Beirut Nightlife: Winter Edition

If you ever come across a Lebanese expat and strike up a conversation with them about their homeland, they are likely to boast about the vibrant nightlife scene particularly in the capital Beirut. Despite the country’s occasional instability there’s no doubt the Lebanese know how to party, so much so that many famous Lebanese clubs and lounges have recently opened in Dubai.  Having experienced a fair number of nightlife scenes around the world, I am yet to find anywhere that compares to Beirut – in terms of variety, cost, and ambience. Dubbed the party capital of the Middle East, Beirut has something for everyone no matter what day of the week it is. Most, if not all, clubs/lounges/bars open late daily which is one of the many reasons I love Beirut. Here are my top picks for going out in Beirut during winter:

Music Hall

Looking for good music, live performances and great food? This place is for you. Serving a slightly older crowd in a theatre-like setting, this is one spot guaranteed to keep you entertained all night. Avoid if on a budget. Reservation is a must.

Indie

This lavish lounge is the winter brainchild of the team behind White, one of Beirut’s hottest summer rooftop nightclubs. I love the interior décor of this place, not to mention the excellent cocktails. You can catch a live band playing here frequently. Reservation is a must for large groups.

Bistro Bar

This bar is one of the pioneers behind the revival of the iconic alleyway in the Hamra district. For a chilled out night Fridays here are best, but for a pumping night be sure to go on a Saturday as the music is more upbeat.

Caprice

Bazaar night happening here every Friday is one of the hottest tickets in town. Dance the night away at this funky lounge/bar with a fusion of English, French, & Arabic tunes. If you prefer R&B music be sure to head over on a Thursday for URBN night. Reservation is a must.

Uruguay Street

Looking for a last minute drinking destination and not sure where to go? This alleyway in the heart of downtown Beirut is home to an endless streak of pubs and bars. Good for pub hopping with friends.

B018

EDM music lovers, you won’t want to skip this underground nightclub famous for its open and closeable ceiling. Be sure to check out its legendary 80’s night every Thursday. Reservation is a must for large groups.

The Hub

The latest nightclub to hit the Beirut party scene, this place hosts superb R&B nights every Saturday and funky Pop Tart nights every Friday. Reservation is a must.

Under Construction

Enjoy deep house beats all night long in one of the coolest lounges in Mar Mikhael. The interior is super dandy with pipes along the ceiling and large bolts on the walls, hence the name ‘under construction’.

Coop D’etat

Located on an enclosed rooftop in Saifi, this bar is a favorite among foreigners due to the cheap drinks and casual atmosphere. Go early to get a good spot because they don’t take reservations. Good for those on a budget.

The Grand Factory

This place hosts the “C U NXT SAT” party every Saturday. If you’re seeking somewhere to let loose and rave to EDM music all night, you’re in for a real treat here.

The O1ne

The winter equivalent of Skybar, this club has only been open a year and is already booming. If you’re looking to have a wild night this is the place to go. Avoid if on a budget. Reservation is a must.

SUD lounge

For those looking for a more relaxing vibe, head to SUD Lounge right above SUD restaurant in Mar Mikhael. Great for both dinner and drinks.

P.s: Be sure to ask about the age restriction as a lot of these places are 21+

Have you ever experienced Beirut’s nightlife scene? If not, which is your favourite party city?

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Daydreaming of Dubai

Hello lovelies 🙂

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately, I’ve actually been planning a birthday getaway to Dubai with my best friend. I turn 22 in March and since I’ve just completed my university degree and am currently looking for a job, I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands and what better way to fill it besides travel! We were able to find a great deal which I’m super happy about, although I’d love to ask for recommendations of things to do over there. I’ve actually been to Dubai before back in 2011 on a family holiday and I’m excited to go back – this time with my best friend – to discover more of this fabulous city so please do hit up the comment box, I’m open to try anything!

