17m - Badaro has become a more and more popular alternative to go for coffee, have...
Curtained off from Badaro's main street
While Badaro has been changing a lot over the past two years and the number of bars, cafes, eateries and restaurants is increasing constantly, it is not emulating Mar Mikhael. Badaro, and that might make it attractive, remains quite quaint and cozy.
That is also what drew Bassem “Bass” Breish, a filmmaker, scriptwriter, DJ
(“I write, I cook, I play music. I do all and I manage”), to open Molo in a side street, off Badaro Street. “There is a special charm about Badaro, it's as if it is still stuck in the Sixties,” Bassem told SoBeirut. “If you take a walk down the main street you'll notice the architecture hasn't changed much so you're able to see the sky at most times – definitely with a few cement buildings penetrating the scenery – and you'll be able to notice the big number of little casinos and amusement centers. This is due to its near location to what was once called "the Green Line”. Many of these places are shutting down giving space to bars, restaurants, and little businesses.
Although closely situated to the Green Line, Badaro does indeed still boast some beautiful modern architecture buildings, some from the 50s, but most from the 60s and 70s, influenced by the International Standard and also with a hint of Bauhaus, here and there.
Bassem kept dreaming of a little cozy bar with good food and good music… he eventually teamed up with with Sarah Nohra and Hussein Yaakoub to establish Molo.
It had to be like this because to Bassem, drinks, music and food are all to be shared. “I wanted a pub with this attitude.”
The three worked on every single detail, including the décor, the menu and the selection of cocktails and single malt whiskies.
The Molo way is that it is a place where good music is played all the time, rather than focusing on and hosting special events. “We are not interested in categorising events, we have people from the city playing their music that could be any where,” Bassem underlined. “They are not necessarily DJs, they could be artists, film directors, dancers musicians, anyone in the city with a taste of music. Music after all is about sharing.”
The menu features a fine selection of pizzas made in an oven across the road as well as cheese melts, baked potatoes, dips and salads. Among the sweet things on the menu is a delicious fig desert.
Asked whether though firmly rooted in Hamra at Metro al Madina, he thinks Hamra to be passé, Bass argued that Hamra has its charm no matter how much its audience change. “It has buzzing shopping streets and a wide range of restaurants, theatres and bars and not to forget those faithful to this street for its historic significance.”
For those who are curious, Molo is the name of an Ethiopian friend of the three founders. “It's inspired by an Ethiopian name of a friend of ours, we like the sound of it, easy to the ear and symmetrical for the eye. It also means ‘Hello’ in Xhosa, Mandela's mother tongue.”