Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pub Series: Nostrum











Location

It's pretty much like you're headed to Neighbors. If you're walking down Hamra street and Lina's is on your right, take a right at the corner after it. Walk down that street until you get to the next one. Now, instead of crossing the street, just take another right. The first place is Brick's (will post about that soon!) and right next door, you'll find Nostrum

Food

They serve food until 12 a.m.
Last night was my first time there, so I can't honestly say whether the food is any good or not. However, there were 2 tables of about 8 - 10  people having dinner when I first walked in, and the looked pretty satisfied!

Happy hour:

Nostrum's happy hour lasts from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. and works with a "buy one get one free" system. Sounds good, huh?

Music:

This must have been my favorite part of the night! Great DJ, I must say. Before even walking in, I heard the music playing from way outside. I love going to pubs and listening to chilled out music, but this is definitely more my style. It's great for the weekends when you're looking to have some fun. Here are some of the things they played last night:

  • Miss California - Dante Thomas (haven't heard this in ages!!)
  • Keep Their Heads Ringing - Dr. Dre
  • Ruff Ryders Anthem - DMX
  • Temperature - Sean Paul
  • Whatever You Like - T.I.
  • Ayo Technology - 50 Cent

Atmosphere:

The inside looks great! According to the manager, they're going to redecorate soon and make it look even better. They're adding couches and more of the amazing paintings they have up (bought from a store in Gemmayze).
The bathroom stalls were really cute, indicating who goes where with "Chicos" and "Chicas"
The staff were really friendly and very lively. At one point the waiters were dancing as they were serving people, which shows that they're having a good time and it really puts you in a great mood.
They served us 2 shots on the house. One was our choice, and one was their special Nostrum shot, which I do recommend if you're interested in a fruity taste. All in all, I really enjoyed my night. It was disappointing that it got so empty right after happy hour on a Friday night. I think when more people discover this place, it's going to be a big hit.



Monday, 24 January 2011

Pub Series: Flo + Burger Nation Review

I was late with this post, so I added a review on Burger Nation as an apology!!


Today's post will be focusing on Flo.




Location

It's further away than most of the pubs on Hamra, but still a hot spot for anyone who enjoys Hamra's nightlife. It's right next to Flying Pizza. Or if you're coming from bliss, just take the road going up at Charlie's Hot Dogs. I can't honestly give proper directions from people coming from Hamra, because I always just walk in a certain direction until I see something familiar. For some reason, I can never memorize exactly where Flo is!

Food

They serve food at Flo. Like Neighbors, the food is served until 1 a.m. I really enjoyed their nachos, and also the chicken quesadilla. Although it probably wouldn't be a great idea to have the chicken right before a night of heavy drinking. In that case, I would suggest a plan to specifically go there to eat one day.

Happy hour:
Weirdly enough, happy hour does not exist in Flo!

Music:
I always enjoy the music at Flo. You neevr know what kind of music you'll end up listening to. The selection ranges from Destiny's Child to Michael Jackson to Bob Marley. It starts off with very lounge-y music, and then moves on to livelier songs. Some of my favorite songs heard at Flo are:

  • The General - Dispatch
  • This is the Life - Amy MacDonald
  • Billy Jean - Michael Jackson

Atmosphere:
Flo is pretty funky on the inside with a mixture of modern and classic elements. I love sitting upstairs, and that's where I usually am; it's comfortable and the best place to be seated if you're a big group. I sat downstairs for the first time on Saturday and I realized that you get to see a lot more people downstairs. Upstairs you're pretty much isolated. So if you're about 2 - 4 people, I would suggest you sit downstairs, but a bigger group would definitely be more comfortable upstairs.
Ladies, you won't be bored on your trip to the bathroom. There's a really funny quote waiting for you in there. It's also done in a really cool way, because it's written in mirror image and placed right next to a mirror, so you have to read it through the mirror. Hard to explain, so go check it out!



 Here's something that Neighbors is missing: Hypnotic shots!


Best time to be there?:
I don't think I've ever gone to Flo and not found anywhere to sit. There's a constant flow of people coming in and out, so you're generally safe whatever time you get there. I would recommend around 10 - 10:30 p.m. That's when the music starts to build up a little bit, making it the perfect time to start your night.

That's all for the pub, now on to my apology/review.

