Iris cocktail bar and restaurant, Beirut
Earlier this year, Beirut's nocturnal elite greeted the news that legendary rooftop club White would be leaving its home atop the Al Nahar building with dismay. Thankfully its replacement, Iris, has already proved a worthy successor to this iconic location.
Opened in 2006 by Beirut hospitality group Add-Mind, White -- which has moved to a larger venue more suited to its bacchanalian revels -- became one of the mainstays of the city's resurgent nightlife. Iris may host a similarly hip and well-heeled crowd but in search of a less frenetic vibe and with more of a focus on the food.
To smooth the transition, interior architect Suzy Nasr replaced the monochrome décor with magnolia trees, stepped seating areas and custom lighting by PSLAB Design. Now less club, more secluded rooftop garden -- and with spectacular 180º views over the harbour -- you'd be hard pressed to find a better place for a sundowner anywhere in the Med.
An Nahar Building, 8th floor, Place des Martyrs, Beirut; www.irisbeirut.com
Writer: Damon Syson