for over six years. It has an extensive collection of books, newspapers and magazines in three different language (English, French and Arabic) for people of all ages with a particular focus on the arts.
If you don’t care too much for VIP beds and bikini clad girls walking around in nine inch heels, then there are some (unfortunately few) beaches around Lebanon with free or relatively cheaper entrances. Although it is quite dirty and has a MUCH higher ratio of men to women, the Ramlet al-Baida beach is one of the few beaches with more sand than rocks. In Batroun, the Pierre & Friends beach is free during the weekdays and is quite a lovely place to take a dip if you don’t mind rocks.
Additionally, the beaches in Batroun are relatively cheaper than those in Jbeil or Beirut with entrances that go as low as 10,000 LL during the weekdays (Bonita Bay, for instance). In Anfeh, which is a beautiful village five minutes away from Chekka, the “Ta7t l Ree7” beach is open to everyone and a great place for a barbecue with friends.