Urbanista — Beirut, Lebanon
Seeking to create a ’place to bring people together, to be human’, Houssam and Zeina el-Eid have taken the ground floor of an aging French Mandate apartment block in Gemmayze and turned it into the kind of café that encourages you to linger longer. Purpose-blended coffees from La Colombe and teas from Smith headline, supported by light meals and naughty desserts. Meanwhile, well-stocked magazine racks and hefty sink-in-a-little-deeper club chairs make tearing yourself away a chore. The interior, by London retail designers Caulder Moore in collaboration with the owners, makes the best of exposed brickwork, ducts, industrial lighting and other urban aesthetica. An on-site boutique carries inspiring accessories and limited-edition homewares. And a cosy back-garden terrace floats as if on a rooftop.