If you're sick of being eyed up by smirking fashionistas in oh-so-trendy cocktail bars, why not try a place where all punters are all equal? It’s not entirely clear whether Abu Elie is a communist-themed bar or a bar run by communists who happen to proudly display their political inclinations, but it's a fact that the venue has hosted many of Lebanon’s reddest activists over the years.Its nondescript entrance means that it isn't the easiest place to find, but once inside it sure is eye-catching: the decor is a cacophony of red paints and portraits of Che Guevara and Lenin. The ambience is riotous, and despite the plethora of trinkets hanging from the walls it never seems gimmicky or tacky. Given the bar's impeccable communist credentials, you might expect that all drinks are the same price. Sadly, they're not, but they're still reasonably enough priced as to be affordable for any comra… er, customer. A classic of the Hamra scene.
Ever wondered how it would feel to cross the Berlin Wall while slightly tipsy? Do you hanker for the age of swing jazz, sharp suits and contraband moonshine? Are you of the opinion that alcohol is best savoured in an industrial setting of concrete and strip lights? …no? Well, now that you’re here you may as well entertain the thought, for all three experiences are on offer at Beirut’s weird and wonderful themed bars. Make no mistake, these watering holes tend to wear their theme lightly, and you won’t be expected to dress accordingly; but if the wider Beirut bar scene is leaving you cold, they could be offering just the sort of offbeat fun you’re after.