Peace & love xx

Let’s Talk Fashion

In every group of girl friends lies a fashionista. In other words, the person whose wardrobe everybody envies, the person who’d earn a gold medal if shopping were a sport, and the person who approves your first date outfits.

As I reflect on my own group of friends one person stands out in this aspect, and it’s not a coincidence that her name is Diva. She recently created an Instagram page (@looksbydiva) where she regularly posts outfits she’s assembled as well as fashion trends she loves, all for good fun. If you’re on Instagram and in need of some everyday outfit inspiration, or simply enjoy keeping up with the latest trends then give her a follow, I promise you won’t be disappointed 🙂

The page caters to all tastes and outfits range from classy to casual. Below are some of my favourite looks, what do you think?

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Summer in Sydney

IMG_0246Growing up in Sydney, Australia, I couldn’t wait for December to arrive because it would mark the start of summer. While people in the Northern Hemisphere were gearing up for winter, I was busy shopping for swimsuits and planning my summer days. Christmas was spent at the beach and pool parties were a standard way to ring in the new year.

As the summer season approaches Downunder, I find myself longing to be back in Sydney. The best time to be in this city is during the summer months as it’s located right on the water. Since I can’t be there myself, here are some must-do’s for anyone planning on visiting this fantastic city this summer:

– Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk: Besides the obvious health benefit, this 6km walk provides stunning views of Sydney’s coastline and surrounding beaches.

– Queen Victoria Building: Better known as the QVB, this architectural masterpiece is located in the central business district and is just as majestic as the sovereign whom it was named after. Lots of fancy shops and restaurants await you inside.

– Harbour Bridge Climb: I did this back in 2012 and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The view at the summit is breathtaking and the climb itself is super safe and easy. It can be done during the day, night, dusk, or dawn and is a great birthday gift or date idea. Check the website for more details: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/ . P.s: Sydney Tower is a great alternative, you can do the skywalk or dine at the buffet restaurant which spins to give you a full 360 degree view of the city.

– Taronga Zoo: A lovely day out for families or friends alike where you’ll get to see Australia’s most unique animals close up (Koala, Kangaroo, Platypus etc.) as well as witness live shows. The best way to get there is by ferry boat in my opinion as you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Sydney Harbour.

– Sydney Opera House: While Paris has the Eiffel tower, Rome has the Colosseum, and New York has the liberty statue, Sydney has the iconic Opera House. If you’re unable to catch a show inside, I recommend going for drinks at the Opera Bar at night. You won’t be disappointed and cannot leave Sydney without catching a glimpse of this landmark up close.

– Harry’s Café de Wheels: You know that saying, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’? Australians love their meat pies and this place offers the most delicious pies in the city so head over there for a bite. It’s been visited by the likes of Nicole Kidman and other Australian celebrities.

– Bondi Beach: You can’t visit Sydney without spending at least a day at the beach and this is quite possibly the most famous beach in Australia. It’s almost always packed though so make sure to go early to get a good spot. If you’d prefer to go to a more quiet place head over to Wattamolla beach located in the Royal National Park, a secluded oasis of natural beauty.

– Rugby Game: Australians take their sports very seriously. Commonly referred to as ‘footy’, rugby is one of Australia’s most followed sports so be sure to check out any local matches as it’s a lot of fun.

– Pitt Street Mall: A great pedestrian shopping area located in the heart of the city.

– Darling Harbour: The best way to experience Sydney is a walk along the harbour. Some of Sydney’s most famous museums can be found here as well as the Sydney Sea-Life Aquarium, and it’s within walking distance from the Sydney Fish Market where you’ll find some of Australia’s tastiest seafood.

– The Grounds of Alexandria: If you’re a foodie head over here for breakfast or brunch in a beautiful garden setting.

– Royal Botanic Gardens: This is the perfect place for rest and relaxation. Have a picnic, read a book, or simply lay on the grass and take in the sights and the smell of fauna.

