360m - Maarad aka Rachid Karami International Fair During his exile years, the...
Tripolitan café culture at its best
Tripoli’s café culture is smaller than Beirut’s. It still has old traditional cafes in the centre, some only frequented by men. Other popular cafes, open to all, are the skater-friendly Coffee Pot on Mina Street and Café Ahwak in nearby Dam wel Farez.
Besides good coffee, Ahwak serves mouth-watering cakes. Thanks to interior designer-owner Sahar Minkara Karami, Ahwak’s décor has a cozy, distinct oriental flair inside, filled with a few tables and benches, and an outside sitting area. “Fleeing to Australia in 2006, my husband Nabil and I came back to a Tripoli we hardly recognised in 2008,” Minkara Karami recalls. “We felt we needed a place to gather and as coffee lovers we decided to have Ahwak.” Over the years, Ahwak – extended lounge or TV room to many of its patrons – has garnered a loyal, diverse clientele and is always abuzz. It’s a small place where it is easy also for non-regulars to feel at home, reading a book or join in on lively conversations. It’s also a child-friendly place that forbids smoking inside.
Besides being a place for good coffee, Ahwak has also become a cultural hub, been running a book club and hosting book signings, organises various happenings including awareness events, showcases live music, which has even lead to the formation of a band consisting of 4 talented local musicians: ACM (Ahwak Community Musicians), performing both in Tripoli and Beirut.
In good time or in bad times, the Ahwak family, which has grown rapidly over the years, will gather at their much-loved café.