Category Archives: Lifestyle

Rikky’z New Location

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Rikky’s is now located in Faraya overlooking the Chabrouh dam

As some of you know or may not know, Rikky’s has moved to a new venue in Faraya 10 minutes away from the original one. The venue looks almost exactly like the old one but it is more spacious and better organized now. The venue fits twice as much as before, the bar is now inside and much bigger, the BBQ is in a small area far from the tables and the entrance fee is now 100,000 LBP, up 10,000 Liras from last year (including open drinks and buffet).

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The salads are still placed inside as well as the Pasta and Saj stations. You have to walk down few stairs to get to the BBQ area, which includes a Shawarma station, Steaks, Hotdogs and Burgers.

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The music and atmosphere are as great as before, but the seating is still not comfortable and the tables and chairs are very close to each other. I don’t know why they didn’t keep some space between them but it’s very annoying specially when you pick a table in the middle. Added to that, you still need 10 minutes (Unless you want an Almaza or a Buzz as they are put aside in large ice buckets) or more to get a drink even though the bar is bigger now. I barely had 3 drinks during the 3 hours I spent there. Same thing for the food when it gets crowded, even though food was much better than last year.

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The party starts around 2pm so it’s recommended to arrive around noon so you can have few drinks, grab a bite and get in the mood. Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare and pick up your free hats because the sun is a killer up there. I recommend you download their app too as it will help you find the new location if you get lost [Android] [iOS].

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All in all, I like the new Rikky’z better but I wish they made it more comfortable and started serving alcohol (Bottles) on the tables instead of making us wait forever on the bar. Nevertheless, it’s probably the best place up in the mountains to spend a Sunday afternoon with your friends, eating and drinking and dancing surrounded by breathtaking views.

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PS: If you look at the picture closely, the people sitting on the barriers surrounding the outside area could easily fall off and get seriously injured. I think Rikky’s should ban anyone from sitting there or build some safety net below them.

Pool Parties in Lebanon

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Pool Party? Picture via Beiruting

I have nothing against going to the pool on weekends just to relax, have a drink and listen to good music, but the fact that there’s a DJ doesn’t make it a pool or a beach party. I look at these albums of “pool parties” at Riviera or Edde Sands and many other resorts and all I see are almost empty pools, people sitting having a drink, or couples and groups posing for pictures.

Here are pictures from a pool party at Edde Sands, one at Cyan and some other pictures from the Wettest Pool Parties.

I am not expecting something similar to a Las Vegas pool party like in the picture below, but at least see pictures of people actually dancing and partying.

It looks like we’ve reached a new laziness level in Lebanon.

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Las Vegas Pool Party

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Sausage Fest not a Hot Party – via BeirutNightLife

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Couple kissing and posing: Picture from Riviera – via Beiruting

The Gemmayze Barber

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Picture from NowLebanon

He still has President Camille Chamoun’s picture in his shop. No wonder he lost hope in Lebanon if he had lived the golden years and seen what we’ve come to.

In 1965, at the age of 27, he finally opened his own barber shop. A lot has changed since then: “Gemmayzeh was different! Nowadays it’s all about pubs and cafes!” He is nostalgic for those days when everyone used to know everyone, regardless of their religion, and when Beirut was a prosperous city inhabited by a peaceful community.

When we started talking about the old, pre-82 Beirut a small smile crossed his face, he put his hand on his right cheek and started staring at the sky. When we talked about the Beirut of nowadays his smile disappeared. “I wish hope would still exist in Beirut,” he said. [NowLebanon]

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Picture from NowLebanon

Lebanon tourism pays the price for Syria’s war

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Picture from the 80s night at B018 – Tribute to Michael Jackson

If Lebanon is truly paying the price of Syria’s war, then why is there traffic everywhere I go? Why is traffic increasing on a daily basis from Beirut to Jbeil? Why are all the nightclubs and rooftops packed from Wednesday to Sunday? Why are the beaches packed on weekends?

I know that numbers suggest that Lebanon’s economy is suffering, Arab tourists are not coming and tourism is bad but it honestly doesn’t feel that way wherever I am going lately. This makes me wonder how bad traffic would be if all these tourists were here.

“As soon as you even utter the word ‘weapons’ you’ve killed tourism,” Paul Achkar, head of the Lebanese hotel association, told AFP. “Three hundred tourism establishments have closed down since the start of the year,” he said.
Although confident that the industry will recover, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said the figures for the start of the season were pitiable.