The Book List Challenge

Those who are closest to me know that I’m an avid reader. I’m constantly looking for good books to add to my collection and love giving and receiving books as gifts.

Now that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has come and gone, a new challenge has taken over social media: The Book List Challenge. The task is to list 10 books that have impacted you in some way, and nominate others to do the same. I was nominated a few days ago and here’s my take on it (in no particular order):

  1. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  2. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. You’re Hired – Bill Rancic
  4. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  5. Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling
  6. In Someone Else’s Shoes – Joseph Assaf
  7. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  8. The Giver – Lois Lowry
  9. Sisters – Danielle Steel
  10. A Walk To Remember – Nicholas Sparks

I now nominate other bookworms to the challenge, go ahead and comment below 🙂 would love to hear your recommendations as well as thoughts on my list.

Senior Reflections

This week I’ll be heading into my last ever semester at university while others will head into their first. I still remember my first day at Uni like it were yesterday; there are so many things I know now that I wish I’d known then that would have made life so much easier for a shy, anxious freshman like myself. I often reflect on that time now that I’m a senior, and if I could go back to that first day:

I’d tell myself that it’s okay to let go of those high school friendships that I valued so much. None of my close friends attended the same university as me; they all went to another university together. It was really hard to adjust to the idea that while they could all take classes together, share dorm rooms, and hang out during breaks, I had no-one. During my breaks I would go to their university to see them as it was within walking distance from mine. I wanted so badly for things not to change. But I eventually stopped visiting and this only benefitted me because if I had been stuck with my high school friends throughout university I would’ve never had the chance to build new lifelong friendships. Not all high school friendships are meant to last; things change and you eventually grow apart and that’s all right because some of those friendships were based solely on convenience i.e. the fact that you were together 5 days a week for 5 years.

I’d tell myself to be more active and join a university sport team or student club. I waited till my junior year to do this and have regretted it since. It’s a great way to put yourself out there and meet people who share the same interests as you. Not to mention you’ll be doing something useful with your time and engaging in activities you love.

I’d tell myself to work harder on my GPA. During the first year of Uni you should look to acquire the highest possible GPA because you’ll be taking basic courses that are essentially a recap of those you took in high school. The course load will only get harder and denser over the years and it won’t be easy to keep your GPA up. Grades do matter, as I would later find out when applying for internships and many companies requested a copy of my transcript.

I’d tell myself to choose better elective courses. A lot of people choose electives for the sake of grades and I don’t blame them. But if there’s something you’re passionate about besides the major you’re already pursuing, then why not choose your elective courses based on that and get a minor or diploma out of it? I took an interest to journalism later on in my university life; I was majoring in Finance and decided to do a minor in Media Studies after hearing about the program through a friend. However, this meant I had to stay an extra semester and couldn’t graduate on time. I don’t regret my decision because I’ve loved each of my Media courses till now, but if I had taken media courses as electives earlier on instead of the other random courses I chose then I wouldn’t have been behind.

I’d tell myself to make friends with professors. Forget about looking like the teacher’s pet, these are the people you’re going to want to keep in contact with after graduation. Networking is an essential step in landing your dream job and you shouldn’t wait till after graduation to do it. Besides, it won’t hurt to have a few friends in the industry that you can reach out to for advice or a recommendation.

I’d tell myself to get out of my comfort zone and do a semester abroad. My university offers many semester abroad programs around the world. A friend of mine did a semester abroad in the U.S and another friend went to Paris, France. Not only is it an amazing experience but a great opportunity to travel and discover different parts of the world. I guess I was too scared to make a big life change at the time and didn’t want to be away from my family & friends for 6 months. If the opportunity were to present itself again though, I’d definitely take it.

To all those about to embark on their university journey, I hope this was helpful. The thought that in a few months I will be an alumnus makes me cringe. I grew to love university life and all that comes with it. It’s one of those wonderful life experiences you can never get back so make the most of it and good luck!