Top 10 Gay Hangouts in Lebanon39,485 views
Counting down the Top 10 Lebanese gay hangouts of the past decade!
10- T-Marbouta– Hamra
Not your average gay hangout, but this café/pub gets honorable mention for being queer- and feminist-friendly since its opening in 2006. T-Marbouta is unique in the work space it offers for meetings, lectures, movie screenings, parties, and a library. A pleasant and calm atmosphere but be careful of eavesdropping!
9- Coup D’Etat – Hamra
The first pub in Lebanon with no men allowed quickly became a lesbian hangout (for a couple dozen lesbians)! A tiny space in Hamra with two benches across from each other for seating, it rendered many a comical situation when the last person you want to see, your ex, is sitting across from you kissing your best friend’s ex. Sadly, it was very short-lived because the Lesbian Lira couldn’t keep even a tiny bar running at the time.
8- Bardo – Hamra
A straight-friendly pub/restaurant, Bardo is a spacious chill-out lounge and restaurant with a varied cuisine unique to Lebanon’s otherwise boring menus. The gold ceiling strikes the eye and the wooden podium makes for cozy seating to watch projections on the wall (or the hot guy dancing across the room). Pricy and always packed after 10pm, the mood changes according to the DJ and event.
7- Mint – Monot
Mint was a cozy pub painted all in white with small round windows . You could see the tree branches shaken by the wind outside while the bodies were hot and pumping inside. They played excellent music and served the best drinks by far.
6- Paradise Beach– Byblos
Paradise was a small beach area located at the end of the shore in Byblos. It was a long walk to get there, but worth it for the privacy. Tante Labibeh was always present selling her manakish and sodas. It was known that some of the boys got busy in a little cave by the sea side. But not all encounters went unsuspected.
5- Walimat Warde– Hamra
Walimat Warde is a restaurant/pub set in a traditional Lebanese house in Hamra. Offering Lebanese cuisine and classic oriental music, it threw occasional events that set the house on fire. Offering one of the very first queer-friendly spaces, Warlima hosted drag nights and tribute nights, such as the one to Madonna when an impersonator wore a pink leotard and danced on the house fountain! It’s now moving to another place and we will miss the “old” Walimat Warde.
4- UV– Monot
UV was quite special as a pub. It was located in an old house in Achrafieh. You walked into the house to face the bar and red was the dominating light. When you felt like getting some air, you could walk out and sit in the garden and socialize with past or new-found friends.
3- Dunkin’ Donuts – Jal El Dib
Dunkin’ Donuts was the after-party place before after parties were introduced to Lebanon. Open 24/7, the LGBT community hung out there regularly on week days or after partying on weekends. Eventually, the hangout shifted to Dunkin’ Donuts on Sassine Square before it settled in Dunkin’ Donuts in Downtown Beirut. What can we say? We love cheap creamy coffee.
2- ACID– Sin El Fil
The first and longest-running gay nightclub in the Middle East. You haven’t clubbed if you haven’t clubbed at ACID. You haven’t danced if you haven’t danced on the speakers! Acid is home to dirty dancing, relationship beginnings, cat fights (for both girls and queens), one-night encounters (or even a quickie in the parking lot). A combination of a trippy laser light shows and house music keeps the crowd moving before everyone goes wild to oriental music. Acid is open every Friday and Saturday.
1- Sheikh Mankoush – Bliss Street
A pub/restaurant that lived, like many of us, a double life. By day, it offered manakish and tea, and by night, it offered the same, except it was for a different clientele. By day, Sheikh was swamped with university students, and by night, it was the gay community. Sheikh Mankoush was the first gay hangout where the community could meet to eat, drink, dance, and socialize. Sadly, the owners became homophobic after word quickly spread and the place became very popular. They hired a bouncer who denied entry to effeminate guys and soon enough, it shut down completely. To this day, I still swear by their Nutella and cheese mini manakish.