Burger Nation

It was heartbreaking to see one of the best coffee shops, Cafe Najjar, replaced by a burger place, yet somehow exciting because I always have to go to Achrafiye to get myself a good burger.

I finally had dinner at Burger Nation last night, and here is what I thought.

The Food:
The food was really good. I have to say, there was nothing I tried that I did not like. There was an insane burst of flavor. I first of all definitely recommend that you choose to "make your own burger" instead of picking one off the menu, because then you get exactly what you're craving. And I also definitely recommend you choose garlic mayo as your sauce. The flavor is so out there, trust me you will be using your fries to wipe off any of it left on the plate.

The Atmosphere:
It's very modern, and it kind of puts a smile to your face. The outdoor seating is great, and they have heaters for when it's too cold. The inside is nice as well, I really like the paintings on the wall. Even their place-mats are entertaining to read!!



The Service:
I just want everyone to keep in mind that Burger Nation is still relatively new, and that this happens everywhere. But the service really wasn't that great. The appetizers (try out the onion rings by the way!) took a while to get to us, they even completely forgot one of them. Although we had ordered our drinks, I had to ask twice about my diet 7up, and my friends' milkshakes took a while because apparently the bartender wasn't there to make them. Other than that, they were really friendly, and I'm going to assume that this happened because they've newly opened. Let's hope the service gets better!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Pub Series: Neighbors


The holidays are over, which means it's back to work, back to university and back to this blog!
I will be kicking off my pub series with my favorite pub on Hamra: Neighbors! So sit back, and enjoy.



Location:
Neighbors is a small pub located right next to Ristretto. For those who still don't know where that is: if you're on main street Hamra, take the right that comes after Lina's cafe. Keep walking straight down until you've crossed a street, and then it should be directly on your right.

Food:
They do serve food! It is served all the way until 1 a.m. and it's pretty good, in my opinion.
I would recommend the mini burgers and potato wedges. To be completely honest, I expected the food to be just alright. But I can truthfully say that I will walk down there just to have a plate of those potato wedges, so don't miss out!

Happy hour:
Happy hour starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
By 7:30, the place is usually packed, so if you're interested in making it in time for happy hour I would suggest getting there as early as possible. That's not always the case though, last night I got there at 8 and it was packed by 8:30. Better safe than sorry though!

Music:
The nice thing about Neighbors is the variety of music they play. During first half of the night you would be listening to some pretty chilled out tracks, and then as the night progresses, so does the music. Usually (especially on weekends) by the end of the night the music gets pretty upbeat, and despite it being a cozy little pub, people are out of their seats and enjoying their time.

Some songs they played last night that I loved were:

  • Man's World - James Brown
  • Walk The Line - Johnny Cash
  • Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
  • Everybody Hurts - R.E.M


Atmosphere:
The best part about Neighbors is, besides the music, how unbelievably chilled out this place is! The seating is comfortable, whether you're on a couch or on stools. It can get a little stuffy sometimes, but usually you have your space and don't have to worry about leaning back and hitting into the person behind you. You can literally just walk in off the street, everyone's very laid back and casual (no heels required girls!). The staff are friendly too, if you've been there once, they'll remember you the next time you walk in.



Best time to be there?:
To be on the safe side, I would recommend to be there by 7:30/8:00. The problem with that, though, is that you're there quite early and so might end up leaving early. If you're lucky enough to find a table, I think 10:30 is the best time to be there. By that time, the music starts to get a little more lively, as do the people.


And there you have it, pub number 1 is done! If you have any suggestions about other aspects I should focus on, let me know in the comment box. If you would like to suggest pubs for me to check out, leave those in the comment box too! I hope you enjoyed this, until next Sunday.

Images from: Neighbor's Facebook Page

Monday, 20 December 2010

Coffee Shop Series - Starbucks Coffee (+ Hamra Christmas Street Festival)


I really like Starbucks Hamra because of their new balcony. If you're a smoker you can smoke up there, you get a great view of pedestrians on Hamra, and when the weather's good it's the best place to sit. Of course Starbucks is a non-smoking coffee shop, so other than the balcony, you have the outdoor seating. The only problem with the outdoor seating is that they haven't taken rain into consideration. I was sitting out there on Friday and it rained on me! Thankfully it wasn't pouring.

