42m - A La Saj was founded by two young Entrepreneurs in January, 2013. The...
A (not so) secret garden café-bistro in the midst of bustling Hamra.
Nestled in a discrete alley way off of Roma Street, is a quaint and colourful heritage building housing Dar Bistro and Books. Walk through the iron-wrought gate and enter a calm, quirky and—most importantly—green refuge away from the roar of Ras Beirut. With gardens being a rarity in the city, this whimsical get-a-way is a great place to sit outside year-round to work, read a good book (from the bookstore perhaps), have a glass of wine (or two) with friends, and enjoy some delicious food (the homemade gnocchi is by far the fluffiest in Beirut). The breakfast (served until 12) and lunch/dinner menus cater to a variety of different tastes, with a hearty steak for meat lovers, grilled avocados and a beetroot dip for the vegans, and an array of salads for the health conscious. You might find yourself in a fight for a table on a sunny Saturday or lazy Sunday, as the café is one of the only venues in Beirut serving an all-day brunch. The chef may even make a personal appearance to make sure your food is to taste.
Gastronomy aside, Dar, meaning both house and gathering place in Arabic, lives up to its name. Neighbours with Dar Al-Mussawir (an upstairs photography club), this home-cum-café bistro is also a hub of social activity, housing various events throughout the year, from book launches, to speed dating, concerts, craft markets, and art exhibitions, to name but a few.
There is also a small English bookstore with a wide range of carefully selected works (the bookstore clerks actually read and recommend). They have a great choice of literature, graphic novels, photography and cook books, not to mention a super children’s section for the wee ones or those that refuse to grow up. If you have something specific in mind and can’t find it, well then Dar will place an order for you. It really doesn’t get any better… Ah wait, actually it does. The staff is lovely and more then welcoming. Make sure to leave them a generous tip.