Author Archives: Ellen Hardy

Still horsing around

On Easter Monday, the Hippodrome hosts a new horse race, one a little different from all the others. Just six or seven horses will run that day, and to the untrained eye, the beasts stampeding around the track may look much the same as all the others billeted in the Hippodrome’s stables. But whereas the

The Tobacco Keeper

How do you tell the story of modern Iraq? For novelist, film producer and war correspondent Ali Bader, it’s not enough to recount the terrible cycles of violence that have made his country unrecognizable. His fictional account of Iraq in “The Tobacco Keeper” — first published in Arabic in 2008 as “Hareth al-Tabgh” and newly

Snap, crackle and pop-ups

Life is tough for Lebanese designers. Despite unreliable spending and tourist numbers in a contracting economy, retail rents per square meter per year range from $400-$2,000 in malls, and are totally unregulated elsewhere. Multi-brand stores are reluctant to support local names, and even established retailers rely on holiday seasons to boost slack sales. This makes

Banquet on the bay

Even by the standards of a city where you can dine at the tables of multi-Michelin-starred chefs one night (Yazhou, S.T.A.Y.) and be seen eating out at global trendsetters the next (Momo at the Souks, Gaucho), Zaitunay Bay is piquing interest. Pitching as it does a complex of 17 new restaurants, five retail outlets and

Foam and fortune

If you fancy an evening of Lebanese food, implores Karim Haïdar, do not book a table at his newly opened restaurant, Zabad.  “Please,” he says, “go to Karam [Al Bahr, a close neighbor at the Zaitunay Bay restaurant complex], because if you come here you’ll be disappointed.” Given Zabad’s tagline “Lebanese Cuisine by Karim Haïdar”,

Lebanon Adrift – A book by Samir Khalaf

Something strange often happens to first year medical students, confronted by textbooks listing reams of sinister symptoms: they all come down with galloping hypochondria, seeing brain tumors in every headache and consumption in every cough. Something similar might happen to a Beiruti reading “Lebanon Adrift” — though instead of physical ailments, readers will look up

Fostering homegrown flare

To the untutored eye, the minimalist Starch boutique looks much like any other high fashion store. Its rails are stocked with avant-garde designs from up-and-coming names – accessories by Dina Khalifé, urban fashion from Mira Hayek and designs by Marc Dibeh, previously known for his ‘Love the Bird’ lamp that subtly incorporates a detachable sex

From Jal El Dib to Disney World?

Growing up in Jal El Dib during the civil war, Mayella Zard remembers, “everybody was crying, but I was thinking I was going to become a princess… all my focus was on my costumes and makeup.” Her enterprising parents organized theater shows to occupy and entertain neighborhood children during difficult times, to great success. Even

Marvels, made to measure

Expensive tastes are exclusive ones — why spend thousands on an identikit interior when your home can be one-of-a-kind? But beyond the diamond-encrusted couches and Arabic-embroidered rugs hand-woven to order by Nepalese craftsmen, the trend for tailor-made interiors opens up exciting possibilities in design and enterprise. Executive takes a tour of some of Beirut’s creative

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