The Drinks

I used to love their Frappuccinos, but recently I've stayed well away from them. They taste different now for some reason, maybe it's just me. Anyway, my new obsession at Starbucks is the Caramel Macchiatto. It's perfect if you want to warm up with a cup of coffee and are in the mood for a slight sweet taste.

Other Pluses?

They have Wi-Fi, but it's not free. That's actually the first coffee shop I've written about so far that doesn't provide free internet. I believe it costs $5 for 1 hour, and 10,000LL for 2 hours. The connection is decent.
I don't like the service at all. They got my drink wrong twice, they always add whipped cream to my drinks even when I specifically ask for my drinks without it. They're very impatient at the cash register, they always tell me what I owe before I'm even done ordering. Finally, they are very slow when making their drinks. The last time I asked for a sleeve because my drink was too hot to carry, the man told me that they didn't have any and walked away. I had to ask again for a second cup just to be able to carry my drink.
As you can see, I have some serious issues with the staff at Starbucks Hamra!


Hamra Christmas Street Festival


I walked around Friday afternoon, and then came back in the evening, at around 6. They had some really funky jewelry on sale, I bought a really nice ring! But what impressed me the most was the entertainment which was organized by the AUB Music Club. I only saw 4 performances, and they were all pretty good, I saw:
  1. Hiba Kadri and Sarah Aridi
  2. Jean Pierre Abou Jaoude 
  3. Jamil Jabbour
  4. Tina and Julien 

In all honesty, they were all good, but two of them blew me away. The first was Jean Pierre, wow. Amazing voice. And also Tina and Julien, Tina had a beautiful voice, loved the performances!


video
Tina and Julien

video
Jean Pierre





Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Coffee Shop Series - Lina's

Before I start, this post might sound slightly negative because on the day I happened to be there, the whole place was completely unorganized. However, other comments are out of pure honesty :) Let's begin, shall we?




It's a very cozy place, and their seating is really comfortable. They have a study room in the back, which to my knowledge is a non-smoking area, but again when I was there people were smoking. I love sitting by the window because you can just sit and watch people as they pass by.

The Drinks

I am honestly not too fond of Lina's coffee. I never found an iced drink that I really liked. I do like one drink though (which is perfect for the winter!) which I think is called Cinnamon Cappuccino (the reason I'm not sure is that when I was there, they had renewed their menus and all they had was the French version, I literally had to play a guessing game with the waiter to get my drink!). The drink tastes like Christmas in a cup! They add some caramel syrup to the blend making it just perfect.

Other Pluses?

Although their coffee isn't anything out of the ordinary, their food definitely is. I guess that's their specialty, but their sandwiches are really good. I especially loved the crab sandwich with avocado.
They have Wi-Fi, but I couldn't find out more about it since when I was there they apparently didn't have any usernames and passwords to give out.
Despite the fact that I could barely read the menu, and the Wi-Fi was there yet not quite there, they did have good service. The waiter were friendly, which made the experience slightly better.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Coffee Shop Series - Cafe Younes Gourmet


I know that it's Saturday and I'm a day late, but it completely slipped my mind yesterday and well, better late than never right?

The thing that I love about Cafe Younes is the outdoors seating area. I think it has one of the nicest ones out of all the coffee shops around the area. When the weather is just right, there's no where better to sit and enjoy your coffee. The only problem is that there is rarely an empty seat outside, which is why I don't get to sit there much! To my knowledge, the downstairs indoors area is supposed to be a non-smoking area, but recently I've seen a lot of people sitting there and smoking. The upstairs area is also non-smoking, and is perfect if you're looking for a place to work or study with your laptop. Literally, if you look up, all you see are people and their laptops lined up side by side.

The Drinks

As usual, my preferred drink has something to do with Caramel! The Caramelized Coffee is by far the best caramel coffee I've had. It's very sweet though, so if you're not a big fan of sugar I don't recommend that you try it. The French-Press is also really good. Their American Coffee is alright, it's not the best but it's good enough if you get to sit outside!


Other Pluses?

They do have free Wi-Fi, but the connection is not that great. If you're a patient person, you'll be fine using it. If you're there to do hardcore research, I wouldn't advise using the Wi-Fi.
Their food is good, as well as their desserts. The chocolate spoons are my favorite.
The service is great, I've never had any problems with wrong orders, late orders or even missing orders.

For everyone who enjoys something sweet once in a while, make it Cafe Younes' Caramelized Coffee, you won't regret it.