“The occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut is barely 35 percent this month, half of the usual at this time of year.
“Outside Beirut, it’s catastrophic. We’re talking about five percent compared to the usual 35 percent,” Abboud told AFP.
The atmosphere in Beirut, dubbed party capital of the Middle East, is not so morose, and Christian areas such as Byblos or Jounieh have also fared better than other areas. [AFP]

Giveaway: Two invitations to The Roof at the Four Seasons Hotel – Beirut

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Picture taken by myself [@LeNajib]

As I posted two days, the highest and coolest rooftop in town, The Roof at Four Seasons Beirut, has kicked off its summer season this weekend. The Roof is located on the hotel’s 26th floor and is a great place to chill out after work or on the weekends.

For those of you who still don’t know where it’s located, it’s on one of the two tall building overlooking Zaitunay Bay at the best possible spot in Beirut. I circled it in red in the picture below.

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Original picture via Zaitunay.com

Anyway, Four Seasons Beirut were kind enough to let me give away two invites to The Roof for BlogBaladi‘s readers. Each winner will get to bring some one along and enjoy the unique experience The Roof has to offer. You will get to try signature drinks as well as a selection of Asian tapas and watch the sunset from the best possible spot or just enjoy a chill-out night.

Lebanese singer Lara Rain performs there every Thursday and Saturday starting 9 pm for those of you who like live entertainment.

If you want to win one of these two awesome invitations to one of Lebanon’s most luxurious 5-star hotels, you just have to leave a comment on this post with a proper email address. Competition ends on Tuesday May 7th at 6 pm. I will pick two names randomly (Using random.org) and post the names of the winners at the end of the day.

If you have any questions regarding The Roof or Four Seasons Beirut, you can follow them on [Twitter] or on [Facebook]. They are very friendly and fun to talk to.

I will post the names of the winners and more pictures of the Roof on our Facebook page. You can check them out and like the page [Here].

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NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

Sects and the city

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A nice read with a lot of details on Tripoli’s fighters and the clashes occurring there.

In Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, sectarian warfare has become entrenched as a way of life. Every few weeks, armed clashes erupt between Sunni Muslims in the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood and Alawites on the hilltop of Jabal Mohsen. With the absence of a real political initiative to contain the crisis, clashes are expected to continue as the conflict in Syria worsens.

Different political parties are believed to be investing in the rifts so as to steer events towards a course that would better serve their goals. Syria and Hezbollah are backing the Alawite fighters while Sunni politicians and Gulf sources are backing the Sunnis to mobilize their support. As fighters on both sides become pawns in a larger regional game, former Prime Minister Najib Miqati is believed to be extending an arm to the Sunni street seen as supporters of the revolution.

Since the outbreak of hostilities in Syria between the Assad regime and opposition forces, the war has spilled over into Lebanon. Sunnis in the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood support the rebels trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while the Alawites of Jabal Mohsen stand loyally by him. It is fitting that the street which forms one of the major frontlines between both is called Syria Street.

CNN Travel: 10 Best Bars in Beirut

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Source

Here are 10 places where Beirut warms up, gets hot and winds down according to CNN Travel.
1. Dragonfly
2. Torino Express
3. Kayan
4. February 30
5. Bar ThreeSixty
6. Internazionale
7. Ferdinand
8. Dictateur
9. Behind the Green Door
10. SKYBAR

It’s good to see some of my favorite bars on that list, specially Kayan which I’ve been going to for the past 7 years if not more.

Thank you Ralph

My Nominations for The Social Media Awards

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The Social Media Awards are happening for the first time in Lebanon and I thought it would be fun to share my nominations for the various categories listed. Before that, here’s how the selection process will occur:

Stage 1: Online Nominations
Members of the online community nominate candidates for different categories via our website www.SMABeirut.com. Users can nominate themselves, friends or an organization on business based on the criteria of each category. Their submission is accompanied by relevant material such as Facebook links, Twitter accounts, blogs and other platforms to support their candidates.

Stage 2: Judges Selection
Based on the nominations received, our team of experienced and celebrity judges from different backgrounds will be narrowing down the nominations in each category to seven (7) nominees within two weeks of closure of nominations. The whole process will be carried out in pure transparency and an announcement event will be held for the press and online community.

Stage 3: Final Vote
Members of the online community are asked to vote for their preference in each category over a period of one month. During this period, nominees will be able to campaign for obtaining votes.

