Gemmayzeh wasn’t always the nightlife hub it is now. It was like every other area of Beirut until the mid 2000s, when a few bars opened up and paved the road for the city’s most exuberant nightlife district to date. Despite competition from up-and-coming neighborhoods and streets elsewhere, Gemmayzeh still reigns. But it hasn’t been easy and perhaps part of the success of the district lies in its multiple face lifts. While a few bars and restaurants have taken root, others have come and gone – and it seems it’s this dynamic that’s kept us on our feet, coming back to check out what’s new, but always knowing we’ve got the familiar and well-loved places. As Lebanese we love change, and our nightlife venues (even those that have been open for ages) have always accommodated our tendency to become easily bored! From new places altogether, to new decorations, new menus and new theme nights, novelty has bred success.
Before it closed down last year, one of the street’s cornerstone pubs was Crystal Group’s ALCAZAR, the hugely popular 3 storey restaurant and bar that also included a charming outdoor patio and rooftop terrace that are so perfect for Beiruti summers. Its location on the St. Nicolas Stairs means it’s right in the middle of all the action. The stairs are frequently used for art and cultural events, and are themselves an oldschool landmark in the city. On the inside, ALCAZAR’s untouched walls, 30-foot bar and vintage black and white projections were unpretentious, artistic and welcoming – not to mention how great the delicious food and cocktails were!
And guess what? They’re reopening! On March 1st get ready to bring it all back and check out what’s new. The first floor will be transformed into an art space for those who are interested in showcasing their exhibits. With the re-opening of such a landmark pub as ALCAZAR we’re not sure what to expect, but we’re sure Gemmayzeh will be rushing back here. We can’t wait to bring back the good times!