Stage 4: Awards Ceremony
An awards ceremony will be held for over 750 invitees from digital agencies, VIPs and online influencers with entertainment, key guest appearances, and VIP guests bringing Oscar-like award glamour to social media. [SMABeirut]

I took a look at the judges’ list and the ones they chose are more than qualified for this job, with 1 or 2 exceptions which I will not name. One thing that I would have done differently is narrow down the nominations to 4, as I think 7 is too much.

Anyway back to the nominations, here it goes:

Best Blog of the Year
Beirut Spring: I’ve always been astounded by the insights Mustapha provides on the Lebanese society and Lebanon in general despite being abroad. He is concise, convincing, methodical and is among the very few bloggers that I agree with almost always. Oh and he never misses a chance to throw in a new term in every post and make me look for it online.

Best News Blog
Hummus Nation – The good thing about Hummus Nation is that his news are always reliable because he makes them up.

Best Lifestyle Blog
L’armoire De Lana – Lana has been pulling an impressive job ever since she launched her fashion blog. She’s posting daily, tweeting all day long, uploading pictures all the time. She’s doing it right and she totally deserves it.

Best Technology Blog
Tech-Ticker – A website founded by a group of Lebanese Technology enthusiasts covering the latest tech news and reviewing the most recent tech products.

Best Personal Blog
Gino’s Blog – Gino is truly commited to his blog and it shows through his posts. His views on certain topics are as far as they come from the conservative “Lebanese” thinking yet he manages to convince his readers most of the time. Neuromarketing at its best.

Most Engaging Media Personality
Magazine: RagMag’s Editor in Chief Fida Chaaban.
She devotes a lot of times to social media and interacting with readers and that’s not something easy to pull. In fact I don’t think I know any other media personality as devoted as her.

Best Performer
Nemr Abou Nassar: He was funnier when he started and I didn’t like his latest shows but he’s doing a great job online and deserves that award. The problem is here very few performers in Lebanon are active online to begin with.

Best Vocal Artist (Non-Arabic)
Tania Kassis

Most Creative Instagram Account
Mark

Most Viral YouTube Video
I would have loved to say Buzz but it turned out to be a copycat from an old US commercial. I’ll go with LebaneseBrew’s Try Something Brave.

Most Engaging Tweep
TrellaLB

Most Engaging Celebrity on Twitter
Celebrities in Lebanon have no idea how to use Twitter.

Most Engaging Media Personality on Twitter
TV/Journalist: Shada Omar.
Despite having almost 100,000 followers on Twitter, Shada dedicates time to almost everyone that interacts with her and is always interesting to talk to.

Most Engaging Diplomat on Twitter
HMA Tom Fletcher – If you wanna know why, read [this].

Best Business on Twitter
RagMag

Best Organization/NGO on Twitter
Donne Sang Compter

Best Pub/Bar
February30 and The Angry Monkey. The Angry Monkey’s last tweetup was the best I’ve been to in months and the place was packed. Bravo Jessy!

Best Restaurant, Café or Bakery
Roadster Diner and Zaatar W Zeit.

Best Hotel
Phoenicia Beirut.

Best Commercial District Account
LeMall

Best NGO/Community
Donner Sang Compter

Best Startup
Dermandar.

Who is Jill (Khawam) Kelley?

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Picture from Philly.com

The David Patreus scandal is on the front page of every newspaper and website in the U.S and Jill Kelley has become the “central figure in the growing scandal that’s ensnared high-ranking officials at the CIA and the Pentagon“. Some websites even want to know who designs her exquisite dresses now.

As I had mentioned earlier, Jill Kelley hails from a Lebanese family (Khawan) that emigrated to Philadelphia in the 1970s. She worked as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and used to host events at her million-dollar Bayshore Boulevard home. Jill & her husband Dr. Scott Kelley were good friends of the Patreus family. She has a twin sister Nathalie, an older sister Caroline and a brother called David Khawam. This is what he had to say when interviewed about his sister:

“This is something that’s going to brand her for life,” David Khawam, Kelley’s brother, told TODAY. “My sister, number one, is a mother. OK, she has three kids. She’s extremely dedicated to those kids. Number two, she’s a wife. She’s extremely dedicated to her husband. And he to her.” [Link]

So far, there hasn’t been any proof showing that Jill was Patreus’ second love, but the investigation that followed reveleaded some flirtatious emails between her and another U.S General, John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.